New Mission

New Mission

My mission is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues.

I would like to visit and observe different types of schools that have proven records of success, wherever those schools may be. I would like to meet with school directors and administrators, government officials, leaders in the business world, and others who are responsible for implementing education systems or otherwise connected to education to learn more about how education is being addressed in their communities.

If you know of any remarkable schools in other parts of the world (especially special needs schools), please let me know about them. If you know of any education experts who are engaged in remarkable work in this field, please introduce me to them.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas regarding the above. Read more about my mission here.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The "Severe Discrepancy Model"

In Michael P. v. Hawaii Department of Education, a case decided September 8, 2011, the 9th Circuit considered the relevance of a concept known as the "severe discrepancy model."  This concept relates to classifiying a student as having a "learning disability."  Prior to the reauthorization of the IDEA in 2004, school districts would ask whether testing results demonstrated a severe discrepancy between intelligence and achievement.  If such a discrepancy existed, the child would be classified as learning disabled.  But if a child's scores reflected low intelligence, school districts would not classify that child as learning disabled and many students with low IQ's would be under-identified.  In 2004, Congress mandated that the severe discrepancy could not be used as the sole criterion for determining if someone had a learning disability. 

Hawaii was slow to revise its state laws to match the changes in federal law.  In this case, the Hawaii DOE relied solely on the severe discrepancy model and the Hawaii district court did not fault them for it.  The 9th circuit, however, reversed the decision and remanded back to the district court.  Upon remand, the district court will have to apply the appropriate standard, which encourages school district to consider a student's ability to meet grade-level and age-level expectations.