Education

'Catch Me If You Can,' Part 1

Hurd v. Clark County School District lawsuit
reprises decades of special-ed problems

If you’ve ever seen the movie Catch Me If You Can, you’ll remember the title character, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Frank Abagnale was a bright, charming but conscienceless teen who’d discovered he had a talent for scamming people.

Eventually, with the help of his wife and a good FBI friend — plus multiple stints in prison — Abagnale abandoned the marauding life.

Today he teaches businesses how to protect themselves from people like his younger self.

As Americans regularly learn, however, significant national institutions nowadays think likethe young Abagnale.

Their M.O., also, when it comes down to it, is: Catch Me If You Can!

Many Southern Nevada special-needs families — as evidenced by their lawsuits in federal court — see the Clark County School District is such an institution. CCSD, however, is not a special case. All across the country, more often than not, large public school districts follow the same method of operation.

Continue reading »

Analysis

Digging into Question Three

A protected government monopoly or free markets?

Confused about Question 3? That makes about 3 million of us.

Even among the politically informed, what may result from the passing of Question 3 seems unclear.

Is it the right or wrong thing to do?

Big money

Both the For and Against campaigns are spending big money to get you on their side.

So far this year, the No on Question 3 PAC — known as the Coalition to Defeat Question 3 — has raised over $63.1 million.

All but $12,000 of that sum came from NV Energy, according to the Contributions and Expenditures reports filed with the Secretary of State.

The group supporting the ballot question, “Nevadans for Affordable, Clean Energy Choices,” this year raised $32.9 million — $22 million of which came from Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Sands owner Sheldon Adelson had considered leaving NV Energy, as other large casinos have done, but decided not to pay the $23.9 million exit fee asked by the monopoly utility.

Adelson’s net worth as of 2018 was estimated at $35 billion, while that of Warren Buffet — owner of Berkshire Hathaway, which purchased NV Energy in 2013 —was, two years ago, put at $87 billion.

Arguments Pro & Con

Those in opposition have claimed that the passage of this measure will result in higher energy costs and rolling black- or brown-outs. They have also claimed that this is not the sort of thing that should be in a constitution, and that putting it there would cement the results for several years due to the process by which the state constitution can be amended.

Continue reading »

Fixing Special Ed, Conclusion

The 'average brain' myth bites the dust

It is increasingly clear that mankind is only beginning to understand how different we human beings — as individuals — actually are.

A 2002 study by UC Santa Barbara neuroscientist Michael Miller is a prime example. Intent on identifying the location in the human brain of verbal memory, Miller recruited 16 individuals to lie down in an fMRI brain scanner and be shown series of words. Whenever they recognized a word from a previous series, they were to press a button. At that point, the machine scanned the individual’s brain and created a digital “map” of its activity.

After all the participants were processed, Miller averaged together all the brain maps, as neuroscientists have long done, in order to generate a map of the “average brain” during a retrieval of verbal memory.

However, when the neuroscientist more closely examined the individual brain maps before him, he noticed that none of them actually resembled the composite, “average,” brain map. Moreover, the differences were not subtle, but extensive.

And when Miller brought back many of the original testees and subjected them again to the exact same procedures, the differences held up.

It turns out that such extensive differences between human brains aren’t limited to verbal memory, writes Todd Rose, director of the Mind, Brain & Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. the “average brain” myth biting the dust

Continue reading »

Fixing Special Ed, Part 8:
‘Right of exit’ found key to
genuine special-ed progress

School-choice programs for special-needs kids:
Popular with parents, save states money

Fixing Special Ed, Part 7:
Autism, dyslexia, societal changes
reveal a broken special-ed system

Foot-dragging school districts face
future of increasingly costly settlements

Fixing Special Ed, Part 6:
Special-ed has a fundamental problem: Government rigidity blocks innovation

Leaves school administrators stuck within
a system-corrupting dilemma: kids vs costs

Fixing Special Ed, Part 5:
2001: CCSD, State of Nevada lose
precedent-setting Amanda J. case

Apparent shift in district's strategy follows:
Fight until jury trial looms, then settle with parents

Fixing Special Ed, Part 4:
CCSD asked for special-ed audit
then attempted to hide results

Revealed: Records tampering, state and
federal law violations, illegal IEP changes

Fixing Special Ed, Part 3:
School systems have circumvented
federal special-ed law for decades

Los Angeles, Texas, New York exemplify styles of noncompliance

Fixing Special Ed, Part 2:
New, higher special-ed costs
looming for State of Nevada

9th Circuit signals lack of patience with ploys
school districts have used to suppress costs

Fixing Special Ed, Part 1:
Supremes’ decision on special-ed
sets higher standards for care

Called ‘a recipe for financial disaster’ by
unhappy public-school administrator groups

Older articles »