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Mislabeled as Disabled: The Educational Abuse of Struggling Learners and How WE Can Fight It

Mislabeled as Disabled: The Educational Abuse of Struggling Learners and How WE Can Fight It

by Kalman R. Hettleman

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This book, described by reviewers as “shocking” and “a masterpiece,” exposes the tragic tale of the millions of schoolchildren who are never taught basic skills in reading, writing, and math. With heart-wrenching stories of individual children from his own experience as an advocate and ground-breaking policy researcher, Kalman “Buzzy” Hettleman documents what can only be labeled educational abuse. It may be unintentional, but it is gross negligence because we know how to prevent it, yet fail do it. Many of the victims are “Mislabeled as Disabled.” Denied proper instruction, they fall behind in regular general education, overwhelm teachers, and hold back classmates. Out of desperation, school systems unlawfully “dump” such "Mislabeled as Disabled" students in special education, even though they do not have a true medical disability. Yet, unlike students with severe limitations who are “Truly Disabled,” the special education they receive is hardly special at all. They fall farther behind and suffer stigma and segregation. Moreover, school systems cover up this educational malpractice with misleading progress reports and data. The fact that a disproportionate number of “Mislabeled as Disabled” students are from poor and minority families is no excuse. Hettleman not only cites in detail the better instruction that will enable them to succeed; he spells out the kind of legislative and judicial civil right to learn to read that is required for reform. Hettleman also perceptively reveals how teachers, like children, are victimized by educational abuse. Dedicated frontline teachers are denied the instructional tools—the training, class sizes, and curricula—with which they can get the job done right. He concludes with a call to action by all of us. Parents, educators, policymakers, and entire communities should read this book, become enraged, and then take up the struggle for reform.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635766400
Publisher: Radius Book Group
Publication date: 03/14/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Kalman R. Hettleman is an acclaimed expert and author on special education and struggling learners. He has represented pro bono over 200 students and been instrumental in policy reforms at the local, state and national levels. In 2016-2018, he was a member of the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, charged by the governor and state legislature with recommending comprehensive, statewide K-12 school reform. He has also been Maryland cabinet secretary for social welfare programs, a university professor of social policy, a public interest attorney, Deputy Mayor of Baltimore, and manager of state and local political campaigns. He is the author of the acclaimed book It’s the Classroom, Stupid: A Plan to Save America’s Schoolchildren.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Preface xv

Part I The Indictment

1 A Preview of Coming Infractions 3

2 The Big Lie-How Struggling Learners Are Illegally Placed in Special Education 22

3 Underachievement and the Big Cover Up 41

Part II The Right Instruction at the Right Time

4 RTI to the Rescue of Struggling Learners 57

5 Special Education Is Not Special Enough 81

Part III Who's to Blame?

6 Show Teachers the Money 103

7 Mismanagement of Classroom Instruction 116

Part IV The Possibilities and Politics of Reform

8 The Folly of Reliance on State and Local Reform 141

9 A Civil Right to End the Wrongs and the Reinvention of Special Education 146

10 A Political Call to Action: Parents-Unite and Fight! 157

Notes 181

Index 207

Acknowledgments 217

About the Author 219

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