Friday, April 29, 2005


Announcing a “Best of Big Ed” series of stories, beginning Monday.

We’ll search the state for the coolest, most exciting, most intriguing, most effective learning activities that went on this school year in public and private schools and homeschools.

Send in your nominations with the district, school and teacher’s name and a little about what went on. It’ll be inspiring and fun . . . and definitely worth sharing with everyone who loves quality education.


Are 80 percent of the students labeled as “special education” only because of reading problems, not really because they have medically-discernible handicaps or learning challenges?

Parents and teachers attending the monthly meeting of the Elkhorn Valley Learning Disabilities Association Thursday said that figure is pretty accurate. But they said they believed their children would not have developed learning disabilities to a significant degree if they had received proper reading instruction in kindergarten and first grade.

The group met at Elkhorn Ridge Middle School to hear a presentation on reading interventions in the early grades in the Westside Community Schools given by Jenelle Strecker. The goal of her work is to help teachers spot children who might develop learning problems on down the road if they do not have good preliteracy skills in kindergarten and first grade. The presence or absence of those skills are identifiable with 20-minute tests given three times a year, she said. Ms. Strecker and other District 66 staff then work with the classroom teachers to develop strategies to help the children improve in those deficiencies so that no serious problems develop.

The group’s purpose is to inform parents, educators and the public about “the hidden handicap of a learning disability.” Guest speakers come from the fields of education, psychology and medicine. Articles in the spring newsletter were on such topics as forming partnerships between parents, students and teachers to ensure school success; how to tell if an adult has an undiagnosed and untreated learning disability; how to adapt various school subjects for LD kids in an “inclusive” classroom; how the ADHD child fits in to family interactions; helping your child with homework; and ideas for family fun.

For more information, email
ldaofneb@yahoo.com To join LDA-Nebraska, send a $30 check payable to LDA to LDA-Nebraska, 3135 N. 93rd St., Omaha, NE 68134, to cover national, state and local dues and to receive newsletters and information on the group’s upcoming fall conference.


It happened Wednesday in Lexington, Mass.: the father of a 6-year-old kindergartner was arrested and spent the night in jail for “trespassing.” Why? School officials refused to grant his request for advance notification so that he could opt his son out of pro-gay school books, lessons and discussions, and he refused to leave the principal’s office.

Read more about this sad, strange saga on a website of grassroots activists fighting Massachusetts’ same-sex marriage crowd,

The father, David Parker, objected to a book his son brought home from school, “Who’s in a Family,” with colorful drawings and text that he said normalize and “celebrate” homosexual households. Captions read, “Laura and Kyle live with their two moms, Joyce and Emily, and a poodle named Daisy” and “Robin’s family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad’s partner, Henry, and Robin’s cat, Sassy.”

Parker is on record stating that school officials have rejected his written requests for advance notification and opting out, which he lodged so that his son is not exposed to the objectionable materials in the public schools.

The book is part of the school’s anti-bias curriculum, paid for by the school foundation and the PTA.

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