In response to the special education discussions (here and here) on Jay Greene’s blog, reading researcher Reid Lyon expands the discussion. Many students labeled with learning disabilities are victims of poor teaching, he writes.
(A major goal of Response To Intervention) is to reduce referrals to special education by documenting that the studentâ€™s learning difficulties are not because of inadequate instruction in general education classrooms but because of a disability. Years ago, S. Allen Cohen provided us with a more interesting term for lousy teaching which he called â€œdyspedagogiaâ€ (I believe this was tongue in cheek).
But the fact is most kids identified for special education and labeled as having a Learning Disability (LD) are not LD but achieve poorly because of â€œdyspedagogia.â€ In fact, our research over the past 20 years has taught us that scientifically based early reading intervention provided through a tiered approach to instruction can reduce the percentage of LD from upwards of 22% to between 2% and 10% in some states and LEAs. This is a very good thing given that LD referrals and placements constitute about 50% of all referrals to special education, and reading disabilities comprise about 80% of kids identified with LD.
What are the barriers? I suggest you read the whole thing, but I’ll note that Lyon dreams of providing policymakers and educational leaders two free tattoos that read: (1) â€œNecessary but not sufficient,â€ and (2) â€œGreat policy idea, but implementation is a bitch.â€