special education

Kentucky Department of Education, cropped

Kentucky’s Special Education Teacher of the Year is from Muhlenberg North Middle School in Greenville.

The Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children and the Kentucky Department of Education named Kelly Teague as the recipient of this year’s award.

There is a letter that school districts really don't like sending home to parents of special education students. Each state has a different version, but they all begin with something like this:

"Dear Parent, as of the date of this letter your child's teacher is not considered 'highly qualified.' " And then: "This doesn't mean your child's teacher is not capable or effective. It means they haven't met the state standards for teaching in their subject."

The federal law that governs special education lays out the goals pretty clearly: Students are entitled to an appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

But some parents of children with autism feel their local public schools aren't meeting their kids' needs. And with autism diagnoses rising, new schools are emerging specifically for autistic children.

Some parents see these specialized schools as a godsend. For others, they raise a new set of questions.

wikipedia commons

A bill creating an alternative diploma for special needs students is one vote away from becoming law.

Senate Bill 43 would apply different core standards to qualified students who would then earn the alternative diploma. Currently, special needs students in Kentucky receive only a certificate when they graduate.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Dennis Parrett, says he’s only trying to fix what he views as a problem.