Special Education May Soon Take More Direct Turn

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Byline: Karen Cullotta Krause Daily Herald Staff Writer

The man responsible for educating about 12 percent of Lake County children labeled "special education students" has a plan.

John Anderson, the superintendent of the Special Education District of Lake County, wants to transform the often exhaustive testing and labeling process in favor of direct help for the youngsters.

After two decades of following a state-prescribed treatment model, Anderson and other special educators in the county have learned a hard lesson: When it comes to helping Johnny learn to read, deciphering cryptic clues in a Rorschach ink-blot test can be a waste of precious time.

"Essentially, we're saying let's forget about labels," said Anderson, who pitched his plan this week to officials at Grayslake Elementary School District 46.

"In medicine, you can take an antibiotic to cure an infection. It's just not that black and white with special education," he told the board.

Anderson's plan could mean faster, more practical intervention for the 2,600 students in the county served by SEDOL at 37 school districts.

In Grayslake, the school board is considering adopting Anderson's pilot program - a move that would mean tossing aside much of the red-tape inherent to special education. …