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Poorly Written and Lacking Clarity
on January 9, 2010
Our professor allowed us to use the sixth edition instead of the seventh edition because of how limited the number of changes in the newer version are. I of course opted for the much cheaper sixth version. After reading just the first two chapters of this book, I feel I know enough to give a review of this book. The book has good content, but the writing is poor. Not only is the book repetitive (How many times do you have to state that an IEP is unique to every individual?), it has an atrocious lack of copyediting. Take, for example, this sentence on pages 26-27: "The implications of this decision are enormous (Katsiyannis & Yell, 2000): the costs for additional personnel (potentially between $20,000 and $40,000 per school year), but increased liability for schoools, additional considerations for individualized education program (IEP) teams, the administrative costs for increased staff, and the complications of yet another adult in a classroom." There is also this on page 53 (in bullet point form): "NCLB considers teachers to be highly qualified if they can demonstrate adequate knowledge in the core academic subjects...that they currently teach by passing a state academic subject test; completing coursework equivalent to an academic major, degree, certification or credentialing; pass a 'high objecting uniform state standard of evaluation' (HOUSSE)". While it is possible to get what the author means in these sentences, it takes a while, as you are forced to ask "Am I reading this correctly?" and "What did the author intend to write?" because of the word "but" in the first sentence and the lack of a conjunction and parallelism at the end of the second one.
This poor writing translates into a lack of clarity at many parts of the book, as does internal contradiction. For example, due to one part of the book being updated, while another wasn't, page 34 stated that "Well over half of [students with disabilities] participate in general education classes for well over 80 percent of every school day", while page 51 states "...and today, if we include high school students, that proportion is even closer to half". I looked it up at the source given for 2005 (which was what both were referenced to), and it turns out that it was 54 percent making the second statement false. The first statement is poorly worded, however; 54 percent hardly qualifies as "well over half" and the statistic is not for "well over 80 percent of every school day" but simply "over 80 percent of every school day". I cannot speak on if the new version has the same kinds of mistakes. Hopefully, they have been fixed, but if you are buying from a brick-and-morter store, I would first check to see if these mistakes are still in there.