To improve the educational outcomes of America’s 6.5 million children and youth with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education today announced a major shift in the way it oversees the effectiveness of states’ special education programs.
Until now, the Department’s primary focus was to determine whether states were meeting procedural requirements such as timelines for evaluations, due process hearings and transitioning children into preschool services. While these compliance indicators remain important to children and families, under the new framework known as Results-Driven Accountability (RDA), the Department will also include educational results and outcomes for students with disabilities in making each state’s annual determination under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
via New Accountability Framework Raises the Bar for State Special Education Programs | U.S. Department of Education.
By Christina Samuels
Evaluating states on the academic performance of students with disabilities—rather than focusing on how states comply with deadlines and paperwork—is an important shift away from “complacency,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press call Tuesday.
The department is continuing its media rollout of a revised evaluation process that it calls results-driven accountability. The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that states submit data to the Education Department about how students with disabilities are doing. But before this year’s annual report, states were only graded on what are called “compliance” indicators, such as whether students were evaluated for special education in the appropriate amount of time, or whether due process complaints were resolved in a timely fashion.
via Education Secretary Lauds Revised Special Education Evaluation System – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Jane Meredith Adams
After a frenetic effort to count every high-needs student in the California public school system, the first official tally under the sweeping new K-12 finance law is in – and the results are mixed.
In three of the five largest school districts, the number of students who stand to benefit from the law is lower than expected, a consequence, some say, of inflated estimates, complicated data requirements and insufficient efforts to collect paperwork from parents.
“Districts are going to have a choice: Are we willing to be OK with being somewhat undercounted every year, or are we really going try to develop an outreach strategy upfront?” said Oscar Cruz, president of Families In Schools, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that works to increase parent involvement in schools.
via First official count of high-needs students under new funding formula is in | EdSource Today.
By Arianna Prothero
U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., is introducing a bill Thursday that, in part, aims to increase school-choice programs for students in military families and students with disabilities.
The CHOICE Act (Creating Hope and Opportunities for Individuals and Communities through Education) would also make some tweaks to the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which gives need-based scholarships to District of Columbia children to attend private schools.
Rokita is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. U.S. Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced the Senate companion bill earlier this year.
Rokita said in a statement that the legislation would benefit the children of servicemen and women who may not have access to quality schools on a base, “by ensuring funding directly benefits and follows the student, not an education bureaucracy if it
via New School Choice Bill Targets Military Families, Special-Needs Students – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
States and school districts would be charged with thinking much more critically about how to help students who have been in special education transition into the workforce and post-secondary education, under a bipartisan, bicameral bill to renew the federal Workforce Investment Act.
The provision, which was championed by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a longtime advocate for students with disabilities, would essentially take the idea of “inclusion,” which has become a hallmark of K-12 settings, and bring it into the workforce. (As most special educators know, “inclusion” requires students in special education to be in the least-restrictive environment possible, learning alongside their general education peers.)
via Bipartisan Workforce Bill Would Help Students Leaving Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
With music from Pharrell to the Village People, special education students in Solano County danced the morning away Friday in Armijo High School gym.
About 200 students filled the gym floor, some in motorized wheelchairs, a few with white canes used by the blind.
One couple, Lacey Culloty and Kristian Galvante, slowed danced to almost every song. A bevy of adults looked on, snapping pictures as the couple easily moved across the dance floor.
Nearby, a circle formed around those willing to give their break dancing skills a try. As a new dancer entered the inner circle, they were greeted by cheers. It was the same response for those who spun on the gym floor, then hopped up and out of the inner circle to watch others showcase their skills.
via Special ed students dance morning away at Armijo Daily Republic.
By Lanz Christian Bañes
Adam Wisnieuski loves to run.
That’s probably why the 9 year old from Dan Mini Elementary School got a first-place ribbon in the 50-yard dash Thursday during the Vallejo Special Olympics.
“Hercules!” Adam said, smiling and flexing his arms after competing in the javelin throw.
Nearly 200 Vallejo and Benicia students attended the event at Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field. Braving the sunny weather, students competed in the 50-yard-dash, the hurdles and the javelin throw (using pool noodles rather than the more traditional weapon). Participants included students from the Vallejo City Unified School District, Benicia Unified and Spectrum School.
via Vallejo, Benicia students compete in Special Olympics – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Kimberly Fu
Joy bubbled over in Dixon Friday as hundreds of “differently-abled” youths from all over Solano descended on the May Fair grounds for a taste of fun before the event opened to the public.
Hurriedly streaming off school buses in waves shortly after 9 a.m., the students, their helpers and myriad school officials surged onto the fairgrounds for the annual Special Needs Kids Day event, sponsored by the Vacaville Rotary Club.
via Special Needs Kids Day a hit in Dixon – The Reporter.
By Christina Samuels
U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, wants to see a big increase for federal special education funding, to the tune of $1.5 billion, in the next spending bill for the U.S. Department of Education. That would bring aid for special education to $13 billion, and the federal share of such spending up to 18 percent of the excess cost of educating a child with disabilities.
The feds originally pledged to pony up 40 percent of that funding when Congress first approved what is now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act back in the 1970s. But they’ve never come close to that threshold, and right now it’s about 16 percent. On Tuesday, Kline sent a letter asking for the increase to lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee. He was joined by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., who oversess the House education subcommittee that deals with K-12 policy, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who has a son with special needs.
via House Education Chairman Seeks Special Education Funding Increase – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Barry Eberling
Youth and community members who work with special education students will be recognized for outstanding service on April 29.
The Community Advisory Committee recognition awards ceremony will take place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Solano County Office of Education, 5100 Business Center Drive. Awards are given to one person each from the Fairfield-Suisun, Vacaville, Travis, Dixon and Benicia school districts, as well as the Office of Education.
via Special education volunteers to receive honors Daily Republic.
By Barry Eberling
The Transition Information Fair will explore what may be the next step for students in middle school and beyond who have disabilities and students who are in special education programs.
It will provide information on various programs and agencies that assist with higher education, training, employment and independent living. More than 30 agencies will be present at the fair.
via Event to help special education students Daily Republic.
By guest blogger Lesli A. Maxwell
The disparate rates at which schools suspend and expel African-Americans students and those with disabilities drive up the dropout risks for these already academically vulnerable students and help propel them into the juvenile justice system, according to a new set of reports that take a sweeping look at discipline practices across the nation’s public schools.
Likewise, Latino students, girls of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students also are disproportionately kicked out of classrooms for bad behavior, concludes the report by the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, a group of 26 experts from the fields of social science, education, and civil rights.
via Discipline Practices Fall Hardest on Minorities and Students With Disabilities – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
By Christina Samuels
Special education advocates might be feeling a bit of bridesmaids syndrome right now.
Early education continues to get attention from the White House though whether administration plans will come to fruition in a skeptical Congress is another story. But the funding for special education, about $11.5 billion for fiscal 2014, is proposed to remain at $11.5 billion for fiscal 2015.
“We were really dismayed to see a budget come out of this administration that has not been supportive of the formula grant for special education,” said Kim Hymes, the senior director for policy and advocacy for the Council for Exceptional Children, in Arlington, Va.
via Some Disappointed With White House Special Education Funding Proposal – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Christina Samuels
A study of more than 10,000 Norwegian children found a connection between gender and delayed language development, with boys at greater risk of delays than girls.
The study also found that reading and writing difficulties in other family members were associated with delayed language development in children.
The study was published online by the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. The information was gathered on questionnaires filled out by mothers about their children, starting in their 17th week of gestation up through age 5.
via Gender Plays Role in Delayed Language Development, Study Says – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Jane Meredith Adams
They are the lowest achieving students in a field plagued by low achievement.
Students diagnosed as emotionally disturbed perform the poorest of all students in special education, although they have no cognitive deficits. More than two out of five students with emotional or behavioral disorders, such as severe depression or aggressive behavior, leave high school before graduating, research has shown, and four years after high school, nearly three out of five have been arrested.
Now a pilot program is hoping it can better help these children by addressing what may be the root cause of many of their behaviors: trauma they’ve endured at home or in their neighborhoods.
via New ‘trauma-informed’ approach to behavioral disorders in special education | EdSource Today.
By Christina Samuels
It’s official: Joan McLaughlin has been named commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research, cementing the role she has held as an acting commissioner since July, after former commissioner Deborah L. Speece left in June.
McLaughlin previously led the Institute of Education Sciences’ research programs in early intervention services—early education programs for young children at risk of being identified for special education—and, before coming to IES, headed evaluations of multiple federal education, early education, and food-aid programs for the research group Abt Associates Inc. She will serve a six-year term.
via Permanent Chief Selected for Federal Special Education Research Center – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Susan Winlow
Anela Medalle could be the cheerleader in Kymber Katen’s class of toddlers at the Irene Larsen Center.
“Yay,” said the 21-month-old as each of her classmates used a wand to move a digitized picture of themselves on a low-hanging Smart board to the appropriate location. Anela, with her constant smile and laugh, was having a good time interacting with Katen, her grandfather William Chua and her classmates.
via Hearing-impaired toddlers get a start in the hearing world Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
There was a time not too long ago when Vicky Del Real was embarrassed to let anyone know she was hard of hearing.
The 16-year-old said she’d never wear her long black hair in a pony tail because didn’t want people to see her hearing aids.
“I would always have my hair down,” she said.
via County program gives deaf students an extra boost Daily Republic.
By Chester E. Finn, Jr.
America’s approach to the education of children with disabilities is antiquated, costly, and ineffective. “Special education” as we know it is broken—and repainting the surface won’t repair it. It cries out for a radical overhaul. Far too many children emerge from our special-ed system without the skills, knowledge, and competencies that they need for a successful life that fully capitalizes on their abilities. This ineffectual system is also very, very expensive. Yet for a host of reasons—inertia, timidity, political gridlock, fear of litigation, fear of interest groups, ignorance, lack of imagination, and so on—neither our education leaders nor our policy leaders have shown any inclination to modernize it. Instead, they settle for “paint jobs”—waivers and the like.
via Financing the Education of High-Need Students : Education Next.
During the past decade, the reform movements toward greater accountability have highlighted the achievement gap that exists among students based on race/ethnicity, family income, language ability, and disability. While progress has been made to address the inequities evidenced in our educational outcomes, students with disabilities remain among the lowest performing subgroup in California and implementation of Common Core State Standards CCSS could further exacerbate the differences that exist.
via Statewide Special Education Task Force – State Board of Education CA Dept of Education.