Exercise Before School Can Ward Off ADHD Symptoms, Study Finds – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

Want to help improve the focus of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Try some jumping jacks before class.

That’s the main finding of researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Vermont who examined 200 kindergarten, 1st and 2nd-graders, about half of whom were deemed to be at risk of developing ADHD. Students were randomly placed in two groups: one group participated in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise before the school day, while the other group engaged in more sedentary activities.

Over the 12 weeks that the children were studied, those who were exercising before school saw benefits across a broader range of outcomes than children who were spending time doing low-key activities.

via Exercise Before School Can Ward Off ADHD Symptoms, Study Finds – On Special Education – Education Week.

Students With ‘504 Plans’ More Likely to Be White, Enrolled in Non-Title I Schools – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

Students receiving accommodations under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act—a law that predates the Individuals with Disabilities Act and creates a more expansive definition of disability than the IDEA—are more likely to be white, male, and enrolled in a school that is not eligible for Title I funds, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data published in the Aug. 7 edition of the Journal of Disability Policy Studies.

(Note: The abstract of the study, linked above, gives an incorrect summary of the racial breakdown of “504 plan” students. The lead author of the study said in an interview that the abstract will be corrected.)

Students covered under Section 504 could have a variety of disabling conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, diabetes or mobility impairments. The overall percentage of students who are given accommodations under Section 504 is small, however; about 1 percent of all students, according to the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection.  This compares to about 12 percent of all students who are covered under the IDEA.

via Students With ‘504 Plans’ More Likely to Be White, Enrolled in Non-Title I Schools – On Special Education – Education Week.

Special Education Evaluation Process Under Fire From Senate Republicans – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

Senate Republicans on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee are upset about the U.S. Department of Education’s recent decision to evaluate states’ special education systems based on the academic performance of students with disabilities.

“This is clear influence and coercion, if not direct control,” the GOP committee members wrote to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a letter dated Aug. 4. “It is troubling that the department made unilateral changes to the [Individuals with Disabilities Act] compliance framework without seeking legislative approval, disregarded congressional intent, and appears to have violated the clear letter of the law.”

In June, the department rolled out of a revised evaluation process. The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, 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. Now, states are being checked on factors such as test scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP, and the gap between those scores and the scores of children in the general population, in addition to compliance.

via Special Education Evaluation Process Under Fire From Senate Republicans – On Special Education – Education Week.

New Accountability Framework Raises the Bar for State Special Education Programs | U.S. Department of Education

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.

Education Secretary Lauds Revised Special Education Evaluation System – Education Week

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.

First official count of high-needs students under new funding formula is in | EdSource Today

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.

New School Choice Bill Targets Military Families, Special-Needs Students – Education Week

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.

Bipartisan Workforce Bill Would Help Students Leaving Special Education – 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.

Special ed students dance morning away at Armijo – Daily Republic

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.

Vallejo, Benicia students compete in Special Olympics – Vallejo Times Herald

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.

Special Needs Kids Day a hit in Dixon – The Reporter

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.

House Education Chairman Seeks Special Education Funding Increase – Education Week

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.

Special education volunteers to receive honors – Daily Republic

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.

Event to help special education students – 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.

Discipline Practices Fall Hardest on Minorities and Students With Disabilities – Education Week

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.

Some Disappointed With White House Special Education Funding Proposal – 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.

Gender Plays Role in Delayed Language Development, Study Says – 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.

New ‘trauma-informed’ approach to behavioral disorders in special education | EdSource Today

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.

Permanent Chief Selected for Federal Special Education Research Center – Education Week

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.

Hearing-impaired toddlers get a start in the hearing world – Daily Republic

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.