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Bit by bit, the U.S. Department of Education is trying to pull down the walls that have traditionally separated general and special education. One facet of the plan is the department's support of "response to intervention," or RTI, an educational technique that bolsters the skills of academically struggling students before they fall so far behind that they need special education services.
The Education Department, in recently released guidelines, suggests that special education aid under the stimulus measure be used for one-time expenditures. "There's a huge opportunity to help train regular education teachers to better work with special education children," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the House Budget Committee. But spending on short-term projects may leave school administrators in the position of buying equipment with one pot of money, while laying off teachers at the same time.
Publishers Weekly (NY)
In response to the urgency of special-needs problems, including autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (4%–12% of school-age children, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics), upcoming seasons offer an array of new titles, ranging from the Mongolian adventures of an autistic boy and his parents (The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson) to preeminent child psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan's Overcoming ADHD.
Houston Community Newspapers – Pearland Journal (TX)
Concerned residents who spoke to the school board at their regular meeting April 8, lobbying for special education services they say are lacking in the district. "I'm hoping more people will join so the District will realize [special education] isn't as good as they think," said parent Amy Sabalesky.
Tulsa World (OK)
Some of the most scathing and legally damning findings in an investigative report released this week about the Tulsa Academic Center of Tulsa, Oklahoma involve the treatment of special education students. A summary of an investigative report prepared for the Tulsa school board details repeated violations of federal and state laws, as well as Tulsa Public Schools' own policies and procedures for safeguarding the rights of students with disabilities.
Salem News (MA)
Local school superintendents are looking at a cash infusion from the federal government to help some of their neediest students. For the moment, they're looking at it cautiously. "It can sure be put to excellent uses," Salem Superintendent William Cameron said. "But we lack information about the rules for expending these funds beginning July 1."
New Haven Register (CT)
If New Haven, Connecticut residents don't appropriate $250,000 to cover a pending deficit in the special education budget, there will be immediate layoffs and program eliminations in the schools, Superintendent SaraJane R. Querfeld says. Querfeld said the money, which would be tapped from the unappropriated fund balance, will cover educational costs for nine special education students who have been placed by the state Department of Children and Families, the court system or a hospital.
Telegram & Gazette (MA)
The governor announced yesterday he will allocate $280 million in federal economic stimulus funds to pay for special education programs in local school districts and another $10 million for preschool special education services.
The Telegraph (NH)
A host of changes were made to the state's special education regulations this summer, and for parents, it may be a daunting task to try to understand what they all mean. The Parent Information Center will be hosting a workshop next week for anyone interested to learn more about what the changes are and how they impact the delivery of special education services.
Whittier Daily News (CA)
It's been nine months since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have helped special education students get their diplomas without having to pass the California High School Exit Exam. Now, an exemption plan for the exit exam will come before him again this summer, only in a different form: SB 1446 by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles.
Pasadena Star-News (CA)
California state legislators advanced a bill Thursday aimed at exempting special education students from having to pass the high school exit exam to receive high school diplomas. It would provide a two-year exemption for disabled students who complete all of the requirements for graduation but do not pass one or both sections of the California High School Exit Exam.
Times Leader (PA)
Florence Palermo's 36-year career in special education tightly traces the sweeping changes the field has undergone — and the adaptations teachers have needed to make. The trick, she believes, is to get solid training and to keep up-to-date with the law, then implement the training with patience and respect.
When Judy Sorrell was a child, she knew she would devote her life to working with children with disabilities.
As a 5th grader, well before the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act existed, requiring public schools to educate students with disabilities in the "least restrictive" environment possible, Sorrell was already indignant over the way a younger cousin with Down syndrome was being treated in school.
Meet voucher supporters' new fellow strategists: students with disabilities. Creating private school vouchers for special education studentsprograms that are largely unchallenged in court, unlike other publicly financed tuition voucherscan be the perfect way to clear a path for other students to get school options, according to school choice proponents.
A special education buddy program pairs regular education (RE) students with special education (SE) students. If your child's school doesn't have a special education buddy program, set up a meeting with your special education liaison to share ideas to create one.
Hartford Courant (CT)
A complaint filed on behalf of 70 students at the 2550 Main Street Academy paints a picture of a chaotic school where little learning takes place and conditions are unsafe. As a result, the middle- and high school-aged special-education students are being denied their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and several other federal and state statutes, the complaint says.
On Special Education Blog, Education Week
This week, lawyers will argue that the District of Columbia school system didn't do enough to find and teach 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds with disabilitiesin front of the same judge who has already ruled that the school district didn't do right by these kids in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Shawnee Dispatch (KS)
De Soto USD 232's Early Childhood Special Education Program will take on a different look next year, but the decision isn't settling well with some parents. The program will no longer support lead teachers in the classroom. Instead, licensed special education teachers will take over lead teacher duties.
Pioneer Press (MN)
Nancy Cooley has spent 20 years helping struggling young readers build a foundation for academic success. Each day, Cooley works individually with students like Gavin Bass, a Rosemount first-grader, who need extra help mastering specific literacy skills using a program called "Reading Recovery." Interventions like these can help get a student back on course, possibly avoiding a learning-disability classification. Such one-on-one interventions are time-consuming and can be costly, but a growing number of school leaders across the Twin Cities are betting they will pay off academically and financially.
New York Daily News
For years, parents of kids with learning disabilities have had to work the phones to find out which public schools had the right therapies for them. Now, city officials are trying to make it easier. Starting this week, the city is posting special education "service delivery reports" on the website of every public school.