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Each week, LD OnLine gathers interesting news headlines about learning disabilities and ADHD issues. Please note that LD OnLine does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside websites.

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Special Ed Gets Big Boost From Federal Funds

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.

Special Ed May Face $2 Billion in Cuts

Disability Scoop

"As a new round of budget talks gets underway in Congress, special education advocates are sounding the alarm about big cuts that may be on the horizon. Though detailed proposals have yet to be released, the Council for Exceptional Children — which lobbies on behalf of special educators — is estimating that such cuts would mean more than $2 billion less for programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act."

Special Ed Regulations Get Summertime Overhaul

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.

Special Ed Students Could Be Exempt from Exit Exam

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.

Special Ed Students Exempted in Bill

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.

Special Ed Teacher Has Seen Changes

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.

Special Ed. Director Blazes Paths in Virginia

Education Week

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.

Special Ed. Vouchers May Open Doors for Choice

Education Week

Meet voucher supporters' new fellow strategists: students with disabilities. Creating private school vouchers for special education students—programs that are largely unchallenged in court, unlike other publicly financed tuition vouchers—can be the perfect way to clear a path for other students to get school options, according to school choice proponents.

Special Education 101: How Do I Start a Buddy Program in My School?

Examiner (DC)

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.

Special Education Academy Accused of Failing its Students

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.

Special Education Challenges in DC, and Everywhere

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 disabilities—in 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.

Special Education Changes Raises Questions in USD 232

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.

Special Education Funding Hit Hard by Sequestration

Education News

The impact of federal budget sequestration on education didn't appear to be all that devastating in the months since the across-the-board cuts went into effect, but that might be changing now that more students are returning to class. The effects of less money are being especially felt by special education students who have had services either rolled back or completely eliminated, leaving them and their parents in the lurch.

Special Education Gets Fresh Look in Minnesota Schools

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.

Special Education Help on Internet

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.

Special Education in America

Education Week

The EPE Research Center, a division of the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week, released a report that examines key issues facing students with disabilities. In conjunction with this release, a monthlong series of online chats will be held to discuss special education issues.

Special Education in Seattle

KUOW (WA)

Federal law requires that public schools teach every student, regardless of that student's disabilities. That can be complicated, labor–intensive and expensive. How is Seattle Public Schools doing when it comes to special education? Special education students are placed in mainstream classrooms now. Is that working for teachers and students? KUOW talks with special education teachers and parents about the district's successes and challenges in special education.

Special Education Needs Soar

Centre Daily Times (PA)

The Pennsylvania state school board will require all newly certified teachers — regardless of whether they teach history, physics, art or elementary education — to have extra training in special education. The aim of the new requirements, which won't begin to kick in for another three years, is to serve the growing population of children who need special education services in the same classrooms as their peers whenever possible.

Special Education Numbers Declining in Chetek Schools

The Chetek Alert (WI)

From 1996 to 2006, special education prevalence rates in the Chetek School District of Barron County, Wisconsin have steadily increased. In 1996, 6.2 percent of the students in the district received special education services and by 2006, the number was up to 17.6 percent. It was during that year that the school district implemented a response-to-instruction program. The program delivers high-quality, intensely monitored instruction to students struggling in a particular subject area (usually reading), but who often do not qualify for special education services. Since initiating the program, the district's special education prevalence rate has decreased from 17.6 percent to 14.4 percent.

Special Education Office Moves Toward Measuring Student Outcomes

Education Week

Thirty-nine states have garnered a "meets requirements" rating from the U.S. Department of Education's office of special education programs on the quality of their programs for students with disabilities. The federal special education office is moving to a system that will require states to demonstrate how they are working to improve the educational outcomes for students with disabilities.

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