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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 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.

Special Education Overhaul Is Urged

The Tennessean (TN)

Nashville's special education students belong in regular classrooms, served by teachers trained to meet their needs, a task force composed of parents, researchers and advocates said Wednesday. The Mayor's Advisory Council on Special Education released a six-month study of special education services. Reform could take up to five years to roll out, but Mayor Karl Dean said it's one of his top priorities.

Special Education Parent Advisory Council Celebrates Year

The Daily News Tribune (MA)

After moving to the city three years ago, Denise Cummings struggled to find help for her 10-year-old son, David, who had recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. She found that critical help with the Special Education Parent Advisory Council.

Special Education Parents Want Curriculum Changes

The Sparta Independent (NJ)

Parents of elementary students with special needs addressed the board of education this week demanding answers and action regarding what they see as deficiencies in the education their children are receiving in the district. The main complaint is the kindergarten through fourth reading program, which the parents believe is inconsistent and ineffective, and causing their children to fall behind.

Special Education Partnership Benefits Children in Belize

Bridgewater Independent (MA)

Professor Lisa Battaglino has made it her mission to bring special education to some of the world's most vulnerable children. Battaglino said it's heartbreaking to meet kids who would benefit from intervention but aren't getting it. She's spent the past year in Belize helping the tiny Central American country develop a special education program.

Special Education Programs Brace for Loss of Federal Stimulus Money

Times-Picayune

The drop-off in stimulus spending by the federal government is likely to put a dent in special education programs at some New Orleans schools, with the Orleans Parish School Board planning deep cuts in its special-ed workforce ahead of the next school year.

Special Education Proposals Ruled Out

Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)

Under pressure from politicians and thousands of parents of special-education students, the state education department has backed down from proposed rule changes that would limit parental consent for ending special-education services. The proposed rule changes drew 77,000 comments from the public — the most ever.

Special Education Reforms Would Likely Include Classes Taught in Pairs

The Seattle Times

As a task force begins this spring to revamp Seattle Public Schools' approach to special education, it's likely many classrooms around the district will include more students in general-education classes and educate more special-education students at their neighborhood schools. The details haven't been worked out, but in general, the district will try to deliver services to the students instead of bringing the students to the services.

Special Education Still Lags In District

Washington Post (DC)

D.C. public schools continue to fall woefully short in meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities and physical or behavioral challenges, according to the report of a federal court monitor.

Special Education Students Disciplined Twice As Often

Texas Tribune

Special education students in Texas public schools are nearly twice as likely to be suspended as students in the general education population, according to a recent Texas Education Agency report to the Senate Committee on Education. The expulsion rate is also disproportionate: Though special education students make up just 10 percent of the enrollment in Texas public schools, they account for 21 percent of expulsions, according to the School-to-Prison Pipeline report published by Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit public interest law center.

Special Education Teacher Evaluation Methods A Struggle

Associated Press

Spurred by the U.S. Department of Education's $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant competition, more than a dozen states have passed laws to reform how teachers are evaluated and include student growth as a component. For most students, that growth will be measured on standardized tests. But for special education students that is considerably more complicated.

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