The $13.5 billion in funding for special education that was part of the House economic stimulus bill has survived the companion bill in the Senate, which passed earlier today. Now the two bills have to be reconciled in what is sure to be a contentious process. Though the bills are close in dollar amount--$838 billion in the Senate, compared with $819 billion in the House--they take different approaches to trying to support a foundering economy. One issue among many to resolve will be the differing House and Senate provisions on "maintenance of effort" and "supplement-not-supplant" in special education ...


The Department of Labor released the first official statistics on the employment status of people with disabilities today. The first set of data covers October 2008 through January 2009; statistics will be updated monthly. Perhaps not surprisingly, people with disabilities have higher rates of unemployment compared to their non-disabled peers--13.2 percent compared to 8.3 percent. In November, the Department of Labor also released a survey that measured employer attitudes towards workers with disabilities. That report (pdf) is loaded with interesting information; for example, 33 percent of large companies reported hiring a person with disabilities in the past year, ...


For the special education world, seen perpetually underfunded, the prospect of an infusion of $13 billion over two years in federal stimulus funds might seem like a pretty great deal. But the extra funding has become entangled in spending rules that are a part of the complex Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. And now, some of the same advocates who might be supportive of extra funding are against proposed waiver provisions that they think might ultimately result in fewer programs and services for students with disabilities after the stimulus than before. First, a caution: the stimulus packages are constantly changing ...


Today's online chat with Ross Greene (author of The Explosive Child and Lost At School) and assistant principal Ray Grogan was one of the most popular ones I've moderated. Greene was promoting collaborative problem solving, a model that he says reduces conflicts and behavior problems in schools. Enjoy!...


Here's an interesting story out of Olathe, Kansas, about a family of an 18-year-old senior filing for due process because their son's IEP goals didn't include a goal of "a favorable ACT score that would facilitate his transition to a four-year college.” The student, Dustin Villareal, has a somewhat old website here. (The article says that he has attended Olathe schools since he was three; the website says he is home-schooled. Hmm.) The district has responded that it cannot guarantee that any student will be able to pass a college-entrance exam. But I think that response misses the point. The ...


This great link was passed to me by Linda Perlstein, the public editor for the Education Writers Association. It's a breakdown of how much every school district in the country would receive in special education dollars under the stimulus bill recently passed by the House of Representatives. The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill" includes $13 billion for special education funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act--a hefty infusion, considering the government's contribution this year was around $11 billion. The link also provides information on Title I and construction funds that would flow to schools under the proposal. Based on ...


This blog is a another great response-to-intervention resource; the last several posts have focused specifically on what researchers know about best practices for response to intervention at the secondary level. It was a good resource for me as I was writing my latest RTI article, published just this week, which focused on high schools in Colorado that are attempting to implement an RTI framework....


Edweek.org is sponsoring a chat from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday on working with students with autism. The confirmed guests are Marcie W. Handler, the director of home and school consultation at May Institute; Paula Kluth, a consultant, teacher, author, and advocate on the topic of autism spectrum disorders; and Stephen Shore, author of Understanding Autism for Dummies and Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Shore, who has autism, is a professor at Adelphi University. You don't need special equipment to participate in and ask questions during the chat, just a computer with an ...


Arne Duncan couldn't have had a smoother path to his confirmation today: he was lauded by Republicans and Democrats alike for his school reform efforts. But a disability advocacy group in Chicago, the district he led for 7 years, has a different view of Duncan's legacy in that city. The group also has some suggestions to offer the new secretary of education as he starts in his new role. Access Living, which represents people with disabilities of all types across the age spectrum, has had tough words for the Chicago Public Schools' efforts with children in special education. This recent ...


Alison Tepper Singer, formerly the executive vice president for communications and outreach for the powerful New York-based advocacy organization Autism Speaks, announced today that she was leaving the organization based on a disagreement over the need for further research into vaccines as a potential cause of autism. Autism Speaks would like to see more research into a possible link between the two. Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative once used in childhood vaccines, is considered a culprit by many, though no studies have shown a connection. Others believe that the number of vaccines, and the ages at which they are administered to ...


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