I don't want On Spec Ed to turn into a special education law blog, because many have staked out that ground quite well, as you can see by checking my blogroll. But I've happened to run across a handful of interesting law-related items: My colleague Mark Walsh wrote today about an appeals court ruling that placing a disruptive student in "timeout" repeatedly did not violate the student's constitutional rights. H. Jeffrey Marcus, an attorney in western New York state who represents parents, has blogged about a U.S. District court decision that denies reimbursement for private placement to a parent ...


Back in June, I wrote a blog entry about an Arizona appeals court halting a voucher program for students with disabilities and students in foster care. At the time, I wrote that I understood why people might support a voucher program for students with special needs, but I was a bit more skeptical that foster children have the same need for special schools. This Houston Chronicle article, however, outlines some of the educational difficulties faced by children who are adopted, and I would imagine that children in foster care might have some of the same challenges. Because of abuse, genetic ...


Honestly, I've been so starved for political news this year that actually relates to special education, I'll even take this tidbit, nestled in a speech that former New Hampshire governor and current Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen made Wednesday: "The federal government has made a commitment to the states to ensure children with disabilities receive an equal opportunity for an excellent education, and we should honor that commitment by setting a goal of fully funding IDEA within eight years. ... We need a senator who will fight for special education funding instead of voting against it eight times. We need a new ...


If you live or teach in Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa or West Virginia, your state is required to use response to research-based intervention to determine if a child has a learning disability, as opposed to using the "severe-discrepancy" model based on IQ tests. This is according to a new survey (pdf) recently released by Project Forum, a federally-funded research organization under the umbrella of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. It's the most up-to-date report I've seen that attempts to drill down into state policy on RTI. Now, buckle in for some background... Schools that use ...


Lance T. Izumi, the director of education studies for the conservative Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, wrote an editorial for the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that exit exams could help, not hurt, students in special education: Some districts, instead of complaining, have risen to the challenge by implementing programs such as pre-exit-exam academic boot camps for special ed students. Higher expectations for special ed students and greater confidence in their abilities underlie such efforts. A positive agenda focused on getting special ed students to pass the exit exam will, in most cases, help these young people succeed in life ...


On the bottom right, you can see a list of some of the blogs I follow, but I know there are many more that I'm missing, particularly ones that are devoted to specific disabilities. Feel free to add some suggestions in comments....


The state of sex education for students with developmental disabilities is a story idea that's been on my plate for ages, and I now may have a good "hook:" Researchers in Philadelphia have tracked rates of treatment of sexually transmitted infections among more than 50,000 Medicaid*-eligible 12- to 17-year-olds, including about 8,000 receiving special education services, in the Philadelphia school district. In Philadelphia, unlike in many districts, students who are gifted are also provided with an individualized education program, and thus were included in this count. The study found: For males, being classified as [learning disabled] was ...


It's not a surprise to me that raising a child with a disability could be more costly than raising a typically developing child, particularly because of the cost of health care. A researcher recently put a price tag on the burden shouldered by parents annually in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The average extra cost borne by families across the country is $774. Families in Massachusetts have the lowest out-of-pocket costs, at about $560 a year. Families in Georgia, however, have to pay the most -- about $972 a year. The full ranking table is here. Paul ...


The U.S. Department of Education's office of special education programs has divided $2.4 million among 20 universities around the country to help those universities train highly qualified teachers of students with "high incidence" disabilities. Such disabilities include emotional disturbance, mental retardation and learning disabilities like dyslexia. These grants are part of the Special Education Preservice Training Improvement Grants Program, and will cover the first year of what are expected to be five-year projects at the colleges. I first started covering special education in November 2004, right after the reauthorization of IDEA. A few months later, I wrote an ...


Or is it? Special education law blogger Jim Gerl posted today about a September 2007 case decided in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that says that districts do not violate the IDEA unless they have "materially failed" to implement a student's individualized education program. (The Ninth Circuit covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.) The case involves a middle school student, Christopher Van Duyn, with severe autism. He attended school in the 2,000-student Baker, Ore., district at the time the case was brought, and his parents complained that the ...


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