The National Center on Educational Outcomes, a federally funded center that provides "national leadership in the participation of students with disabilities in national and state assessments, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements," is promoting a number of new reports available on its Web site. I'll be examining these reports more closely for potential story ideas, but here are a few that jumped out: States’ Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) in 2007: NCEO doesn't try to assess the quality of these tests, which can be given to 2 percent of students who are capable of learning grade-level content, but ...


Among the most well-attended sessions at last year's huge Council for Exceptional Children convention were talks on co-teaching: bringing general education and special education teachers together in one classroom to focus on the instruction of children with special learning needs. Educators in co-teaching arrangements stressed that in order to work well, such partnerships require focus, planning, even a little chemistry. I saw this in person when I visited co-taught classrooms in San Antonio; one pair of teachers I met worked so well together they were practically able to finish one another's sentences. They were up front in saying they were ...


Perhaps the question mark betrays my reporterly skepticism. I must admit that when I heard about an ABC World News story on a nonberbal 13-year-old girl with autism who was now using a computer to express herself eloquently, I thought, hmm, is this "facilitated communication?" I know that assistive devices can be tremendously helpful for children who cannot speak. But facilitated communication, where a helper in some cases supports the hand of the person who is disabled, has had a rockier history. A critical 1993 Frontline story on the issue said that in at least some cases, the facilitator was ...


And what they've said is, they want to know about response to intervention. I lost track of the total number of questions I screened for yesterday's online chat about RTI after counting about 100. The panelists did a great job of fielding as many as they could, but to get to all of them would have required another few hours. Judging from the inquiries, there's a lot of interest in how RTI might work for older students, for English-language learners, and for students struggling in academic subjects other than reading. Educators also want some reassurance that they're doing RTI the "right...


Be sure to tune in to the Education Week website at 2 p.m. EST Feb. 20 for an online "chat" I'm moderating on response to intervention. Two researchers and two school principals will be taking questions from readers. I'll update this post with a link to the transcript once the discussion is over....


San Francisco-based school psychologist Rebecca Bell has a hilarious entry called "The Newbie" on her blog, Notes from the School Psychologist. In it, she offers words of wisdom to other new school psychologists out there: New psychs: Be patient. It took FOUR years to get the staff on board with the idea that we didn’t need to refer every child with academic or behavioral needs to special education “just to rule out a disability.” I had so much paperwork involved when there was an inappropriate referral it was ridiculous. Some parents didn’t even know that what they signed ...


Response to intervention for young elementary students is starting to take off, and now preschool educators are getting in on the act, thanks to an initiative from the New York City-based National Center for Learning Disabilities and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. NCLD made a recent trip to Capitol Hill to introduce congressional staff to a response-to-intervention type process for preschoolers called "recognition and response." At the same time, they explained that NCLD has been promoting a key element of recognition and response, early screening, through a center-backed ...


Reading Rockets, an educational initiative of the public television station in the Washington area, has a nice, easy-to-read web page about accessible instructional materials. Though the guide is written for parents, teachers and administrators could also find this information valuable. IDEA 2004 requires textbook companies to adhere to a certain technical standard (the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard, or NIMAS) when they create the source files that are used to create textbooks. This digital source file can then be used to produce the standard textbooks we all know and love, as well as Braille versions, audio versions, large-print editions, and ...


They may have other policy differences, but when it comes to special education, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain all want the same thing for states--more money. My colleague Michele McNeil has already written in her lively blog about Clinton's pledge to "fully-fund" the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. That gets into a tricky area. In 1975, when IDEA first was passed as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, the law said that the federal government would eventually kick in to the states 40 percent of the nationwide average cost of educating a ...


This must feel familiar to those in the gifted education field: Every year that the Bush administration has created a budget, it has proposed eliminating the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, the only federally funded program specifically directed toward enhancing the ability of schools to meet these students' special education needs. And every year, the program has been maintained through Congressional action. This year is no excepton. The fiscal 2009 budget released earlier this week by the White House proposed eliminating the Javits program and 46 others. Compared to the $59.8 billion in discretionary spending ...


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