The number of students qualifying for the gifted kindergarten program in New York City this year has increased by 10 percent, according to The New York Times. There were 3,542 Kindergartners qualifying for gifted programs citywide this year, up from 2,330, the Times said. So, why more gifted students? The article says the cause of the higher passing rates was not known, but increased preparation may play a role, with hundreds of students citywide having professional tutoring before taking this year's admission test....


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pushing for more inclusion of students with disabilities in public schools, reports The New York Times. To meet the needs of the increasing number of students with disabilities and bring the city's schools in line with the national trend toward inclusion, Bloomberg is overhauling special education by asking every principal to take in more of the students and allowing greater flexibility in deciding how to teach them, the article said. More than 250 schools will have to accept more students with disabilities this coming school year, rather than send them to the schools ...


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan aimed to inspire his audience last week at the Council for Exceptional Children's annual conference, calling special education a moral and civil rights issue. CEC, an advocacy group for special educators, has put a video of the seven-minute speech on its Web site. You can watch it here. Duncan's speech, in Nashville, Tenn., touched on many contemporary topics in education, such as the need to save school jobs as part of education reform. He also called for greater inclusion for children with disabilities in mainstream classrooms. The audience of special educators interrupted the ...


A new topic area from the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse will focus on Early Childhood Education for Children with Disabilities, reviewing research related to improving the school readiness of 3- to 5-year-old children with disabilities. The site published its first report this month on research on dialogic reading, an interactive reading practice that uses picture books designed to enhance language and literacy skills. Here is the full report. The What Works Clearinghouse is part of the department's Institute of Education Sciences, and was designed to help educators make decisions about curricula, supplemental products, and classroom methods....


A federal judge signed a joint settlement agreement Monday, putting an end to a 26-year-old special education lawsuit in Baltimore City. U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis signed the agreement, which concludes court oversight of the schools, noting that Baltimore City Public Schools made significant progress with its special education program, according to the Maryland Department of Education. The agreement starts a two-year transition, with the state education department continuing to monitor the progress of the special education program, said William Reinhard, a spokesman for the department. "We always knew this day would come, because we have been committed to ...


Readers may want to check out the National Education Association's free online workshop on improving education for students with autism. The 60-minute video, called "The Puzzle of Autism," offers classroom strategies for educators to create positive educational and social experiences for students with autism spectrum disorders. The video explains the disability and its common characteristics, suggests techniques to work successfully with children who have the disability. The workshop also features PowerPoint presentation slides and supplemental materials available for download. "As a long-time math teacher, I am very familiar with numbers," said Dennis Van Roekel, the president of the NEA, in ...


A new, statewide push in California is bringing laid off general education teachers into special education, an area with chronic staffing shortages, reports The Oakland Tribune. The California Teacher Corps, an organization of the state's alternative teacher-certification programs, announced this week that the programs would work with school districts to provide special education training to teachers subject to layoffs. The article said more than 23,000 teachers received notices in March that they might not have jobs in the fall, according to the California Teachers Association. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell told the Tribune that the initiative would ...


A bill passed by the legislature elicits a strong reaction at a school in Clearwater.


A federal appeals court Monday upheld budget-driven Hawaii teacher furlough days from a lawsuit on behalf of special education students whose parents claimed they would be harmed by lack of instructional days, the Honolulu Advertiser reports. The Advertiser quoted this excerpt from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision: "To allow the stay-put provisions to apply in this instance would be essentially to give the parents of disabled children veto power over a state's decision regarding the management of its schools. The (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) did not intend to strip administrative powers away from local school ...


A federal audit shows that some school districts in Ohio have had serious problems in special education programs that have gone unnoticed because of a lack of state oversight, according to an article from The Columbus Dispatch. Federal reviewers, who visited in October, found that some of the school districts they spot-checked were in violation of the law and failing to properly educate students with disabilities, the article said. Auditors found that students even with mild disabilities in one district were relegated to their own separate classroom, rather than mainstreamed with other students. Another district allowed teachers to limit the ...


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