A local paper in Texas published a recent article about how Wichita Falls, Texas, schools are having success in preventing some students from being enrolled in special education classes by using a Response to Intervention program. The article says the RTI program is addressing a longtime problem in Wichita Falls schools of students being mislabeled and sent to special education classes when all they really need is more help in certain areas. Wichita Falls debuted the RTI program in nine of its schools this year, and plans to expand it to others next year, and the rest of the schools ...


Chicago Public School officials say they will be overhauling the district's special education program to eradicate problems that may make it difficult for the city's children with disabilities to get the right services, according to the Chicago Tribune. "A special need should not prevent a child from learning," district spokeswoman Monique Bond, told the paper. "This is an area where time is of the essence because these are students and children whose needs are at risk when we don't address their issues in a timely manner. We're very cognizant of that." She told the Tribune that the changes would help ...


Maryland schools must now allow students with disabilities to participate in school sports programs as long as their participation would not pose a risk to themselves or others, and does not change the nature of the game or event, reports The Baltimore Sun. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association adopted the new wording to its bylaws Tuesday. The association's executive director, Ned Sparks, told the Sun he believes Maryland is the first state to take such action. New guidelines also call for school systems to develop "corollary athletic programs" that are not subject to MPSSAA bylaws and allow greater ...


Rachael Dorman, a youth policy adviser in the Labor Department's office of disability employment policy, is featured this week in the The Washington Post as "federal player of the week." The paper Monday ran an interesting profile of Dorman, who is legally blind, and her work promoting government initiatives aimed at getting employers to hire young people with disabilities, and offering guidance on transition to employment for those coming out of high school or college. "Employment is the barrier that impacts people with disabilities," Dorman said in the article. "Our goal is to get the people who deal with employment ...


The U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse site will now feature research about improving academic performance for students with learning disabilities. The site published its first review on the subject of a program called the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing, designed to teach students the skills they need to decode words and to identify individual sounds and blends in words. See how the program is rated here. 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....


Judges in three different cases last week denied requests for compensation from parents who believe their children's autism was linked to mercury in vaccines, The New York Times reported. The judges in the three cases said thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury, does not cause autism, according to the story. The cases were part of the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, which combines the cases of 5,000 families with autistic children seeking compensation from the federal vaccine injury fund, which comes from a 75-cent tax on every dose of vaccine. The proceedings began in 2002 in the United States Court of Federal ...


North Carolina children's advocates are asking lawmakers to consider a statewide ban of spanking of students with disabilities in public schools, the Associated Press reports. Speakers at a General Assembly education committee meeting this week asked lawmakers to consider a paddling ban for children with physical, mental, or learning challenges when they reconvene in Raleigh in May, the story said. Advocates have waged unsuccessful efforts for broader bans of corporal punishment in years past. The state House rejected a 2007 bill that would put a statewide ban on such practices. Last year, the House approved a bill giving parents the ...


A federal judge on Monday granted preliminary approval of the settlement of a 26-year old special education lawsuit in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reports. The settlement would end court oversight in July and end the lawsuit by September 2012, if certain requirements are met. The state will continue to actively monitor the school system's progress until the lawsuit ends, the story said. The lawsuit, filed in 1984 on behalf of a city student known as "Vaughn G," accused Baltimore public schools of denying essential services to special education students. Education Week ran a story on the settlement here. The Sun ...


Gifted high school students in Idaho could receive scholarships to attend college early, in a proposed law that has recently passed the state's House of Representatives and awaits approval by the state Senate, the Associated Press reported. The law would allow students to graduate from high school up to three years early, and then receive taxpayer money to attend a state university or community college, the article said. Idaho would join a trend of states letting gifted students move on to college earlier. Eight other states allow high school sophomores who pass certain tests to graduate early. A Utah lawmaker ...


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill late this afternoon that would for the first time federally regulate the use of restraint and seclusion on students in schools, and require any use of such practices to be reported to parents. The bill, known as Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, passed by a vote of 262-153. The law would establish the first federal safety standards in schools for the use of restraint and seclusion, similar to rules in place in hospitals and nonmedical, community-based facilities. Regulations on the practices of restraint and seclusion vary from state ...


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