Special Education Archives

What’s Working in Urban Schools

At first glance, it would appear there is little to cheer about with America’s urban schools. Results from the “Nation’s Report card,” released Nov. 1 by the U.S. Education Department, were disappointing: no true narrowing of the black/white achievement gaps. High school graduation rates are shockingly low, especially among the most academically fragile students. Only 47 percent of black males, for example, graduate from high school.

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46

Percentage of learning disabled students aged 16-21 exiting special education in 2009-2010 who graduated with a diploma, according to Dropout Nation‘s analysis of U.S. Department of Education data — or a mere 256,000 American children. That’s lower than the nation’s overall four-year graduation rate of 70 percent.

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“SPECIAL EDUCATION TRANSPORTATION” AND “SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN”

Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown announces the scheduling of a Public Oversight Roundtable by the Committee of the Whole on “Special Education Transportation” and “Special Education Services for Preschool Children.” The public oversight roundtable is scheduled for Monday, December 12, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The purpose of the public oversight roundtable is to allow government officials the opportunity to provide an update on the District of Columbia’s effort to improve transportation for special education students and to provide a response to the recent federal court ruling that the District has failed to provide special education services to hundreds of eligible preschool-age children.

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A new bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Sannicandro aims to make the transition from school to the working world easier for students with special needs.

The legislation, which was engrossed in the House of Representatives last week and now moves on to the Senate, would revise licensure requirements for special education teachers to allow them to seek certification in transitional services by completing graduate-level courses or similar programs. That additional training will help their students better prepare for life after grade school, said Sannicandro, an Ashland Democrat who represents several Framingham precincts.

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A Tense Situation

MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr speaks at a Listen & Learn event. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools

Anyone who’s attended a Listen and Learn session hosted by MCPS schools superintendent Joshua Starr in recent months has heard a quick rundown of his resume as he introduced himself to county residents.

But when Starr met Tuesday night with the Special Education Advisory Commission, he took care to detail his experience both as a teacher and administrator dealing with emotionally disturbed students in New York City.

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A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the District has failed to provide special education services to hundreds of eligible preschool-age children and ordered that the city redouble its efforts to find, assess and treat those with special needs.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth issued a sweeping series of orders in a 2005 class-action suit (D.L. v. District of Columbia) brought by seven children and their parents, who encountered barriers and delays in securing special education services for which they were eligible under federal law. Lamberth set a series of performance benchmarks for D.C. special education officials and said if they were not met, more stringent intervention would follow, possibly in the form of a court-appointed special master.

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