Author: Jennifer Cohen
Source: New America Foundation
Published: February 2, 2012

At Ed Money Watch we talk a lot about funding formulas for various federal grant programs. We’ve written about proposed changes to the ESEA Title II funding formula in the House Students Success Act, the need for improvements to the Title I formula, and even idiosyncrasies in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act formula. Congress has designed each of these formulas to account for factors such as population size and poverty rates or numbers when distributing federal funds to states and school districts. But another factor – something known as “small state minimums” – always seems to run roughshod over the intended target populations.

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A Northwest D.C. public charter school that has not enrolled a special-education student in three years is under scrutiny by District officials.

Roots Public Charter School, which serves 120 children in grades pre-K through 8, said it does not discriminate against students with physical or emotional disabilities. But the staff of the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which oversees the city’s 57 publicly funded, independently operated schools, said in a recent report it has “grave concerns” about Roots’ admissions practices. It said the board planned “an intensive compliance review” of the school.

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How Many Students Really Graduate From High School?

D.C. expects ‘significant’ drop in graduation rate under new calculation.

Shira Fishman, a teacher at McKinley Technology High School in Northeast D.C., works with high school students in a math class. New federal standards are going to ensure that each high school student is tracked individually to determine whether he or she graduates.

Ask a random sampling of D.C. residents about the dropout rate of District public school students, and their guesses actually aren’t that far off. Many of them guess that 70-80 percent of students graduate; the actual official graduation rate hovers around 76 percent.

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District wins appeal of special education ruling

The District has won a significant legal victory in its bid to lift a federal court injunction imposed 16 years ago because it wasn’t paying tuition and other services for special education students in a timely manner.

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a ruling last year by U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman rejecting the city’s motion to drop the injunction, which is part of the Petties class action lawsuit.

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