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 Northeast Washington school will plead its case Thursday evening as the DC Public Charter School Board decides whether to close the campus because of poor academic performance. Opened in 1998, Integrated Design Electronics Academy Public Charter School is one of the oldest charters in the District, and charter officials say  Read the rest of this entry

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Texas cities are low on annual literacy list

Texas has routinely topped the national growth charts, but the Lone Star State’s biggest cities are behind the curve in an annual ranking of literacy rates.

Austin (tied with New York City at No. 22) was the only Texas city to crack the top third of the 75 cities ranked in the study of literacy resources by John Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University.

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STRESSING that every learner, able or differently abled, should be in school, Education Secretary Armin Luistro has ordered all of the Department of Education (DepEd) heads nationwide to take the lead in planning and implementing the early registration of children and youth with disabilities on Jan. 28.

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D.C. school officials incorrectly reported their progress in adequately meeting the needs of special education students, saying they quickly handled cases that actually dragged on for years and in some cases may have never provided students services, according to a court-appointed monitor’s report.

In one case, a deaf student with college dreams dropped out of high school after D.C. Public Schools failed to provide an adequate sign language interpreter and some equipment. It took DCPS months to get her the promised equipment — some of which arrived broken.

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The District of Columbia has long had some of the worst educational outcomes in the country, including the lowest high school graduation rate. Now the nation’s capital owns the dubious distinction of having by far the largest achievement gap between African American and white students – as well as Hispanic and white students – among major urban school systems, according to a federal study released last month.

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Race and the Diagnosis of Disability in Students

It has long been known that African American students are disproportionately diagnosed — over-diagnosed? — with learning and other disabilities. Ed Week cites 2008 government data from the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University according to which African-American students are “nearly or greater than twice as likely as white students to be classified with emotional or intellectual disabilities.” Nirvi Shaf at Ed Week’s On Special Education blog provides more statistics to underscore the extent of the problem:

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Growth in prekindergarten slowed in recession

WASHINGTON –  The expansion in public prekindergarten programs has slowed and even been reversed in some states as school districts cope with shrinking budgets. As a result, many 3- and 4-year-olds aren’t going to preschool.

Kids from low-income families who start kindergarten without first attending a quality education program enter school an estimated 18 months behind their peers. Many never catch up, and research shows they are more likely to need special education services and to drop out. Kids in families with higher incomes also can benefit from early education, research shows.

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The Washington, D.C. school system’s failure to hold higher-ups accountable for their 2008-2010 test cheating scandal has led to more speculation that some are intentionally stonewalling attempts to get at the truth.

According to the Washington Post, D.C. ‘s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), headed by Hosanna Mahaley, issued a December 23 press release after months of dodging Freedom of Information requests by journalists.  In September, a spokesman for OSSE told the Post‘s Jay Mathews that the “data was ready and I would get it after Mahaley returned from a trip to Brazil.”

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DOE Sends Annual IDEA Report to Congress

Last month the United States Department of Education sent its annual report on the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act to Congress.  Because of the slow movement in all things government, the report is for 2008 and most of the data is for the 2005-2006 school year. Nothin’ like staying current.

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