Some officials associated with the District’s public charter schools are lauding an initiative that will streamline the way these schools are evaluated.

The Public Charter School Board, parents and other stakeholders spent almost three years developing the Performance Management Framework (PMF), which will be an evaluation tool to assess and monitor charter school performance. Schools that are rated will fall into one of three tiers. Tier 1 schools will have met standards of high performance; Tier 2 schools are those which fall short of high performance standards but meet minimum overall performance; and Tier 3 schools are those which fall significantly short of high performance standards and show inadequate performance. Tier 3 schools that fall below 20 percent of an established number of points may have their charters revoked.

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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 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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