States Pressured to Curb Test Exemptions for Students With Disabilities

Posted on August 08, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether schools can be held liable for failing to recognize that students have learning disabilities. On Monday, and the court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the matter, order as justices consider whether a California mother can file a negligence claim against her daughter’s school district. The mother claims the district did not identify, locate and evaluate her daughter for learning disabilities — as is required under law.

According to court papers, when the student was in 10th grade, her teachers became concerned that her work was “gibberish and incomprehensible” and that she had failed every class. The school district referred the girl to a mental health counselor, who recommended that the student be evaluated for learning disabilities. The district did not follow the recommendation, and it promoted the girl to the 11th grade.

The mother brought an administrative claim under the IDEA, arguing that the school district failed under the law’s “child find” requirement to identify the girl’s disabilities sooner. That requirement obliges states to ensure that all children with disabilities who are in need of special education services are identified, located, and evaluated. Read more HERE>

 

Author: Mark Walsh


 
Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students…

Learning Communities: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, this site collective responsibility, and goal alignment.

Leadership: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.

Resources: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.

Data: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.

Learning Designs: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes.

Implementation: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long term change.

Outcomes: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.

For more information on the standards, visit http://www.learningforward.org/standards/index.cfm

Learning Forward, (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestions for You: Improvement is a continuous process without a beginning or end. These standards stimulate dialogue, discussion, and analysis that lead to increased effectiveness in professional learning regardless of the state of current practice.

Individuals Can:

• Study the standards to develop a foundational knowledge about effective professional learning.

• Use the standards to request improvements in professional learning in which they participate.

• Apply the standards to the planning, design, facilitation, and evaluation of professional learning they lead.

School Staff Can:

• Share the standards with external assistance providers who facilitate professional learning with school staff.

• Share the standards with parents, guardians, and community members to foster their support for professional learning as a means to increase student learning.

• Bring the standards into all program implementation or improvement discussions.

School System Staff can:

• Post the standards on or link to the standards from the school system’s website.

• Use the standards as criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of all professional learning.

• Prepare a resolution that the school trustees adopt the standards as expectations for all professional learning.

Adapted by: Suraj Syal, Coordinator, Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)

 

Going Beyond Teacher Appreciation Day

For decades, case my grandmother boycotted Mother’s Day. “Mothers should be appreciated every day!” she’d argue. By the time she was in her sixties, she surrendered, figuring she might as well be doted on once a year.

I’m all for teachers being appreciated, don’t get me wrong, but Teacher Appreciation Day (May 3) ruffles my feathers. Teachers deserve such massive amounts of appreciation that to cram it into one day, or even a week, just feels dismissive. As a teacher, I never felt particularly appreciated by my principal, colleagues, students, or parents. When acknowledgment of my work came, I relished it. It’s just that it was so infrequent. The thing was, I knew that my school community appreciated me, but I don’t think we knew how or when to express it; there were few structures to support this kind of recognition of our work.

Of course, those administrators, colleagues, students, and parents are not an exception in our society, and they themselves rarely feel appreciated. In general, we’re a very unappreciative bunch of humans. Our attention is not drawn to strengths and successes; we’re compelled to focus on weaknesses, to demand more, to be unsatisfied. We’re equally hard on ourselves, often our own worst critic.

Read more HERE>

Author: Elena Aguilar
Going Beyond Teacher Appreciation Day

For decades, pill my grandmother boycotted Mother’s Day. “Mothers should be appreciated every day!” she’d argue. By the time she was in her sixties, try she surrendered, for sale figuring she might as well be doted on once a year.

I’m all for teachers being appreciated, don’t get me wrong, but Teacher Appreciation Day (May 3) ruffles my feathers. Teachers deserve such massive amounts of appreciation that to cram it into one day, or even a week, just feels dismissive. As a teacher, I never felt particularly appreciated by my principal, colleagues, students, or parents. When acknowledgment of my work came, I relished it. It’s just that it was so infrequent. The thing was, I knew that my school community appreciated me, but I don’t think we knew how or when to express it; there were few structures to support this kind of recognition of our work.

Of course, those administrators, colleagues, students, and parents are not an exception in our society, and they themselves rarely feel appreciated. In general, we’re a very unappreciative bunch of humans. Our attention is not drawn to strengths and successes; we’re compelled to focus on weaknesses, to demand more, to be unsatisfied. We’re equally hard on ourselves, often our own worst critic. Read more HERE>

 

In the Classroom

 

Author: Elena Aguilar

Pressure from the U.S. Department of Education has led some states to curb a testing exemption that applies to only the 1 percent of students with the most severe disabilities, cure but districts that have long used that flexibility to win some breathing room in their accountability systems are bristling.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, search states are allowed to administer exams based on alternate standards to students with severe cognitive impairments and then count those scores toward their adequate yearly progress, or AYP, ratings—provided the number of scores counted as passing doesn’t exceed 1 percent of the total number of students tested. When more than 1 percent of students take the alternate tests, states or districts must count the scores from exams that exceed the cap as failing. But, for years, the Education Department allowed a handful of states to overstep the 1 percent cap.

A cap was used—rather than a strict definition of who should qualify for alternate tests—so that school districts could use their own judgment in determining which students should take the tests, which are not intended for children with moderate disabilities, said Ricki Sabia, the associate director of the policy center for the National Down Syndrome Society, based in New York City. When originally proposed, the cap was one-half of a percent, a proportion she said some research shows is much closer to the actual share of students who might be in need of tests that may hardly resemble current standardized exams. Read more of this discussion HERE>

Author: Nirvi Shah, Education Week