Where Do The Presidential Candidates Stand on Special Education? #election2016

We have sent a questionnaire to the Republican and Democratic candidates for President of the United States. The questionnaire seeks their opinions on special education issues, some of which were suggested by our readers in  response to one of our weekly questions. So far neither has responded. We will update with any responses we do receive.

In the meantime, here are some other indications of education positions: BallotPedia has set forth the 2016 presidential candidates' positions on education as they have described them themselves here. Here is a summary of key education positions of the candidates by Education Week.  This article in The Atlantic concerns education policies of th (Read more...)
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Guidance on Children with Disabilities in Public Virtual Schools

OSERSThe U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) recently released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) regarding virtual public schools to assist local and state educational agencies, and other public agencies with implementing specific requirements outlined in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The DCL issued the guidance to call on states and local agencies to evaluate current policies and procedures to ensure that America’s nearly 6.7 million students with disabilities have access to public virtual schools with high-quality special education and supports.

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States Can Use ESSA to Serve High Achieving Students

High Stakes for High AchieversA newly released report from The Fordham Institute titled, “High Stakes for High Achievers: State Accountability in the Age of ESSA,” gives examples of how state level leaders can redesign school accountability systems to better serve high achieving and gifted students. Currently, a majority of state school systems do not focus on, or even provide adequate academic challenges, for their high achieving students. With ESSA there will be new opportunities to bring high achieving students the deserving attention in the classroom. This report reviews both the current system’s lack of accountability, which can be detrimental to high achievement students, as well as provides examples on how new po (Read more...)

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Decline of Teacher Enrollment

Center for American ProgressDid you know that nationwide the enrollment for teacher preparation programs has decreased by 36% over the past 7 years? The Center for American Progress has released a report that tells of these alarming statistical differences, as well as diving into the reasons why this may be occurring.  The report, Educator Pipeline at Risk, Teacher Labor Markets After the Great Recession, also notes that certain subjects are considered to have teacher shortages, including special education. The authors make recommendations to help halt this gradual decline of teacher preparation programs, including increases in compensation and ending seniority-base layoff policies.

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ED Releases Regulations to Enact Supplement-Not-Supplant Title I Provision

DOEThe U.S. Department of Education released proposed regulations to enact the requirement in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as recently revised by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), stipulating that federal funds must supplement, and may not supplant, state and local funds. The proposal will help ensure that federal funds are complementary and do not replace state and local funds in low-income schools, aligning with the longstanding commitment under Title I that the nation's highest need students receive the additional financial support necessary to help them succeed. The proposed regulation would mean up to $2 billion in additiona (Read more...)

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The National Center for Education Statistics Releases Status and Trends Report


Institute of Education SciencesThe Institute of Education Sciences – National Center for Education Statistics recently released Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2016, a report detailing the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race and ethnicity. The report reveals that 13%, or about 6.4 million children and youth ages 3 to 21 were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2012-2013. The percentage of students served under IDEA was highest for American Indian/Alaska Native students (16%), followed by Black students (15%), White students, and students of two or more races (13%), Hispanic students (12%), Pacific Islander studen (Read more...)

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ETS Releases Report on Opt-Out Phenomenon

Educational Testing ServiceThe Educational Testing Service recently published, Opt Out: An Examination of Issues, an analysis of the causes, consequences, and solutions of the movement to refuse standardized test-taking. According to the report, minorities and students from underrepresented groups including those with disabilities experience the greatest loss with opting out since it has the potential to distort state test results, and complicating the identification of schools and districts that are failing to educate traditionally underserved groups. The report offers suggestions on how the assessment community might respond to the concerns the movement’s supporters have raised.

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Ed and Labor Publish Final Rules on WIOA

DOEDept of Labor
U.S. Departments of Education and Labor recently released a joint publication of the final rules to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in the Federal Register. WIOA is designed to enhance the collaboration between employment, education and training programs to increase the accessibility of high-quality jobs to young Americans including those individuals with disabilities to improve the nation’s public workforce system. The joint final rules offer guidance to state and local workforce development systems that increase the skill and credential attainment, employment, retention, and earnings of participants.

Access the full document here.

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OSEP Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Supporting Behavior

OSEPThe U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) recently released a Dear Colleague Letter to offer guidance for schools and agencies on positive behavioral interventions and supports for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). The guidance highlights ways in which schools and agencies can provide children with opportunities for meaningful access to their education while limiting the negative impact of inappropriate behavioral intervention.

The guidance also recommends two documents for teachers and agencies that provide additional approaches and tactics of effective response to problem behaviors:

Supporting and Responding (Read more...)

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Weekly Question!

We are running a Series on Procedural Safeguards. Which of the procedural safeguards under IDEA are most effective in protecting the educational rights of children with disabilities? #SpEdProcedures
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