Week in Review - June 4, 2010

Week in Review - June 4, 2010

WEEK in REVIEW

New NASET Publications and Articles of Interest in Special Education That Were Reported This Week

Dear NASET Members 

Welcome to NASET's WEEK in REVIEW.  Here, we provide you with the latest publications from NASET to read and download, as well as some of the most interesting issues that have happened this week in the field of special education.  We hope you enjoy this publication.  Feel free to send us articles for this publication or let us know your thoughts about the WEEK in REVIEW at news@naset.org. Have a great weekend.
 
Sincerely,

NASET News Team

 
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New This Week on NASET

NASET Special Educator e-Journal 

June 2010 

In this issue:
  • Update from the U.S. Department Education
  • Calls to Participate
  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Latest Job Opportunites Posted on NASET
  • Special Education Resources
  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
  • Acknowledgements
  • Download a PDF Version of This Issue
To read or download this issue - Click here

Quick Links To NASET

See What Condition "The Condition of Education 2010" Is In

The National Center for Education Statistics has released The Condition of Education 2010, a Congressionally mandated report to the nation on education in America. It covers all aspects of education, with 49 indicators that include findings on enrollment trends, demographics, and outcomes. The report, released May 27,  projects that public school enrollment will rise from 49 million in 2008 to 52 million by 2019, with the largest increase expected in the South.  Over the past decade, more students attended both charter schools and high-poverty schools (those in which more than 75%of the students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch). One in six U.S. students attends a high-poverty school; and the number of charter school students has tripled since 1999. To read more, click here

President Obama Strips All Gifted and Talented and Advanced Placement Education Funding. What Next?

First, The Obama Administration totally striped the only funding for gifted and talented education that primarily funded underprivileged but gifted children's education. This was the 37 year old $7.5 million Javits Grant for Gifted and Talented Students. Next, Obama eliminated the $45.8 million Advanced Placement grant funds to states. This was not to fund the high ability gifted, but the above average student. Next he scraped the $40 million Arts in Education fund followed by the $42 million Byrd Honors Scholarships. That's a total of $93.3 million stripped from the education programs of all above average students. With what is the Obama Administration going to replace this $93.3 million "savings". A $4 billion Race to the Top (RttT) program. Yes, that's billion with a B. In other words it would take about 43 years of "savings" to pay for one year of Race to the Top. To read more, click here

Students Help Train Dogs, Learn Lessons At Unique School

A group of students with learning disabilities who attend Horizon Academy in Roeland Park are learning to give back to others who are also in need of help. Raccardo Rossi has spent the last four years at Horizon Academy. He is one of two seniors who graduated on Friday from the school. "It's flown by, in the end especially," Rossi said. "Many positives about this school, I can tell you." The one lesson Rossi said he won't forget wasn't something he learned in the classroom, but in the hall. For Rossi and fellow senior Tom Manley, they've spent the entire year training service dogs. After the bell rings, students at Horizon help the labradors learn how to help others. "They help other people who use wheelchairs," Rossi said. "They can do a wide variety of commands." To read more, click here

NASET Member Benefit - Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual 

Liberty Mutual Savings

As a member of NASET you qualify for a special group discount* on your auto, home, and renter's insurance through Group Savings PlusĀ® from Liberty Mutual. This unique program allows you to purchase high-quality auto, home and renters insurance at low group rates.
 
See for yourself how much money you could save with Liberty Mutual compared to your current insurance provider. For a free, no-obligation quote, call 800-524-9400 or visit www.libertymutual.com/naset, or visit your local sales office.
 
Group discounts, other discounts, and credits are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state.  Certain discounts apply to specific coverage only.  To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify.  Coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA.

Did You Know That.....

Approximately 75% of students with learning disabilities experience challenges related to social adjustment
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Those With Allergic Asthma Face Double Trouble During Flu Season, Findings Suggest

New research from UT Southwestern Medical Center suggests that allergic reactions to pet dander, dust mites and mold may prevent people with allergic asthma from generating a healthy immune response to respiratory viruses such as influenza." Our findings imply that the better your asthma is controlled, the more likely you are to have an appropriate response to a virus," said Dr. Michelle Gill, assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study appearing online and in the June edition of the Journal of Immunology. "When individuals with asthma come in contact with an allergic trigger and a respiratory virus, the allergen may actually interfere with the immune response to the virus. This interruption in the antiviral response may contribute to exacerbations of asthma that are commonly associated with respiratory viral infections." To read more, click here

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N.J. Education Commissioner Prefers 'Educational Effectiveness' Over Seniority When Cutting Teacher Jobs

Bret Schundler is like no education commissioner the state has ever had. He's not an educator, but a businessman and a politician. He is more of an advocate for private schools than for public schools. He is a true believer in parental choice, something he deems "a human right." And, in the midst of an ugly fight between his governor and the state's largest teachers union, his spokesman refers to New Jersey schools as "wretched" - just when they led the nation in a countrywide test of educational achievement. Okay, so he repudiated the word "wretched" when legislators and educators protested - but what does he really think of the public schools he is constitutionally sworn to support? That's not an easy question to answer, even after sitting with Schundler for three hours and talking about the schools. To read more, click here

Disability Challenges Students, Colleges

Alex March is not stupid. In fact, he's smart and articulate - yet it has taken him nearly 16 years to earn an associate's degree at San Antonio College. March says it's because he suffers from a severe case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. He loses track of time and assignments, often earning incompletes because he's forgotten one lingering paper or test. "It's almost like I revert to a 5-year-old chasing a butterfly on the soccer field and the coach wants to kick my butt," March said. By law, SAC is required to accommodate his disability, and the school has provided him with classroom note takers, a quiet place to take exams and extra time to finish. Catering to ADD/ADHD students is a fairly recent development for colleges and universities, and it can be a prickly topic. The public is often skeptical of the disorder because the definition is vague and the diagnoses skewed toward white males. To read more, click here

Modified Measles Virus Shows Potential for Treating Childhood Brain Tumors

The use of modified measles virus may represent a new treatment for a childhood brain tumor known as medulloblastoma, according to a new study appearing in Neuro-Oncology. Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant central nervous system tumor of childhood, accounting for about 20 percent of pediatric brain tumors. These tumors are located in the cerebellum, the area of the brain that controls balance and other complex motor functions. Refinements in treatment have increased the 5-year survival to close to 70 percent, but treatment still involves invasive surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. "There is still an urgent need to investigate alternative therapeutic approaches that are more effective and have less toxic side effects," said study lead author Corey Raffel, MD, PhD, chief of Neurosurgery at Nationwide Children's Hospital and a faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. mTo read more, click here

Australia: Seeking a New Deal on Dyslexia

A nation as self-confident as Australia doesn't expect to receive lessons in advanced education practices from such humble places as Irvinestown, a small village two hours west of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Yet that's what Nola Firth found this year when she visited the 250 students at the village's St Paul's Primary School, where sophisticated and effective strategies were being used to deal with dyslexia. St Paul's is one of many schools in the UK that have been awarded dyslexia friendly status by the British Dyslexia Association. Dr Firth, a research fellow at the Royal Children's Hospital's Centre for Adolescent Health and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, travelled to the UK, the US and Canada to visit dyslexia-friendly schools as part of a Churchill fellowship. She found that in these schools students spoke freely and without stigma about having the learning difficulty, the hurdles they face and what support they need to help them cope. To read more, click here

TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Guess the answer to this week's trivia question and we'll recognize you in next week's Week in Review.

Congratulations to Dr. Vaughn E. Hales and Linda Tilson, who correctly identified the answer to last week's trivia question:

What is the most frequently occurring viral cause of deafness in newborns?

ANSWER: Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:

What are the four kinds of speech-sound errors? (Hint--the mneumonic device to remember it is "SODA")

If you know the answer, send an email to contactus@naset.org

In Wisconsin, Students with Disabilities at Risk of Being Left Behind

State and local students with disabilities consistently lag behind their counterparts in standardized test scores. It's an achievement gap educators say poses a concern, especially as federal No Child Left Behind legislation mandates all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014. And although that law's reauthorization could change that goal, educators say helping students with disabilities succeed remains paramount. They're hoping to raise the bar for those students across the board, not just when it comes to test time. "I don't know as if we had a real sense, prior to No Child Left Behind, of this - what's our baseline and what are our expectations, and how do we approach this whole testing framework," said Jerry Wieland, executive director of educational services for the Green Bay School District. "So there's been a learning curve around students with disabilities, and their participation on the assessment." To read more, click here

Learning Strategies Are Associated With Distinct Neural Signatures 

The process of learning requires the sophisticated ability to constantly update our expectations of future rewards so we may make accurate predictions about those rewards in the face of a changing environment. Although exactly how the brain orchestrates this process remains unclear, a new study by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) suggests that a combination of two distinct learning strategies guides our behavior. One accepted learning strategy, called model-free learning, relies on trial-and-error comparisons between the reward we expect in a given situation and the reward we actually get. The result of this comparison is the generation of a "reward prediction error," which corresponds to that difference. For example, a reward prediction error might correspond to the difference between the projected monetary return on a financial investment and our real earnings. To read more, click here

Board Certification in Special Education Available to NASET Members

Through an agreement with The American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP), NASET members now have the opportunity to achieve AASEP Board Certification in Special Education - (B.C.S.E.) at a reduced fee.  AASEP Board Certification in Special Education - (B.C.S.E.) is a voluntary choice on the part of the candidate. The candidate for Board Certification wishes to demonstrate a commitment to excellence to employers, peers, administrators, other professionals, and parents. From the standpoint of the Academy, board certification will demonstrate the highest professional competency in the area of special education. Board Certification in Special Education establishes a much needed standard for professionals, across disciplines, who work with exceptional children.   For more information on Board Certification in Special Education, click here

Did You Know That......

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 88% of children who receive speech and language services spend 21% or less of their time outside the general education classroom

Report Finds Long-Term ELLs Languishing in Calif. Schools

After six years in the U.S., secondary-level English-language learners still lack English proficiency, according to a new report. A portrait of long-term English-language learners in 40 California school districts shows that the specific needs of such students are largely being ignored, a statewide coalition of education and civil rights groups contends in a new report. Based on survey data, the study by Californians Together found that 59 percent of English-language learners in secondary schools in the districts had been in U.S. schools for more than six years without reaching a sufficient level of English proficiency to be reclassified as fluent. It also found that few school districts had programs or formal approaches designed especially for the long-term English-language learners. To read more, click here

Children Learn Acceptance During Week of Exercises

A group of athletes with disabilities recently took on some River Ridge Elementary teachers in a game of wheelchair basketball. The exercise was more than just finding out which team could sink the most baskets, it capped off a week-long event at the school to ease pupils' comfort level around those with handicaps. Athletes with Champions Made from Adversity and special needs teachers from River Ridge teamed up to show pupils that the handicapped are quite capable in many ways. "We wanted to show the students that just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn't mean that they're that much different from anybody else," said Heather Hummell, a special education teacher who helped organize "Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Increasing Disability Awareness and Understanding" at River Ridge. "We all have families. We all have dreams." To read more, click here

Gene Change Raises Odds of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

A correlation has been discovered between specific variants of the gene that codes for a key immune system protein, TLR9, and the risk of mother-to-child, or vertical, transmission of HIV. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Translational Medicine studied three hundred children born to HIV-positive mothers, finding that those who had either of two TLR9 gene variants were significantly more likely to acquire the virus. Anita De Rossi from the University of Padova, Italy, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the study using samples taken from children born between 1984 and 1996 from HIV infected mothers in the absence of antiretroviral prophylaxis. She said, "Two changes to the TLR9 gene have recently been linked to progression of HIV-1 disease and viral load in adult patients. We found that children who have two copies of either of these polymorphisms are at significantly higher risk of catching HIV as they are born." To read more, click here

Blame Intermediate School Districts for Special Education Summer School Cuts

Detroit parents are outraged against planned summer school cuts that will deeply affect Special Education students.  It seems that the state mandated, funding cutback to Intermediate School Districts, such as Wayne RESA, is the cause behind the problem.  Ironically, in spite of the money shortage, their website lists numerous job postings for mostly merit oriented, special academy schools throughout the county. For some cryptic, bureaucratic reason, Special Education funds are distributed via ISDs.  Intermediate School Districts are unessential appendages of educational administration that serve only as superficial organs that can be easily excised without affecting the livelihood of the system in general. To read more, click here

A Huge Win for the Kids: Charter Cap Lift Puts N.Y. Back in Race for School Funds

The battle for education reform in New York scored a major victory with passage of legislation that will open charter schools and the promise of higher learning to thousands of children.
 
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stood tall in the end - on the side of the kids rather than in league with teachers unions. He deserves - and gets - high praise for authorizing expansion of an alternative form of schooling he has long resisted. His decision was both good politics and good policy. Charter schools - publicly funded and privately operated - have been a smashing success in New York, delivering achievement to poor and minority students and attracting applications from tens of thousands of parents. Giving charters a go is also key to New York's application for as much as $700 million in federal Race to the Top funding. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan unceremoniously skunked our first pitch for the cash largely because of what was then the Legislature's anti-charter stand. To read more, click here

In New Zealand, Children With Autism Left Behind By Education System

Social stigma, intolerance and ignorance are holding back the development of children on the autism spectrum, Autism New Zealand says. With the Government's Review of Special Education underway, Autism New Zealand CEO Alison Molloy is calling for changes in teacher training and support to help children on the autism spectrum. "Children with autism are being disadvantaged because many schools only see behavioural issues, and do not understand developmental differences, or have the strategies to improve the learning outcomes of these students, says Molloy. "The Government itself has acknowledged that schools may enroll children with special education needs but not deliver the outcomes that are needed. Inclusion is a nice ideal, but certainly not a reality for many families with children who have autism or Aspergers. "An alarming number of parents are withdrawing their children from mainstream learning environments in favour of alternative schools and learning from home," says Molloy. To read more, click here

Did You Know That.....

Relative to other students with disabilities, students with autism have one of the lowest rates of inclusion in general education classes

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World Cup Success for Children with Learning Disabilities

Sixteen teams from across London, made up of children with learning difficulties, took part in a World Cup tournament on Thursday, aimed at encouraging them to play sport on a regular basis.
The tournament, held at the London Marathon Playing Fields, was organised by the South London Special League (SLSL), a local charity that works to give youngsters more opportunities in sport. The teams, made up of 14-year-old boys, were each allocated a country to play as, and took part in short six-a-side games, firstly in a round robin format, followed by the knock-out stages. The eventual winner was France, who beat USA in the final. The team was awarded a replica World Cup trophy and medals as their prize. The event also saw boys and girls from other age groups take part in training sessions and play friendly matches as an introduction to the sport. Sharon Brokenshire, who founded the SLSL, said the event was aimed at increasing awareness of the charity and showing the children there were opportunities to play sport. To read more, click here

Commentary:  Will the Senate Pass the Restraint and Seclusion Bill? Or Instead Make it Easier to Use Aversives, Restraint, and Seclusion?

Two months ago, the House approved its restraint/seclusion bill (H.R. 4247), passing the baton to the Senate to approve S. 2860, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act sponsored by Senator Dodd.  With 27 states providing little or no meaningful protection, the bills are groundbreaking.  They protect all 53 million children in America, whether in public or private school, from harmful restraint/seclusion and also aversives that compromise health and safety. Many states with restraint/seclusion laws have a broad exception that allows the techniques if included in the IEP.  The House bill would forbid this. But opponents of the bills have fought hard in the Senate and the House. Shortly before the House voted, they began lobbying fiercely to protect their rights to use these methods.  Some advocates and parents wanted to exclude private schools that use aversives from the bill.  Often, they included parents who chose to send their children to these schools.  Others wanted to permit restraint/seclusion in IEPs with little limitation, and if not IEPs, then a student plan written by staff, outside of IDEA and its procedural protections, least restrictive environment requirements, and stay-put.  If they cannot have this, they want the bill stopped. To read more, click here

In Massachusetts, Nearly 3,000 High School Seniors to Miss Diploma Over Science Exam: 69% Receive Special Education Services

Nearly 3,000 high school seniors across Massachusetts will not get their diplomas next month because they failed to pass the MCAS science exam, the first rejections under a new state graduation requirement meant to develop a more scientifically skilled workforce. Guidance counselors and other administrators have been delivering the news to hundreds of those students this week who failed the most recent round of testing last month. Hundreds of other seniors who have yet to pass the exam did not take the retest last month for a variety of reasons. Students will have another shot at the science exam next month, but that won't be graded in time for graduation, dashing their commencement plans. Those who fail yet again would have to retake the exam during the next school year, forcing them to delay college. Of those who have not passed the science exam, 69 percent receive special education services and 12 percent are learning to speak English. To read more, click here

Food for Thought.....

One step - choosing a goal and sticking to it - changes everything.                                                                                   Scott Reed

 
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