Week in Review - February 27, 2009

Week in Review

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 NASETto 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.

NASETNews Team

New This Week on NASET

Q & A Corner Questions and Answers On Highly Qualified Teachers Serving Children with Disabilities


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) requires that all public elementary and secondary special education teachers be "highly qualified" as special education teachers. The definition of "highly qualified special education teachers" in the IDEA [20 U.S.C. 1401(10)] is aligned with No Child Left Behind's highly qualified requirements under that statute at section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) [20 U.S.C. 7801(23)] and the implementing regulations at 34 CFR ยง200.56. Section 300.18(g)(1) of the IDEA regulations states that a teacher who is highly qualified under section 602(10) [20 U.S.C. 1401(10)] of IDEA shall be considered highly qualified for purposes of the ESEA. Section 300.18 of the IDEA regulations establishes requirements for special education teachers in general, as well as those teaching core academic and multiple subjects and those not teaching core academic subjects. In addition, it establishes requirements for special education teachers teaching to alternate achievement standards and describes alternative routes to certification. The regulations also clarify what it means to be a "new" special education teacher and that the highly qualified teacher requirements do not apply to teachers hired by private elementary schools and secondary schools. The focus of this NASET Q & A Corner will be to answer questions on the topic of highly qualified teachers serving children with disabilities

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 Special Educator e-Journal

March 2009  

Table of Contents
  • Message from the Executive Directors
  • What's Happening at NASET
  • Update from the U.S. Department Education
  • District/School memberships in NASET
  • Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
  • Calls to Participate
  • Special Education Resources
  • Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Events
  • Get Wired!-The Latest on Websites and Listservs
  • Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work
  • Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
  • Acknowledgements
  • Download a PDF Version of This Issue

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U.S. Education Secretary Announces State-By-State Dollars

The U.S. Department of Education posted on-line state-by-state estimates of new education revenues included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan vowed to release a significant share of the $100 billion in funding in time to avert teacher layoffs. Duncan made the announcement at a Brooklyn charter school where he was joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. "The single best way to stimulate the economy-short-term and long-term-is to keep teachers teaching and keep kids learning," Duncan said after meeting with students and teachers of Explore Charter School. To read more, click here

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Many Believe That The Vaccine-Autism Debate Should End Now

Vaccines do not cause autism. The science proving this point has been quite clear for a number of years. But last week, the scientific evidence was given an important legal booster shot. Judges at the U.S. "vaccine court" ruled on three test cases in which it was claimed that the standard childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella caused autism, and they were unequivocal in their findings. One judge (known by the title special master), George Hastings, said a thorough, dispassionate review of the evidence demonstrated that the vaccine-autism theory was "very wrong." He said parents who adhere to this theory "have been misled by physicians who are guilty ... of gross medical misjudgment." To read more, click here

Formerly Mute Student Finds Voice Thanks To Special Friend

The third annual Circle of Friends Show at North High School is this weekend. It will feature hundreds of Sedgwick County students from the Circle of Friends Program, which matches special education students with regular education students in an organized effort to bring both groups together - and it works. "As Danielle grew up she never talked to anyone in the school system who was an authority as a teacher," said Connie Almond, a special education teacher in El Dorado. They diagnosed ninth grade student Danielle Gregg as a selective mute. She spoke at home and sometimes to the few friends she had, but at school most never heard her voice. "I was kind of scared, I never talked to a teacher before," Danielle said. In middle school, however, something changed. To read more, click here

Missouri State Senator Will Try To Ban 'Time-Out' Rooms

The story of two children in the Francis Howell School District has erupted into a regional debate on whether schools should use "timeout rooms" to quell student tantrums. State Sen. Scott Rupp, R-2nd District, on Friday said he would file a bill to ban the rooms. "I feel that if they serve a needed purpose, that it is the job of the (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) to convince the legislators why they should (be) kept," Rupp, of Wentzville, said in a written comment. Cynthia Quetsch, legal counsel for the Missouri Division of Special Education, said the state does not regulate timeout rooms. The state leaves these decisions to local school districts, she said. To read more, click here

iPods Help Special Education Students Excel

Eleven-year-old Samantha Jones stomped her feet and waved her arms. She wasn't at a sporting event. She was in Jon Smith's classroom at Gibbs Elementary School dying to answer a question testing her reading comprehension. Seem like a strange response from a fifth-grader? Well, Smith has discovered a secret weapon, of sorts, to motivate students: The iPod. He began using the iPod, a portable media player designed by Apple, in his special-education classes at the beginning of the school year. He already has seen big results. Assessment scores show the number of words students can read per minute has increased by up to 59 percent, while one student increased word recognition by 100 percent. To read more, click here

D.C. Judge Issues Stricter Rules For Special Education Lawyers

D.C.'s chief judge has issued strict new rules governing the conduct of lawyers who handle cases involving special-needs kids in the city's schools. Under Chief Judge Lee Satterfield's regulations, lawyers will have to complete at least 16 hours of specialized training, prove that they're in good standing with the D.C. Bar, submit to continuing education seminars and follow a rigid code of conduct on topics ranging from case management to ensuring that the children's parents, not the lawyers, make decisions affecting a child's education. The rules are the first of their kind in the District governing special-education lawyers, who have turned what in other jurisdictions is a quiet practice area into a multimillion-dollar industry in the nation's capital. For decades, D.C. school officials have regularly missed federal deadlines on testing and treating kids with disabilities. That has allowed lawyers to bill the city for tens of millions of dollars in litigation fees. To read more, click here

NASET Offering Members Two Million Dollar Educator's Liability Insurance

Every day, special educators are faced with the stresses and potential liability issues involved in dealing with children with special needs. As a result you may be vulnerable to lawsuits, which have been on the rise over the last few years, from parents, or students themselves. In the past decade, the number of suits filed against educators and administrators has risen dramatically, causing the cost of insurance to increase as well. While some special educators may feel that they do not need this type of coverage and they are protected by their district, they should think twice. Even if you are 100% innocent of the charges or accusations, legal costs alone could run into the thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. In special education today, parents - and students - are more aware of their rights, and the laws that govern special education and hold teachers/educators to high standards. Don't try to convince yourself that the expense of your professional and public liability protection is unnecessary or unjustified. Experience shows that the cost of such coverage is by far lower than the risk a teacher takes by not having such protection. Why take a chance for less than $10.00 a month? To learn more about educator liability insurance available through NASET, click here

Tri-City Mom Seeks Protection For Jailed People With Disabilities

Beki Hissam wants you to close your eyes and imagine being someone with autism, someone who doesn't process sensory input the same as others and who gets overwhelmed by too much light or noise or touch. Then imagine being that person after being arrested for acting out -- scared in the booking room at the Benton County jail with fluorescent lights glaring, cell doors clanging, radios squawking, phones ringing, TV blaring, an angry drunk shouting profanity. "Please pause for a moment and imagine the demand on officers and the stress on a person who is, for instance, autistic," Hissam told the House Human Services Committee in Olympia on Monday. "In this area are drunk drivers, gang members, addicts withdrawing, suicidal individuals and an array of hostile people being booked in and out of jail. Now imagine an officer trying to care for 'Katie' in this environment. Katie is an adult-size 9-year-old girl. She's really 31, yet she's 9 in how she interacts with the world." To read more, click here

Elimination of "Gifted" Label Unleashes Storm Of Protest

MCPS's decision to eliminate the "Gifted and Talented" label has sparked a controversy.  While school officials are trying to make accelerated classes more accessible, parents worry that the change will affect their children's education.  The resulting debate has caused uproar throughout the county. Opponents of the label point to the higher percentage of GT students in affluent areas.  The Washington Post reports that nearly 70% of students at Bannockburn Elementary School in Bethesda are labeled gifted, while only 13% of Watkins Mill ES students are. White and Asian-American students are also twice as likely as blacks and Hispanics to be identified as gifted.  Those who want to scrap the label seek to avoid separating students based on a formula for giftedness, and cite the adverse effects of labels. To read more, click here

Duncan Hails Passage Of President's Stimulus Package, Cites Historic Opportunity To Advamce Education Reform

Education Secretary Arne Duncan today called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) a "historic opportunity to create jobs and advance education reform." He credited the "leadership of the President and the Congress in laying groundwork for a generation of education reform and economic opportunity." Duncan emphasized the urgency of distributing the funds to states on an aggressive timetable in order to avert layoffs. Citing a University of Washington study showing almost 600,000 education jobs at risk of state budget cuts, Duncan said that his office will publish timelines and initial guidance within a week so that states and districts can plan accordingly. The ARRA provides more than $100 billion in education funding and college grants and tuition tax credits, as well as billions more for school modernization. To read more, click here


Parents Speak Out About Special Education Change

Cross-categorical special education students from Teutopolis won't be going to Effingham this fall after the Unit 50 Board of Education voted 6-1 to remove them from Effingham schools at the end of this school year. Superintendent Dan Niemerg said the change was driven by new regulations that would force Unit 40 to hire another teacher if the Teutopolis students stayed in Effingham. As a result of Monday's vote, Unit 50 students in elementary school will stay in Teutopolis. High school special ed students will either stay in Teutopolis or attend school in Dieterich, where a cross-categorical teacher is already in place. To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

A leader brings people where they want to go, but a great leader brings people where they ought to go but may not be want to go.

                                                                               Author Unknown
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