Week in Review - January 23, 2009

Week in Review

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

Dear NASET Members,
Welcome to NASET'sWEEK 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.

NASET News Team

New This Week on NASET: ADHD Series & Behavior Management Series


Part #3

Legal Requirements for Identification of Students with ADHD

Two important federal mandates protect the rights of eligible children with ADHD the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). The regulations implementing these laws are 34 CFR sections 300 and 104, respectively, which require school districts to provide a free appropriate public education to students who meet their eligibility criteria. Although a child with ADHD may not be eligible for services under IDEA, he or she may meet the requirements of Section 504. The focus of this issue of the ADHD series is to address the legal issues and requirements involved in working with students with ADHD.
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Issue # 12

Behaviors discussed in this issue:
  • Why Children Tune Out
  • Why Children Exhibit Twitches and Tics
  • Why Some Children are Always Victimized by Other Children
  • Why Some Children Tattle on Other Children
  • Why Children Make up Stories

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Outgoing Secretary Of Education Margaret Spellings Discusses Her Years In D.C.

Steven Hicks, a kindergarten teacher at the Accelerated School in South Los Angeles, is spending a year in Washington at the Department of Education. He interviewed outgoing Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who was relaxed and quite talkative about her tenure as head of the department. And she had some advice for her successor, Arne Duncan, too. Steven Hicks: First, during your time here what were some of your personal triumphs and what were some of the challenges?  Margaret Spellings:  Well, I'll start with the challenges. I really think, and I know you've probably seen this yourself, I really worry about the expectations our country does or does not have for kids, especially disadvantaged kids. There's this idea that with No Child Left Behind, it's somehow impossible to get kids to read.  What, are they crazy?  And frankly I feel sad, and you see it in the newspaper when you hear teachers and educators -- administrators, plenty of them -- who basically say, "We can't do that." To read more,click here

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NYC To Update Special Education Data

New York City's Education Department has signed a contract with a consulting company to update its method of tracking information about 190,000 special education students. The five-year $55 million contract with the Maximus company of Virginia will overhaul an antiquated computer system and paper files that advocates say often result in children being denied services they need and that are required by law. The Advocates for Children had sued the school system on behalf of students with disabilities. Its executive director, Kim Sweet, says the DOE's record-keeping is not accurate and up to date. To read more click here

British Politician One Of Many Who Say Dyslexia Is A Myth

British Member of Parliament (MP) Graham Stringer says dyslexia is not a real learning disability but an invented excuse for poor teaching. His remarks incited angry responses, but he's not alone. Backbencher Graham Stringer, MP (Member of Parliament) for Blackley, said this week in an online opinion column that the learning disability dyslexia, which causes problems with reading and writing, should be consigned to the "dustbin of history," reports the BBC. "The education establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented a brain disorder called dyslexia," said the MP. If dyslexia really existed, he said, then countries as diverse as South Korea and Nicaragua would not have been able to achieve their nearly 100 percent literacy rates. Instead of current teaching methods, he said that he believes children should be taught how to read and write using a system called synthetic phonics. To read more, click here

The Federal Bailout Plan For Schools

Facing big deficits and the prospect of painful cuts, school officials have been asking for their own federal bailout, and now Uncle Sam could be responding. The proposed federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill includes an estimated $141 billion for education. "It's the 'education community's' dream come true," blogs Mike Petrilli, vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington. But that's not necessarily a good thing: Petrilli and other education pundits are skeptical that the bailout of schools will be good for actual education reform. Federal lawmakers stress that the proposed stimulus will have "unprecedented accountability measures built in." It's not clear, however, whether Arne Duncan-the reform-minded leader of Chicago schools who is President-elect Barack Obama's choice to lead the Department of Education-is playing a role in attaching any conditions to this proposed pot of education money. Below is the breakdown of how your tax dollars could be spent on education. Federal legislators call this part of the stimulus "Education for the 21st Century." To read more, click here

Supreme Court To Weigh IDEA, Strip Search Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to add two more education cases to its docket for this term-one involving special education, and the other stemming from a lawsuit over the strip-search of a middle school student by school officials looking for over-the-counter and prescription drugs. In the special education case, the justices will return to an issue they deadlocked over in their last term: whether parents in a special education dispute with a school district may be reimbursed for "unilaterally" placing their child in a private school when that child has never received special education services from the district. With Justice Anthony M. Kennedy recusing himself for undisclosed reasons, the other justices tied 4-4 in a case in 2007 over whether the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act permitted a New York City father to win repayment of private school tuition for a child with disabilities who had never enrolled in the city's school system. To read more, click here

Saliva Test Could Indicate Autism

A saliva test might one day help doctors detect some forms of autism, potentially leading to early treatments for children with the developmental disorder, Italian researchers say. Scientists will need to confirm the results of the study released this month, which looked at just 27 people with autism. Follow-up research has failed to confirm the findings of similar small studies, one specialist said. Still, "there is much hope for the future in autism research, and this study offers a possible new approach," said the specialist, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist and director of medical research at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. To read more, click here

National Group And Mom Seek To End Restraint Of Special Education Students

A Palm Beach County mother and special education advocate went to Washington D.C. this week to continue her fight to ban the use of restraint and seclusion against special education students. The National Disability Rights Network invited Phyllis Musumeci, founder of Florida Families Against Restraint and Seclusion and the national Families Against Restraint and Seclusion, to the release of a new report showing widespread use, and some say abuse, of restraint and seclusion in the nation's public schools. The report documents a number of cases when restraint led to the death or serious injury of a child. The report was timed with Barack Obama's inauguration. The group is hoping the new administration will pursue a ban on seclusion, placing a child alone in a room or other place, and prone restraint, when a child is held face down. Florida law allows school officials to restrain special education students who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. 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, click here 

Teachers: More Resources Needed For Gifted And Talented Students

Giving a lecture is only half of Linda Mosher's work in her East Elementary School fourth-grade classroom. After she's given a lesson, she said, she gives students time in class to practice the skills she's taught them. She takes this time to aid students who have trouble completing their work. "It's built in," she said. "This is my help time." But, Mosher doesn't have only struggling students to think about. She also has to make accommodations for students who are learning at a faster rate than their peers. The Moffat County School District receives funding for advanced and struggling learners. The former, however, have a smaller population and less dollars earmarked for programs to help them. State and federal funding for special education programs add up to several hundred thousand dollars, Assistant Superintendent Christine Villard said. To read more, click here


Educators To Obama: No Child Left Behind Needs Fixing

As the country's 44th president, most eyes will be on what Barack Obama does to help repair the economy, but there are countless other issues that will fall to his shoulders - including education. Local school officials agree there should be some tweaking to the federal education law No Child Left Behind. Some would like to see more of an overhaul than just some minor changes. While many other school officials seem to agree with the spirit of NCLB - making sure that all children are given a chance to learn - most are upset with both the law's extensiveness and its so-called punitive nature. "We're all interested in (Obama's) new secretary of education," said Ken Ramey, superintendent for the Siloam Springs School District. "What will the focus be on (NCLB)? Will it be changed or amended?" To read more,click here

Africa: Stronger Commitments Toward Inclusive Education Must Be Made

Rieser developed polio when he was only nine months old, yet despite this debilitation was given no support at the mainstream school he went on to attend. The school's expectation that he should fit in without any extra provisions being made included a requirement that he use the stairs - causing considerable pain - as the lift was off limits and reserved for teachers. In short, there were no adjustments for his needs as a disabled child. His experiences prompted him after many years as a teacher to help disabled children have more positive educations through an inclusive approach in the mainstream schools they attend. Today, Mr Rieser is one of around 650 million disabled people in the world, and of these 40 per cent are children, many of whom have no access to education.  To read more, click here

Food for Thought........

When life seems just a dreary grind; and things seem fated to annoy; Say something nice to someone else and watch the world light up with joy.

                         Author Unknown

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