Education Week - September 18, 2013 - (Page 5)

EDUCATION WEEK n SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 n REPORT ROUNDUP No Protections for Students Improperly Placed in Special Ed. Children mistakenly identified by their schools as having disabilities may not bring claims under the main federal special education law, despite a recognition by Congress of the problem of overrepresentation of minority students in special education, a federal appeals court has ruled. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in Philadelphia, said that a Pennsylvania family made “emotionally compelling” arguments about the problem of misidentification of minority children for special education. But there is no indication that the definition of “child with a disability” in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act “includes children who are mistakenly identified as disabled, but who are, in fact, not disabled,” the court panel said in a unanimous opinion. The ruling came in a case brought by an African-American student and her mother in the Lower Merion, Pa., school district. The student, identified as S.H., and her mother had numerous interactions with school officials over the child’s school progress. By 5th grade, S.H. was placed in special education for a perceived learning disability. Her mother went along with an individualized education program despite her daughter’s objections to receiving services. An independent evaluation administered when S.H. was in 10th grade concluded that the student’s designation as learning disabled was, and always had been, erroneous. S.H. was not in special education for her last two years of high school. The family sued the school district seeking compensation under the IDEA, as well as claims of intentional discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In its Sept. 5 decision in S.H. v. Lower Merion School District, the 3rd Circuit court panel affirmed, holding that the IDEA allowed claims to be brought only on behalf of students with disabilities. —MARK WALSH CURRICULUM “Gallup Poll Social Series: Work and Education” Ask a child to name a favorite class, and odds are you’ll hear two letters: P.E. Ask an adult which subject has been most valuable in life, and the most popular answer turns out to be math. That’s according to new survey results by the Gallup organization. About one-third of adults (34 percent) picked math. The next in line was English, at 21 percent, followed by science at 12 percent. Science is getting more popular, though. In a similar 2002 survey, just 4 percent of adults picked that subject. The results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 2,059 U.S. adults. —ERIK A. ROBELEN CHARTER SCHOOLS “Is There Empirical Evidence That Charter Schools ‘Push Out’ Low-Performing Students?” There is no statistical evidence that charter schools are “pushing out” low-performing students at a rate higher than for regular public schools, according to a study published this month in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. The study, by Ron W. Zimmer, any more applications, however. It had initially revoked two of the licenses, but reversed course after voting to keep a third district’s license intact. The panel had suspended the licenses last month after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion saying the law wasn’t for public schools. State law prohibits guns on campus, except for licensed security guards. —ASSOCIATED PRESS GED Test Prep, Support To Be Offered Online To help individuals prepare for the new General Educational Development Test, the GED Testing Service will offer individualized online support starting in late November. The credential test, which kicks in in January, will be more rigorous and offered exclusively on computer. The new MyGED Web portal allows test-takers to register online, find nearby testing locations, learn about local adult education programs, and take practice tests. Students will get immediate feedback on how they do on the practice tests and suggestions for where to focus their studying to improve. Under the new model, students will be able to take the five sections of the GED test individually by subject (mathematics, social studies, science, and language arts) over time. They will also receive the results immediately online. —CARALEE J. ADAMS Minneapolis to Settle Suit by Teen Mothers The Minneapolis school board has approved a $400,000 settlement in a lawsuit on behalf of more than 600 young mothers who were taught by unlicensed teachers. Broadway High School serves girls who dropped out of school and then returned as young mothers. A district investigation in 2011 found that 13 people taught students at Broadway without proper teaching licenses or waivers that would have let them teach temporarily. Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson said the settlement will help the 657 affected students who attended Broadway from the 2008-09 through 2010-11 school years achieve their educational goals. —AP CORRECTION The timeline accompanying a story about accrediting teacher education programs in the Sept. 11, 2013, issue of Education Week gave an incorrect name for the accrediting group, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. No Bounce-Back Seen in States’ K-12 Spending “Most States Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession” State education budgets still haven’t recovered sufficiently from the Great Recession in 2007, concludes a 48-state report released last week by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. According to the Washington-based research group, at least 34 states are financing public schools at lower levels this school year than they did for the 2007-8 school year, on a per-student basis and adjusted for inflation. And 13 states have cut per-student spending by more than 10 percent over that time—two of them, Alabama and Oklahoma, by more than 20 percent since the financial crisis. Despite rising tax revenues across most of the country, 15 states scaled back per-student spending on K-12 from last school year to this one. At the local level, the report finds, districts cut about 324,000 jobs during the recession and its aftermath. One reason is that while the fiscal situation overall is improving, the picture is not totally sunny. Local property-tax revenues declined 2.1 percent from March 2012 to this past March compared with the previous 12 months. Even in states where education spending is on the rebound, the center argues that those increases often don’t make up for the frantic reductions states made during the recession’s most dire moments. New Mexico lawmakers approved a $72 per-student funding increase this year, the authors note by way of example, but during the previous five years combined, they eliminated $946 in per-student money. “At a time when states and the nation are trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, this decline in state educational investment is cause for concern,” the report says. –ANDREW UJIFUSA > > For links to these reports, go to an associate professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University, and Cassandra M. Guarino, an Indiana University associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies, examined six years of data from an anonymous large urban district with a significant number of charters. The researchers conclude that although low-performing stu- TEENAGERS “Longitudinal Links Between Mothers’ and Fathers’ Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents’ Long-Term Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms” Even when a family has an otherwise warm relationship, parents who yell at their children likely just make bad behavior worse, according to a University of Pittsburgh study set to be published next year in the journal Child Development. The study looks at 967 teen- agers and their parents from 10 public Pennsylvania middle schools. Over two years, participants finished surveys about mental health, child-raising tactics, and relationship quality. The researchers said schools can help to “target conduct problems in youth and also to reach parents STUDENT DISCIPLINE “Arresting Development: Student Arrests in Connecticut” The number of students arrested in school in Connecticut has declined in recent years, but many of those arrests were avoidable, according to a report from Connecticut Voices for Children, an advocacy group. The number of students ar- rested in school declined from 3,396 to 3,183 from 2007 to 2010, but many were arrested for such behaviors as insubordination that might not normally be considered criminal, the report says. It also notes that 59 percent of schools had higher arrest rates for black students than for white students and makes recommendations for improvement. —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI PARENTS AND SCHOOLS “Parent and Family Involvement in Education” A national survey finds that most parents are attending their schools’ parent-teacher conferences, receiving school notes and emails, and helping their children with homework. But the same federally funded National Center for Education Statistics survey also found that a smaller percentage of parents volunteer at their schools, and that low-income parents and those who don’t speak English are less likely to receive specific emails or notes from school about their children. The survey is based on responses of more than 17,000 parents of K-12 students. —KARLA SCOON REID For links to these reports, go to dents do leave charter schools at a slightly higher rate than higherperforming ones, such patterns are consistent with student-exit rates in regular public schools nearby. —KATIE ASH “The Influence of Childhood Aerobic Fitness on Learning and Memory” Higher levels of aerobic fitness can bolster a child’s ability to learn and remember information, according to a study published last week in the online journal PLOS ONE. Forty-eight 9- and 10-year-olds were asked to learn the names of regions on two separate maps. Participants used two different study methods: either strictly studying the map or interlacing studying with testing on the regions and locations. The researchers discovered that, overall, the interspersed-studyingand-testing method helped children of all fitness levels retain information better than studying only; both groups performed about as well that way. But the more-fit children outperformed the less fit in the study-only condition. —BRYAN TOPOREK 5 through the messages they send home with their children,” the study concludes. —ROSS BRENNEMAN LEARNING AND FITNESS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 18, 2013

Education Week - September 18, 2013
Calif. Testing Move Hits Federal Nerve
Teacher-Review Tool: Classroom Portfolios
TFA Educators Found to Boost Math Learning
Assessment Group Sets Accommodations Policy
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Spoken-Word Poets Bring Words to Life for Students
Partnership in Bronx Aims to Build Skills On Behalf of Parents
National-Board Certification to Be Cheaper, Smoother
Iowa District Reimagines the Five-Day School Week
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Consumer Demand for Digital Ed. Games Seen Rising
Blogs of the Week
Ed. Dept., Arizona in Clash Over Waiver
Congress Gears Up for Higher Ed. Law Renewal
Policy Brief
Louisiana Vouchers, Desegregation Case Prove Volatile Mix
House Panelists Question Relevancy of Education Dept. Research
Why the New Teacher Ed. Standards Matter
Unfairly Fired Teachers Deserve Court Protection
A Sandy Hook Parent’s Letter to Teachers
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Encouraging Courage

Education Week - September 18, 2013