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Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Madison inclusion policy draws students with disabilities

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Families from all over the country are moving to Madison, Wisconsin, to get an inclusive education for their students with disabilities, Michael Winerip writes in the New York Times. An estimated 17.5 percent of students in Madison are classified as having disabilities, compared with about 12 percent nationwide.

The vast majority of  Madison’s students with disabilities are fully included in classes alongside their peers; fewer than five percent are educated separately, while the rest have a mix of general and special education classes.

“This is not a board that separates our children; it’s a board that believes every child should be educated,” said Marjorie Passman, a member of the school board.

Maryland schools open sports to kids with disabilities

Friday, March 26th, 2010

From the Baltimore Sun:

The organization governing school sports in Maryland has changed its rules to allow students with disabilities to participate alongside their peers in some cases.

The decision, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, follows a successful federal lawsuit by Paralympic athlete Tatyana McFadden, who four years ago won the right to compete in mainstream school track meets. The state’s general assembly then passed a law requiring Maryland schools to design programs to accommodate athletes with disabilities.

Under new language adopted by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) this week, students with disabilities may participate in mainstream sports programs if they meet eligibility requirements, do not present a risk to themselves or others, and do not change the nature of the game or event.

The MPSSAA also called on school systems to establish sports programs for students with disabilities who do not qualify to participate in mainstream athletic programs.

Feds: Many states don’t regulate seclusion, restraint in schools

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

From AP/Los Angeles Times:

A report from the U.S. Department of Education this weeks shows that 19 states do not in any way regulate their schools’ use of seclusion and restraints on misbehaving students. And even though 31 states do have some type of policy, the report found, many are weak and do not clearly spell out proper disciplinary procedures for teachers to follow.

Education Seretary Arne Duncan called for the assessment after congressional investigators disclosed evidence of widespread restraint and seclusion of students by school staff around the country, most of it involving students with disabilities. At least 20 deaths and many injuries were attributed to the practices.

For the first time, federal lawmakers are considering legislation that would prohibit restraint and seclusion in most circumstances and require training for educators on effective behavior management. The bill passed the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month.

“Schools are the Wild West – anything goes,” said Leslie Lipson with the Georgia Advocacy Office, which is pushing for legislation that would ban both restraint and seclusion in Georgia. “We have seen instances of restraint and seclusion where teachers and other officials have used Velcro, duct tape, hog tying – kids locked in storage closets. All sorts of perversions.”

Related posts here.

Probe: LA charter schools not accessible to kids with disabilities

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

An excerpt from the Los Angeles Daily News:

None of the 29 Los Angeles Unified charter schools examined in a study released Monday met state and federal standards aimed at making campuses accessible to disabled students, and some even lacked wheelchair-friendly bathrooms and walkways.

The study by a federally appointed independent monitor also revealed that the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, which determines whether schools are compliant with these laws, is not making proper inspections.

An independent monitor was appointed in 2003 to oversee a federal consent decree imposed on the school district to improve special education services. An earlier report by the monitor also blasted LAUSD charter schools for enrolling fewer disabled students overall and fewer with severe disabilities than traditional schools.

“This is part of a larger issue … and that is whether charter schools, which are a growing proportion of schools in LAUSD, welcome and are accessible to students with disabilities,” said Independent Monitor Fred Weintraub.

“Our studies have shown that is not currently the case and we’re looking to the district to improve the situation.”

The independent monitor’s complete report can be viewed at www.oimla.com.

See also:

Union-run charter enrolls lower percentage of students with disabilities — New York Daily News

Earlier posts here.

More Catholic schools serving students with disabilities

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

From the Washington Post:

Federal law does not require Catholic schools to educate students with disabilities, and financial constraints have historically made it difficult for the schools to do so.  Church officials now say that is starting to change, with recent figures showing that 42 percent of Catholic schools offer some services for kids with disabilities.

“Children with disabilities have a right to a faith-based education,” said a school superintendent from a Virginia diocese. “We want to provide that as best we can.”

Study links absences, low achievement in students with disabilities

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Chicago study has found that high absence rates among students with disabilities are the largest factor explaining the difference in their academic performance when compared with nondisabled peers.

The report, by the Consortium on Chicago School Research, found that students with disabilities missed on average 5 to 11 days more days per semester than students who had not been diagnosed with a disability. It was not clear whether the drop in attendance caused poor performance, or whether low performance caused frustration that prompted students to miss school.

The Chicago Public Schools reports that 70 percent of ninth grade students without identified disabilities go on to graduate. Only 50 percent of students with disabilities graduate; of students diagnosed with emotional disturbances, only 25 percent graduate.

Schools see more students with chronic health needs

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Congress considers adding school nurses

From the [Newark] Star-Ledger:

As more kids with more complicated health issues are attending mainstream public schools, school nurses are being called upon to provide care they once administered only in hospitals. A bill pending in Congress would offer grants to states to help pay for more school nurses.

Federal statistics say the number of students with chronic or acute health problems like leukemia, diabetes and asthma has doubled in recent years. “They’re actually managing more children with special needs, and we’re able to keep them in the school setting as a result of the school nurses,” said a doctor who serves 15 school districts in central New Jersey. “The kids have more complex medical issues. It’s not uncommon for kids to have feeding tubes, tracheostomies.”

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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