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Nov. 21, 2015
Issue 42
Students with Disabilities

Forty years after President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-142 on Nov. 29, 1975, opening public education to students with a wide range of physical, emotional and learning disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education this week issued new guidance clarifying that students with disabilities must have an education program that is aligned with grade-level state content standards.

"Research has demonstrated that children with disabilities who struggle in reading and mathematics can successfully learn grade-level content and make significant academic progress when appropriate instruction, services, and supports are provided," the Department said in a so-called Dear Colleague letter. The guidance emerged from concerns that expectations have been set too low for too many special education students who have been denied access to the "general curriculum." 

At the same time, the state may "define alternate academic achievement standards" for children with the most significant cognitive disabilities, the guidance said.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the law, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Department also released:
 
In a symposium at the White House on Nov. 17, Melody Musgrove, director of the Office of Special Education Programs for the U.S. Department of Education, said that the past 40 years have brought enormous gains in what educators know about teaching students with disabilities.
 
But, she said, "At same time I'm so frustrated and sad because No. 1, why haven't we improved outcomes?" She added, "Why is that, when I visit classrooms across the nation, I don't see those evidence-based practices in place?"
Student Safety
Los Angeles Unified School District has joined efforts to stop commercial child sex crimes that involve students from district schools, including an elementary school.

"This is a very difficult topic, it makes us uncomfortable, afraid, repulsed, it's not something we connect to our students," said Mónica García, chair of the district's Successful School Climate: Progressive Discipline and Safety Committee, after watching an FBI video of a 16-year-old from Los Angeles who was recruited into the commercial sex industry.

Garcia said she will ask the school board to include an awareness of the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the district's child abuse policy, according to LA School Report.
Physical Education and Youth Sports
Forty-two school districts from Palo Alto to Elk Grove to Carlsbad are asking a court to throw out a lawsuit alleging that the districts' elementary school students do not receive the minimum amount of physical education instruction required by law, according to court documents.

Read more at EdSource Today.
In case you missed the news, the United States Soccer Federation settled a lawsuit filed by a group of parents, including parents from California. The parents alleged that U.S. Soccer and other organizations, including California Youth Soccer, had been negligent in treating and monitoring head injuries. In the settlement, U.S. Soccer has agreed to:
  • Improve concussion awareness and education among youth coaches, referees, parents and players
  • Instill uniform concussion management and return-to-play protocols for youth players
  • Modify substitution rules to allow players who may have suffered a concussion during games to be evaluated without penalty
  • Prohibit heading the ball for children 10 and under and limit the activity in practice only for ages 11 to 13.
School Climate


"I am a leader." "I am not ghetto." "I am not incapable of being interested in mathematics and the sciences." "I am destined for great things." As part of a new school reform campaign, a statewide coalition of students from low-income families is posting statements on Twitter and Facebook that are both poignant and backed by research about system change: If you want schools to improve, they say, believe in us.

Read more at EdSource Today.
Webinars
Movement breaks activate the brain, improve on-task behavior, and leave students more focused and ready to return to their academic activities, says Action for Healthy Kids, a Chicago-based national nonprofit that promotes healthy nutrition and activity for children. The group is hosting a webinar for educators to learn how to use yoga in the classroom to increase student focus and academic performance.

What: Motivating Students with Yoga in the Classroom
Who: Action for Healthy Kids
When: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. PT

Click here for information and registration.
 
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