Report: Teachers’ Reading Tests Inadequate in Most States

Fewer than a dozen states across the country have adopted adequate reading and licensing tests for elementary school and special education teachers, according to a new study from the National Council on Teacher Quality that describes the lack of credentialing “safeguards” as “troubling.”

Only 11 states in the U.S. require both elementary school and special education teachers to pass a comprehensive reading-focused licensing or credentialing exam. Teachers in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin are required to take such a test.

The other 39 states and the District of Columbia were found to either only partially test their elementary and special education teachers’ reading acumen or to completely forego such credentialing.

Full story at US News

Special Education Students On the Rise

THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS receiving special education in public schools is rising, with about 13 percent of all students receiving such instruction, according to a recent study.

A Department of Education report, titled the Condition of Education 2018, states the number of students aged 3 to 21 receiving special education services increased from 6.6 million to 6.7 million from the 2014-2015 school year to the 2015-2016 school year. Among those, 34 percent had specific learning disabilities, of which 20 percent had speech or language impairments and 14 percent had other health impairments.

Joel McFarland, lead author of the report, says despite a slight increase from the previous year, 13 percent is still within the range of special education representation seen in previous years.

Full story at US News

Student Loan Defaults On The Rise, Texas Special Education, And Other Education News

Hello! Money is on our minds in this mid-January edition of the Weekly Roundup.

Student loan default is a “crisis,” report says

Almost 40 percent of students who entered college in the fall of 2003 may default on their student loans by 2023. That is the conclusion of the Brookings Institution, which analyzed 20 years of federal data for two groups of student borrowers. Previously published data from the Department of Education looked at default rates just three to five years after borrowing. The new, long-term analysis found that for-profit college students and African-American college students had the highest rates of default. For black students who attended for-profits starting in the 1990s, two out of three eventually defaulted on their loans.

Full story at NPR

Autism or Asperger’s? It Might Depend on Your Doctor

Fox News

Autism or Asperger'sAn autism diagnosis means different things depending on who is doing the diagnosing, suggests a new study.

Researchers found that clinics varied in what skills and behaviors they considered when evaluating kids with an autism spectrum disorder and deciding where on that spectrum they fell.

In kids with severe social problems, "everyone agreed that the child had (autism)," said study author Catherine Lord, head of the Institute for Brain Development at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital. "But it does suggest that in those borderlands of autism spectrum disorders, there is a lot of confusion."

Full story at Fox News

Building an education nation

By Tom Brokaw

Politics On EducationThink of American education as a house of many rooms, each with a distinct function but taken as a whole, this house is shelter against the winds of change buffeting the world and threatening our future.

Any objective analysis of that shelter comes to the same conclusion: we have work to do to be sure we’re secure and able to hold our own against whatever this new global climate sends our way.

That’s the unsettling news. The good news? Work is under way, from the most remote school districts in rural America, to the inner city of our largest urban areas.

Standards and expectations are being raised and tested; new teaching techniques are being systematically measured and implemented; new kinds of schools are being constructed and politicians from the White House to the village green are being held accountable for their commitment to education.

Full story at Star Telegram

A Christian Parent in Support of the CA FAIR Education Act

By Bruce Reyes-Chow

FAIR Education ActFor those of you familiar with the California’s FAIR Education Act (SB48), it is the latest target for many Christian groups who believe that homosexuality is a sin. Motivations are far more complex than that but for me to try and capture what my brothers and sisters in Christ on that side of the aisle believe would be unfair. Suffice it to say, they are none too happy about this recently signed into law legislation and there is a well organized effort underway to place a referendum on the ballot that would repeal the law.

In a nutshell . . .

The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act would amend the Education Code to include social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This bill would also prohibit discriminatory instruction and discriminatory materials from being adopted by the State Board of Education.

Full story at San Francisco Chronicle

Introducing iPods into Special Education: VIDEO

By SpecialEducationPrograms.org

Introducing iPods into Special Education

This is a film I made about how we use iPods as useful tools and even adaptations in our Special Ed classroom. This classroom is at Special School District of Saint Louis County. **All students shown in this film had film releases signed by their parent/guardian, allowing them to be in the film, and shown to the public.**

Full story at SpecialEducationPrograms.org