New Mission

New Mission


My idea is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues. I’d like to see different successful schools, wherever they may be, up close. I’d like to sit down with directors and administrators. I’d like to speak with government officials who keep a pulse on the education affairs of their communities. I want to learn more about education around the globe through speaking with locals, seeing the schools, and shaking hands with the people responsible for implementing the systems. If you know of any outstanding (public or private) special needs schools in other parts of the world, I’d love to hear about them. If you know any education experts from around the world, I’d love to be introduced to them. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas. Read more about my mission.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

COPAA Policy Alert Regarding Sequestration

COPAA has issued the following policy alert regarding the impending sequestration: 

All indications are that Sequestration will begin tomorrow 

With no deal on the table in Congress, the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration are now scheduled to take effect tomorrow, March 1, 2013.

According to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, $600 million will be cut from federal special education funding, requiring states and districts to figure out a way to fund approximately 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff, putting services  and supports to students with disabilities significantly at risk.  
Though most schools would not be immediately impacted since funding for this academic year has largely been dispersed already, cuts could begin soon.
US Department of Education overall State by State Analysis can be found at:
http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/sequestration-would-hurt-students-teachers-and-schools/

IDEA MoneyWatch Part B reductions by state:  http://ideamoneywatch.com/balancesheet/?p=589

COPAA members are urged to s
end your elected officials in Congress a message asking for a balanced approach to spending reductions and to avoid any reductions to federal funding for IDEA.          
Use Contacting the Congress to find your members of Congress.
Please - take 5 minutes today; forward this message to your networks, and contact Congress.
Thank you for your advocacy!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sequestration And Special Ed Cuts

How would the impending "sequestration," if it were to go into effect come March 1, affect education and special education?  

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57570957/education-secretary-not-rocket-science-to-stop-dumb-sequester-cuts/

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/02/19/as-cuts-congress-break/17332/

The IDEAL School

A glimpse at The IDEAL School, a private special education school in Manhattan with a focus on inclusion (http://www.theidealschool.org/).


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

C.L. v. New York City Department Of Education

In C.L. v. New York City Department of Education, a recent IDEA case decided by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), the Court considered an appeal from an SRO decision that ruled against the parents.  The parents were successful at the IHO level obtaining an award of funding for The McCarton School.  However the SRO disagreed with the IHO and denied funding on appeal.

In reaching its decision to reverse the SRO and rule in favor of the parents, the SDNY considered the amount of deference, if any, that a federal court should grant to administrative decisions.  This has been and likely will continue to be a hotly-litigated issue in IDEA cases.  The Court asserted that "the deference owed to an SRO's decision depends on the quality of that opinion" (citing to R.E., 694 F.3d at 189) or its “persuasiveness” (citing to M.H. II, 685 F.3d at 244).

The Court then stated: 
The SRO's Decision on this issue cannot be described as “well-reasoned” or “based on substantially greater familiarity with the evidence and the witnesses than the reviewing court,” M.H. II, 685 F.3d at 244, and therefore merits no deference. The Court thus turns to the IHO's decision. See R.E., 694 F.3d at 189.
And later added:
The SRO's Decision on this issue merely states the issue, states the conclusion, summarizes the CSE meetings and the IEP, states the conclusion again, summarizes the evidence presented at the hearing, and then states the conclusion a third and final time. Id. at 12–15. At no point does the SRO actually analyze the evidence or explain the reasons for its determination. 
The Court agreed with the IHO's findings that the child at issue required 1:1 instruction and would not be able to learn new material in the district-recommended 6:1:1 program.  Therefore, the Court held that the DOE failed to provide a free appropriate public education and awarded reimbursement for McCarton.   

It is also worth noting that the SDNY, in response to arguments from the district, reiterated the holding of Forest Grove that a child need not have attended a public school for parents to determine that a public school setting would be inappropriate.  

For a related decision with a similar outcome see B.R. ex rel. K.O. v. New York City Dept. of Educ., 2012 WL 6691046 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 26, 2012).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Changing Public School Education

An interesting article underscoring the need for universal pre-K education and providing insight into what it really means to fix the currently broken public education system:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/the-secret-to-fixing-bad-schools.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

With respect to early childhood education a number of policy considerations come to mind.  For example:
  • What does the research show regarding the effectiveness of early childhood education programs
  • What problems have existing early childhood education programs encountered (see Head Start) and how if at all will those problems be addressed with the new programs being proposed 
  • Where will the money for these programs come from and how will those funds be utilized efficiently 
  • What roles will federal, state, and local government play in the implementation of these programs (it has been suggested that the federal government's role will be only to fund, leaving it to the states to expand existing programs/create new programs)
  • What kind of *quality control* will there be to insure that the individuals instructing our preschool children possess the appropriate credentials and experience to do so 
  • What systems will be in place for assessing the results of these programs in the future
Some of these policy considerations and others are discussed in the following op-ed (you can skip over the liberal overtones):

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/15/opinion/brooks-crayons-to-college.html?_r=0

It seems that early child education programs have been pilot tested in some states already.  However more information is needed regarding their long-term effectiveness.