Take Action Now!!

Join CEC and take action now on the follow issues affecting students needing special education services.

Reauthorize the Higher Education Act

Address the educator shortage crisis

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The U.S. Senate is currently negotiating a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). HEA governs federal policy on higher education. Major provisions of HEA include grant and loan programs such as Pell and TEACH Grants; grants to institutions for educator preparation programs; access and affordability of higher education, such as the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, and more. These programs influence the educator pipeline and directly impact schools and classrooms. HEA was last reauthorized in 2008 and is the top education priority for Congress this year.

FY 2021: Support Students with Exceptionalities; Oppose Cuts to Public Education.

Boost funding for special and gifted/talented education to make sure all students can thrive.

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On Monday, the Trump Administration released its proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 spending. Overall, the budget proposal cuts the Department of Education (ED) by $6.4 billion, or 8.4 percent. The budget also includes $5 billion for proposed Education Freedom Scholarships, or tax credits for vouchers that could be used toward private school tuition.

Special education funding was largely untouched in the ED budget. Aside from a $100 million increase (equal to less than one percent) to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all programs authorized under the IDEA were level funded. With diminishing spending power from year to year, level funding equates to a cut roughly equal in size to the inflation rate.

In the last three years, attempts by the Administration to make significant cuts to ED and to divert public funds to a private school voucher program have been unsuccessful. Rather, Congress, which has the ‘power of the purse,’ has sustained and/or incrementally grown critical programs at the Department. Much of the credit for Congress’s actions goes to grassroots advocacy. Voices like yours have made an important difference as appropriators make decisions about annual spending. Please join CEC in supporting public education through this letter-writing campaign.

 

For more information on how to take action and to sign up for CEC’s legislative alerts, visit CEC’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) website.

 

Department of Education Releases Annual IDEA Report to Congress

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education issued the 41st Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

 

Since its enactment, IDEA has required an annual report to inform Congress and the public about implementation of the law in four main domains:
  1. providing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities and early intervention for infants and toddlers,
  2. ensuring that the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are upheld,
  3. assisting states and localities to provide IDEA services to all students with disabilities, and
  4. assessing the effectiveness of efforts to provide IDEA services.
Key findings [from 2017 state-reported data] include:
  • 93.2 percent of special education teachers providing special education and related services for students aged 3 through 5 were highly qualified.
  • 91.9 percent of special education teachers providing special education and related services for students aged 6 through 21 under IDEA Part B were highly qualified.
  • 94.9 percent of students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA Part B were educated in the regular classroom for at least some portion of the school day.
To view the full report, go here.

Hot Topic Series: Related Services

Session One – Defining types of services SLP, OT and PT’s provide-Click to register

Direct
Related
SAS
SSP/Consultation
Professional Development:

  • For Related Service providers
  • Related Service providers to teachers/paras

Session Two – Caseloads and What to Know about Eligibility-Click to register

How are decisions being made as to who is being qualified for services?
Is it consistent across buildings and programs?
Has your department discussed/agreed upon some guidelines for qualifying students?
Do your service providers consider the three prongs?
Does the support require the expertise of a related service provider – are they the only one that can provide the support?
How do you embed Related Services into general education and special education?

Session Three – Accountability-Click to register

How are you monitoring caseloads?
SLPs – evals, case manager, re-evals
Progress Reporting?

U.S. ED Provides Technical Assistance Webinar on Restraint and Seclusion

On January 17, 2019, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced an initiative to examine the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools. As a part of this initiative, the Office for Civil Rights has partnered with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to support teachers, school leaders, parents, and stakeholders as they work to address the behavioral needs of children with disabilities.

One primary component of the Department’s initiative has focused on providing technical assistance to support schools in understanding how Section 504, Title II, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) informs the development and implementation of policies governing the use of restraint and seclusion.

To this end, OCR and OSERS are pleased to present the following webinar, Students with Disabilities and the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in K-12 Public Schools, as technical assistance to both support children with disabilities — and support the needs of those within school systems serving students.

We hope that you will find this tool to be a helpful resource and valuable technical assistance on how federal laws apply to the use of restraint and seclusion. OCR and OSERS will continue to seek ways to support schools to improve outcomes for children with disabilities and ensure access to technical assistance and available resources.  READ MORE

Zirkel’s Legal Alert

This month’s update concerns issues that were subject to recent, unpublished federal court decisions of general significance: (a) liability for money damages under the IDEA, and (b) the reverse effect of general education interventions on IDEA child find and eligibility. For further examination of both of these issues, see perryzirkel.com.

Hot Topic Series: Related Services

Session One – Defining types of services SLP, OT and PT’s provide-Click to register

Direct
Related
SAS
SSP/Consultation
Professional Development:

  • For Related Service providers
  • Related Service providers to teachers/paras

Session Two – Caseloads and What to Know about Eligibility-Click to register

How are decisions being made as to who is being qualified for services?
Is it consistent across buildings and programs?
Has your department discussed/agreed upon some guidelines for qualifying students?
Do your service providers consider the three prongs?
Does the support require the expertise of a related service provider – are they the only one that can provide the support?
How do you embed Related Services into general education and special education?

Session Three – Accountability-Click to register

How are you monitoring caseloads?
SLPs – evals, case manager, re-evals
Progress Reporting?

Hot Topic Series: Related Services

Session One – Defining types of services SLP, OT and PT’s provide-Click to register

Direct
Related
SAS
SSP/Consultation
Professional Development:

  • For Related Service providers
  • Related Service providers to teachers/paras

Session Two – Caseloads and What to Know about Eligibility-Click to register

How are decisions being made as to who is being qualified for services?
Is it consistent across buildings and programs?
Has your department discussed/agreed upon some guidelines for qualifying students?
Do your service providers consider the three prongs?
Does the support require the expertise of a related service provider – are they the only one that can provide the support?
How do you embed Related Services into general education and special education?

Session Three – Accountability-Click to register

How are you monitoring caseloads?
SLPs – evals, case manager, re-evals
Progress Reporting?

Tips for Analyzing Your Data

Discipline is an important topic in every school and LEA across the nation. Excessive disciplinary actions, particularly those that remove children from their classrooms, can hinder learning. Such removals can cause children to miss instruction and opportunities to learn content and build skills. These children may have lower academic performance, they may be more likely to drop out of school, and they may be less likely to pursue higher education. Understanding your school’s or LEA’s discipline data can be critical in helping you support these students. By analyzing your discipline data, you can identify patterns and trends to inform your school and LEA discipline-related policies.

The following are some simple tips for analyzing discipline data and practices:

  • Pull all discipline records, including out-of-school suspensions and in-school suspensions (both less than or equal to 10 days and greater than 10 days), placements in alternative settings, and expulsions.
    • To do this, student information system administrators can pull data through system reports or queries.
  • Disaggregate discipline data to capture different student subgroups, such as:
    • schools in which students are disciplined (are there one or two schools that discipline students more than other schools do?);
    • ages of students being disciplined (are more middle school students being disciplined than high school students?);
    • disability of students being disciplined (are students with particular disabilities being disciplined more than other students?); and
    • race/ethnicity of students being disciplined (are students within a particular racial/ethnic group being disciplined more than students in other racial/ethnic groups?).
  • Frame the data meaningfully for students. When analyzing data, think less about the number of days students missed and more about the hours of instruction they lost. For example, a student suspended out of school for 2 school days missed out on 16 hours of instruction. Framing the data around student learning can be extremely powerful.
  • Review LEA policies for discipline. This may reveal that there are no uniform policies in your school or LEA. Thus, discipline decisions are based on the thoughts and judgments of the individuals making the decisions rather than on a school or LEA policy.

For more information, visit https://ideadata.org/resources and search for “discipline.”

Hot Topic Series: Related Services

Session One – Defining types of services SLP, OT and PT’s provide-Click to register

Direct
Related
SAS
SSP/Consultation
Professional Development:

  • For Related Service providers
  • Related Service providers to teachers/paras

Session Two – Caseloads and What to Know about Eligibility-Click to register

How are decisions being made as to who is being qualified for services?
Is it consistent across buildings and programs?
Has your department discussed/agreed upon some guidelines for qualifying students?
Do your service providers consider the three prongs?
Does the support require the expertise of a related service provider – are they the only one that can provide the support?
How do you embed Related Services into general education and special education?

Session Three – Accountability-Click to register

How are you monitoring caseloads?
SLPs – evals, case manager, re-evals
Progress Reporting?