Tag Archive for 'public policy'

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New Jersey task force on reading disabilities created

Seventh grader Samantha Ravelli, of Ocean City (NJ, US), is probably one of the youngest lobbyists who ever tasted success. According to Diane D’Amico of the Press of Atlantic City, Sammie (and her team, including her mother and sister) convinced their legislature to form the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force.

Sammie has substantial reading problems, and her contacts with legislators inspired them to draft legislation creating the task force. Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam and state Senator Jeff Van Drew collaborated to get it passed. It cleared the assembly in February and the senate in December 2009.

As a part of their efforts to promote awareness of dyslexia and to encourage legislators to create the task force, the Ravellis created Sammie’s Mission. Visit it and also read Ms. D’Amico’s blog post How Sammies’s dyslexia inspired a law and her news story, State Senate approves bill to form reading disabilities task force, about the events. Finally, snag a pdf of “An Act establishing the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force.”

Is inclusion right for your child?

Over on LD Experience, Kathryn Burke posted an editorial recounting some of her experiences as a parent of children with Learning Disabilities who must weigh placement alternatives. She describes an encounter with another parent who disagreed with her decision to place her elder son in a specialized school.

A parent from my son’s school, who had not heard about the lecture from me, came to greet me and ask if I could put her name on the “special education distribution list.” Another woman overheard our discussion and asked about the list, how it had started, and if she could join. I told her that I had assembled the email list from the names of individuals who had been present at events organized by the Parent Council at my son’s school, of which I was a member of the executive. I explained that the school was a specialized site within the public system for students with learning disabilities. Upon hearing this, the woman looked at me with a level of disgust as if I had grown horns, and loudly said, “I will have absolutely nothing to do with people who believe that children with disabilities should be segregated!”

Continue reading ‘Is inclusion right for your child?’

Vouchers and identification rates

Over on the Web site of the Manhattan Institute under the headline, “How Special Ed Vouchers Keep Kids From Being Mislabeled as Disabled,” Marcus Winters and Jay Greene published an article reporting their analysis of Florida’s McKay vouchers program. They report that, schools that have nearby voucher-accepting private schools, the incidence of children identified as having Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is inversely correlated with the number of neighboring private schools.

The question examined in this report is whether special-education voucher programs change the likelihood that students will be diagnosed with an SLD. Voucher programs allow disabled students to attend a private school, which receives payments in the form of full or partial tuition that would have otherwise been directed to the transferring student’s public school. Special-education voucher programs appear to reduce a local public school’s financial incentive to diagnose a marginal student who is merely struggling academically as suffering from an SLD by offering him the chance to leave the public school, enter a private school, and take all of his funding with him.

I hope to get a chance to provide a more detailed analysis of the report. Other tasks require immediate action on my part, though. I’d welcome comments from others who have the time to examine the report.

Link to the article by Mr. Winters and Mr. Greene.

JLD on professional development


JLD cover

The Journal of Learning Disabilities for September-October 2009 features a special series of articles about the teaching of reading teaching. Issue editors R. Malatesha Joshi and Anne E. Cunningham put together a set of articles by stellar authorities in the area of reading to examine “Perceptions and Reality: What We Know About the Quality of Literacy Instruction.”

Moats, L. (2009). Still wanted: Teachers with knowledge of language. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 387-391.

Joshi, R. M., Binks, E., Hougen, M., Dahlgren M. E., Ocker-Dean, E., & Smith, D. L. (2009). Why elementary teachers might be inadequately prepared to teach reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 392-402.[Link]

Podhajski, B., Mather, N., Nathan, J., & Sammons, J. (2009). Professional development in scientifically based reading instruction: Teacher knowledge and reading outcomes Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 403-417. [Link]

Cunningham, A. E., Zibulsky, J., Stanovich, K. E., & Stanovich, P. J. (2009). How teachers would spend their time teaching language arts: The mismatch between self-reported and best practices. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 418-430. [Link]

Spear-Swerling, L. (2009). A literacy tutoring experience for prospective special educators and struggling second graders. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 431-443. [Link]

Kaiser, L., Rosenfield, S., & Gravois, T. (2009). Teachers’ perception of satisfaction, skill development, and skill application after instructional consultation services. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 444-457.[Link]

Joshi, R. M., Binks, E., Graham, L., Ocker-Dean, E., Smith, D. L., & Boulware-Gooden, R. (2009). Do textbooks used in university reading education courses conform to the instructional recommendations of the National Reading Panel? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 458-463. [Link]

Stotsky, S. (2009). Licensure tests for special education teachers: How well they assess knowledge of reading instruction and mathematics. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 464-474. [Link]

Lyon, G. R., & Weiser, B. (2009). Teacher knowledge, instructional expertise, and the development of reading proficiency. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 475-480.[Link]

NCLD report

The National Center for Learning Disabilities, a US advocacy group, released a report entitled “The State of Learning Disabilities” today. The report presents broad-strokes data about Learning Disabilities (LD) across the life span, including (for example) data about not only school environments, but also work situations.

Highlights from the report include:

  • The identification rate of school-age students with LD has consistently declined for the past 10 years
  • Learning disabilities disproportionately affect people living in poverty
  • People of all races are identified with LD at about the same rate (except people of Asian descent), and,
  • The cost of educating a student with LD is 1.6 times higher than a regular education student (compared with 1.9 for all students with disabilities).

Link to the report.

ICDR input opportunity

The Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) issued a reminder about its process for securing recommendations about priorities for about disability and rehabilitation research. Following its earlier call for recommendations, ICDR now solicits public voting about the agenda.

The ICDR Seeks Your Recommendations on Emerging Disability Research Topics

Web site provides opportunity to vote and prioritize disability issues of greatest concern

This year for the first time, the federally mandated Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) is utilizing an innovative Web-based approach to collect online disability research comments to assist in developing a federal disability and rehabilitation 2010 research agenda. This technology-driven approach gives the public a three-week timeframe from March 27th through April 17th to submit their recommendations. Additionally, registered participants will be invited to review all comments submitted and vote on their top 10 concerns in each topic area during the one-week period from April 22nd through April 29th. Public comments from stakeholders are the focal point of the disability research recommendations in the ICDR Annual Report to the President and Congress.

All disability-related research topics are welcomed, including discussion about concerns important to the veteran and military communities. The ICDR is seeking comments with special emphasis placed in the following areas:

  • Collaboration and coordination among federal agencies;
  • Health information technology and/or electronic health records;
  • Health disparities;
  • Health promotion in the workplace;
  • Employment and health; and
  • Other critical research issues.
  • Guidelines and Instructions:

  • Access the ICDR Public Comment Web site: http://www.icdr.us/stakeholders for complete instructions, guidelines, and registration.
  • If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet, you may mail your comments to ICDR c/o CESSI, 6858 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 250, McLean, VA 22101 or fax to 703-442-9015. Please follow the following instructions for written comments:
    • No longer than 250 words or 1500 characters
    • Single-spaced using 12-point font in Times New Roman
  • Key Dates:

  • Web-based Public Comments: March 27 – April 17, 2009 (3:00 P.M. EDT)
  • Written Comments: March 27 – April 17, 2009 (Must be postmarked no later than the deadline)
  • Online Public Voting: April 22 – 29, 2009 (11:59 P.M. EDT)
  • Cross-posted with EBD Blog.

    Research input opportunity

    Here’s a copy of a post I put on EBD Blog that has content that’s also relevant here.

    The US Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) is seeking citizens’ recommendations about a research agenda. Although this initiative aims at addressing issues for adults in the community, which differs from the focus of EBD Blog (educational issues related to children and youth and their families), I want to mention it here so that readers who may have interests in health, employment, and similar topics will get the news.

    This year for the first time, the federally mandated Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) is utilizing an innovative Web-based approach to collect online disability research comments to assist in developing a federal disability and rehabilitation 2010 research agenda. This technology-driven approach gives the public a three-week timeframe from March 27th through April 17th to submit their recommendations. Additionally, registered participants will be invited to review all comments submitted and vote on their top 10 concerns in each topic area during the one-week period from April 22nd through April 29th. Public comments from stakeholders are the focal point of the disability research recommendations in the ICDR Annual Report to the President and Congress.

    ICDR stakeholders page.