Trump’s ed budget: A ‘betrayal’ and a ‘meat cleaver’ to public education

Under President Trump’s proposed FY 2018 education budget, school choice would receive a massive $1.4 billion while the Education Department undergoes a $9 billion, or 13 percent, cut.

Overall, the proposed education budget cuts the Education Department’s budget from $68 million to $59 billion.

Within the proposed $1.4 billion school choice investment, charter schools get a $168 million boost, and $250 million is allocated toward a new private school choice program.…Read More

If you give a kindergartner a Chromebook…

Although even the youngest children are considered tech-savvy today, there exists a difference between a child who knows how to use a tablet to watch videos and a child who knows how to navigate a device for active learning.

The thought of giving 30 kindergarten students their own Chromebooks might be daunting. But for one classroom, the move yielded some surprising results for student engagement, learning progress, and for students with special needs.

“We had surprising outcomes from students with special needs,” said Jamie Morgan, an elementary school teacher in the Wichita Falls ISD in Texas. In her classroom, she had students with ADHD, ODD, autism, visual disabilities, intellectual delays, and gifted and talented students. “Chromebooks made it really, really easy to differentiate instruction–I can’t imagine doing the differentiation that needed to be done without having the Chromebooks,” she said.…Read More

DeVos confirmation hearing elicits intense reactions

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, emerged from her confirmation hearings with Republicans praising her commitment to school choice and with Democrats voicing concerns over what they see as a lack of experience to ensure equity for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

During the hearings, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) did not back down as he repeatedly asked DeVos to address yes-or-no questions about a variety of education issues, including the Individuals with Disabilities Act–a key federal law that allocates federal funding to schools to ensure the needs of students with disabilities are met.

Kaine and DeVos sparred over the matter of whether all schools–public, public charter or private–should be required to meet IDEA requirements if they receive federal funding.…Read More

College- and career-ready expectations for students with disabilities

Achieve and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) released “Diplomas that Matter: Ensuring Equity of Opportunity for Students with Disabilities,” a new report analyzing the diplomas available to students with disabilities in each state for the graduating class of 2015. The report also compares the course and assessment requirements for earning a regular diploma in each state for students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities.

Although an estimated 85 to 90 percent of students with disabilities can, with the proper instruction, supports, and accommodations, meet the same graduation standards as all other students, the national graduation rate for students with disabilities has risen from 56.9 percent in 2006 only to 66.3 percent in 2014. In addition to these low graduation rates, questions persist as to whether students with disabilities are being given access to a rigorous course of study that will prepare them for college and career. States do a disservice to students with disabilities when they are not given the opportunity to earn a regular diploma with adequate supports or when they are held to lower expectations.

Achieve and NCEO’s analysis suggests that expecting less of students with disabilities, through a less rigorous diploma offering, does them a disservice because they leave school thinking that they are ready for college or career when they are likely not prepared.…Read More

10 steps for making your online courses accessible for all students

New report highlights 10-step plan to applying Universal Design for Learning online

universal-UDL-learningAccording to a new report, incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in online courses not only benefits students with disabilities, but can have significant benefits for all students, ultimately increasing retention and improving learning outcomes. UDL is tough enough in a face-to-face environment, but the real challenge might be how to implement the principles in an online world where students’ abilities and learning styles differ drastically.

The recent report, written by three professors at Montana State University, aims to help educators involved in online learning implement UDL for teaching both general and diverse populations, including students with disabilities.

The authors note that while, ideally, UDL allows students with disabilities to access courses without adaptation, it can also help to improve learning—and, therefore, retention—among all students.…Read More

Lower expectations for students with disabilities?

New report shows states sometimes offer lower-standard diplomas to students with disabilities

disabilities-studentsA majority of U.S. states offer multiple paths in high school graduation requirements to students with disabilities, according to a new report. However, what some likely intended as a way to help these students may be hurting their chances at entering post-secondary education and the workforce, which begs the question: Are states ensuring that students with disabilities are college- and career-ready?

The report, “Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities: Ensuring meaningful diplomas for all students,” released by Achieve and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), reveals that more than 400,000 students in 50 states have disabilities. Though 90 percent of these students can meet the graduation standards offered by states for all students, during the 2010-2011 school year, only 64 percent left with a standard high school diploma.

(Next page: Colleges, employers skeptical)…Read More

Implementing Common Core for students with disabilities

Experts help schools learn how to effectively teach Common Core to student with disabilities

disabilities-common coreA new website for students–and in particular, those with disabilities–is offering free “anytime, anyplace” resources, materials, and information to help schools ensure that their students meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Created by the Center for Technology Implementation (CTI), the website for students with disabilities, PowerUp What Works, links evidence-based practices, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and technology to guide teachers, school leaders, professional development (PD) facilitators, and teacher educators in their professional learning.

The goal, according to CTI, is to enhance teaching and learning in English language arts (ELA) and math through the effective implementation of technology tools and strategies…while also focusing on how effective implementation directly affects students with disabilities.…Read More