Monday, August 11, 2014

Federal Government Shirking Its Role in Promoting School Integration?

Phil Tegeler, Executive Director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, has a new article set to go to print in the Michigan Journal of Law Reform titled The "Compelling Interest" in School Diversity: Rebuilding the Case for an Affirmative Government Role.  He convincingly takes the Department of Education, and the Obama Administration overall, to task for its failure to promote integration. The Administration has made supportive statements at times, but when it comes to money and affirmative support, it has done nothing, turning its support to charter schools and other "innovations."  The introduction of the article is as follows:

The strong endorsement of the "compelling government interest" in school integration by five members of the Supreme Court in Parents Involved in Community Schools stands in surprising contrast to the Obama Administrations's tepid support for affirmative measures to expand school diversity initiatives.   Although the Department of Education formally endorsed the Supreme Court plurality's position on school integration in a 2011 guidance to local districts, its funding programs have not followed suit.  Since 2009, spending on magnet schools, the only Department of Education funding program that sponsors school integration, has declined relative to other departmental programs, while funding for charter schools, which are generally even more segregated than regular schools, has expanded.

 

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August 11, 2014 in Racial Integration and Diversity | Permalink | Comments (0)

OCR Enters Agreement with Prince William Co. on Restraint and Seclusion Practices

School districts have physical restraint and seclusion policies to protect students from harming themselves or others, but may have quite different standards for when restraint or seclusion is  necessary. Last week, the Deparment of Education's Office for Civil Rights concluded that one district in Prince William County, VA, too often used restraint and seclusion as a strategy to control student behavior rather than employing alternative strategies. Responding to a complaint filed on behalf of students who were restrained or secluded while attending a Prince William County program for students with disabilities, OCR found that the program denied students with disabilities a free appropriate public education under the IDEA.  The program's schools, called PACE (Positive Attitude and Commitment to Education) East and West, reportedly logged 115 instances of restraint and 147 instances of seclusion to control student behavior during 2011-12. As part of a resolution agreement, OCR recommended that PACE change its practices to offer students educational opportunities when they are restrained or secluded and consider different intervention approaches. OCR declined to find that PACE's restraint practices had a disparate impact on black and Hispanic students. Read OCR's letter, posted by the Legal Aid Justice Center, here.

August 11, 2014 in Special Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Curing" Autism?

New York Times Magazine ran an interesting story last week, focusing on two children with autism, one who was "cured" through "applied behavioral analysis" and the other who was not.  It also offered a quick synopsis of recent research:

In the last 18 months, however, two research groups have released rigorous, systematic studies, providing the best evidence yet that in fact a small but reliable subset of children really do overcome autism. The first, led by Deborah Fein, a clinical neuropsychologist who teaches at the University of Connecticut, looked at 34 young people . . . . She confirmed that all had early medical records solidly documenting autism and that they now no longer met autism’s criteria, a trajectory she called “optimal outcome.” She compared them with 44 young people who still had autism and were evaluated as “high functioning,” as well as 34 typically developing peers.

 

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August 8, 2014 in Special Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Journal of Law and Education's Fall Lineup: Charters, Teacher Evaluation, and Ethics

The Journal of Law and Education's upcoming Fall issue includes a particularly timely set of articles dealing with the new era of teacher evaluation and the ethics of education leadership.  The abstract for each is below. I cannot help but mention that this is the third article by Preston Green that I have posted in the last few weeks. Kudos to Professor Green

An Analysis of the Policy, Research, and Legal Issues Surrounding the Exclusion of Charter Schools from the Teacher Evaluation Revolution by Preston Green, John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education, University of Connecticut

Abstract: Analysts such as Diane Ravitch have pointed out that charter schools try “to have it both ways” by obtaining public funding under state constitutional law while having private school autonomy with respect to student and teacher rights. This article contributes to the national discussion by analyzing the legal and policy implications of exempting charter schools from the teacher evaluation policies that apply to traditional public schools.

Evaluating Evaluation: Assessing Massachusetts School Districts' Implementation of Educator Evaluation Requirements by Ranjini Govender Dowley, Policy and Government Affairs Director, Stand for Children Massachusetts

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August 7, 2014 in Charters and Vouchers, Teachers | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York City's Battle Over Private Special Education Placements: Bad Motives or Poor Analysis?

The New York Times ran a story last week on balancing special education needs with rising costs. It focuses on the struggle between parents of special-education children and the New York Department of Education.  If a public school system is incapable of providing adequate education to a student with a disability, parents can request that the district cover the cost of a private school placement. The article use the experience of one student with severe disabilities to tell the larger story of parents struggles with New York City's schools.  The distirct receives thousands of private school placements each year, and the numbers are growing.  The district is currently spending  over $200 million on private placements.  To keep costs down, the city has put legal resources

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August 7, 2014 in Special Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How Charter Schools Try to Obtain Funding of Public Schools and the Autonomy of Private Schools

Preston Green, Bruce Baker and Joseph Oluwule have been very productive over the past year.  They have another forthcoming article in Emory Law Journal titled Having it Both Ways: How Charter Schools Try to Obtain Funding of Public Schools and the Autonomy of Private Schools.  For those following Bruce Baker or me on twitter, this new article provides depth to the discussion Bruce Baker and I had via twitter two weeks ago regarding an Arizona charter school that is purportedly promoting a mix of racism and religion through its history readings.  Bruce had asked whether the First Amendment applied to them.  I was quite certain it did, but per many of the issues raised in this new article, charters will make various arguments that it does not.  The article abstract summarizes it as follows:

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August 5, 2014 in Charters and Vouchers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 4, 2014

New York City Council Calls for More Oversight of Charter Schools

New York City's mayor has backed off of his attack on charter schools, but the city council is stepping up.  Daniel Dromm, a  member of the city council and its education committee, sent a let to the state's charter authorizer, asking that it not charter any more schools in the city “until you address the lack of oversight and accountability in this rapidly growing sector.”  Charter advocates respond that the letter is just political posturing to deflect attention from the traditional public schools poor practices and defend the status quo bureaucracy.

Even if charter advocates are correct about Dromm's motivations, their claim is unresponsive.  A certain amount of oversight and accountability is necessary in every public program--school's in

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August 4, 2014 in Charters and Vouchers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bipartisan Senate Group Introduces Bill to Reform Campus Sexual Assault Policies

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill this week that would fine college for mismanaging campus rape investigations. The Campus Safety and Accountability Act is the result of a review by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) of campus rape policies, which, predictably, were all over the place regarding investigation procedures, burdens of proof, and sanctions. Of note is the bill's prohibition on schools disciplining students who reveal a violation of campus rules, such as underage drinking, when reporting a sexual violence claim and the Clery Act penalty if a college is found non-compliant: a fine up to 1% of the institution's operating revenue. After the jump is the bill's one page release summarizing its provisions.

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August 1, 2014 in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawsuit Alleges Utah State School Board Improperly Adopted Common Core

 According to a new lawsuit filed yesterday, the Utah State School Board "violated [the] law by adopting the Common Core State Standards without substantive input from parents and educators." The lawsuit was brought by the Libertas Institute, along with six parents and teachers. The plaintiffs contend that "they were denied an opportunity to be consulted" before the standards were adopted and request that the court grant an injunction against any implementation of the Common Core.

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August 1, 2014 in ESEA/NCLB, Federal policy, State law developments | Permalink | Comments (0)