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 Top Stories

Disability advocates sharply critical of plan to ease testing
Disability Scoop
As Congress looks to reauthorize the nation’s primary education law, advocates are blasting proposed changes they say would lead to lower expectations for students with disabilities. At a U.S. Senate hearing, lawmakers began the process of updating the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now known as No Child Left Behind. Among the biggest changes under consideration are a shift in testing requirements. Current regulations allow students with the severe cognitive disabilities to take alternate assessments as opposed to the general, grade-level tests required of most students.
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House education panel head endorses annual student testing
The Associated Press
The chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee endorsed continuing the federally required annual testing of students under the No Child Left Behind education law. With Congress trying to update the President George W. Bush-era law, debate has centered on the requirement that states test students in reading and math in grades three to eight and again in high school. Some educators and parents say that has created a high-stakes testing environment, and that states and districts should determine testing policy. The House committee chairman, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said he believes the annual results help parents and policymakers know where students stand.
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How much political juice does the Education Department have in NCLB waiver renewals?
Education Week
Congress is moving full steam ahead on a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act that could undo nearly of the Obama administration's K-12 policy priorities, including state goals for student achievement, dramatic school turnarounds, and evaluating teachers through test scores — and maybe even the tests themselves. But, even the most optimistic prognosticators don't expect the final legislation to make it across the finish line until the summer.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  "ACHIEVE" it all at SIU!

Thinking about college? Do you struggle with learning difficulties or organizational skills? The Achieve Program provides comprehensive academic support for college students with learning disabilities, autism, and ADHD. Call us at 618-453-6155 or visit our website at achieve.siu.edu to discover how Achieve can help you!
 


The importance of co-assessing
By: Savanna Flakes
In the prior two articles, we discussed co-planning and co-teaching. The last component of an effective co-taught classroom is working together to "co-assess" student data and growth. If teachers assess students frequently throughout the class period, they will be able to differentiate instruction and provide frequent feedback. Assessment practices for co-teachers can be divided into many categories.
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Looking to share your expertise?
In an effort to enhance the overall content of THE LD SOURCE, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of LDA and/or reader of THE LD SOURCE, your knowledge of learning disabilities and related issues lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit. Our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.



 In the News


Inside the brain of a struggling reader
District Administration Magazine
While home environment, access to books, and social and economic factors all play a part in children's literacy development, brain differences also play a crucial role. Left-brain activity in struggling readers is often underconnected — like two city suburbs that have only side streets for access. This part of the brain helps readers make the connection between letters and sounds, or phonemes — called "phonological processing."
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Student-Paced, Mastery-Based Math

Since 2004, Math-U-See has worked with intervention and special education teachers to reach struggling special needs math students. Math-U-See corresponds to math ability rather than traditional grade levels, so it can be used with students of any age. We provide tools and training for an explicit, structured, systematic, cumulative program using multi-sensory teaching techniques. MORE
 


Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention
Medical Xpress
A neuroimaging study by a University at Buffalo psychologist suggests that phonics, a method of learning to read using knowledge of word sounds, shouldn't be overlooked in favor of a whole-language technique that focuses on visually memorizing word patterns, a finding that could help improve treatment and diagnosis of common reading disorders such as dyslexia.
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Bridging the ADHD gap
Edutopia
According to the National Education Association, educational equity means that education should be accessible and fair to any child who wants it. In principle, it's based on the 14th Amendment and the 1954 school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. The aim of that court decision was to fix the ills of an educational system based on segregation and inequity in the funding of schools as it pertained to minority students.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword ADHD.


Benchmarking the road to college
Scholastic Administrator Magazine
Mike Lucas, a Scholastic editor, writes: "As a social studies teacher, a reading teacher, and now as a school leader, I've been part of Baltimore's KIPP Ujima Village Academy since it opened in 2002. KIPP Ujima is a public charter school in Maryland that serves kids in fifth through eighth grades, and we've got our eyes on the prize: excellence without exception in every area of our students' lives. We serve just more than 500 students, 99 percent of whom are African-American and 85 percent of whom are eligible for free and reduced-price meals."
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Unique Approach to Reading Problems

See how a sandwich and a cake can help your students learn to read! The Stevenson Reading Program uses proven methods in unique and imaginative ways to address the needs of LD students. It often succeeds with students who have struggled with other specialized approaches. Visit our website here or call 800-343-1211 for info.
 


7 things you should know about PARCC standardized tests
NJ.com
New Jersey is preparing to administer a new standardized test this spring called the PARCC. Opposition to the test is growing in some circles, causing schools to consider how they will handle students who refuse to take the tests. For those who don't have kids in school or haven't heard much buzz about PARCC, here are seven basic things you should know about the tests. What is PARCC? PARCC stands for The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. In short, it's a group of states partnered together to develop a set of common assessments for students.
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How can your librarian help bolster brain-based teaching practices?
MindShift
Inquiry-based learning has been around in education circles for a long time, but many teachers and schools gradually moved away from it during the heyday of No Child Left Behind. The pendulum is beginning to swing back towards an inquiry-based approach to instruction thanks to standards such as Common Core State Standards for math and English Language Arts, the Next Generation Science Standards and the College, Career and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards. Transitioning to this style of teaching requires students to take a more active role and asks teachers to step back into a supportive position. It can be a tough transition for many students and their teachers, but turning to the school librarian for support could make the transition a little easier.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Making the grade: Reading becomes a joy for special needs students (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Warning signs for a learning disability: Short attention span, plus 7 others (Medical Daily)
Energy and calm: Brain breaks and focused-attention practices (Edutopia)
In practice, IDEA remedies may not be available to all (Disability Scoop)
How special educators can handle testing season (By: Pamela Hill)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.



How the Common Core supports deeper learning
Edutopia
Bob Lenz, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "Can the Common Core be an important agent for change? In this post, I argue that it can and explain how. Our network of schools, Envision, has accomplished excellent results for students during a time of enormous pressure not to focus on deeper learning. The organization was founded in 2001, the same time the federal No Child Left Behind Act was passed. NCLB, while broadening awareness of the achievement gap, simultaneously narrowed the purpose of our nation's schools, boiling the whole endeavor down to the incremental movement of testing numbers, attempting to say something about student literacy and numeracy."
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When ADHD isn't what it seems
The Atlantic
The number of kids who are diagnosed with ADHD these days is huge — and growing. Reported cases of the disorder have increased by 42 percent since 2003. But a new study suggests that some of these children might actually be suffering from a different condition that often goes undetected. Most of the referrals that pediatrician Ira Chasnoff gets at his clinic at the Children's Research Triangle in Chicago are for behavioral issues. He and his team analyzed a sample of 156 foster children who had been referred to his clinic and found that 81 percent of them had fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that had not previously been detected by a physician. The most common reason they had been referred to Chasnoff was ADHD.
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How do you personalize learning at your school?
By: Brian Stack
Personalized learning has been one of the hottest trends in education, especially in the past two to three years. A personalized learning system must include flexible learning environments that allow the system to adapt to the individual needs of each learner on an ongoing basis, one with personalized learning paths. Such a system must also maintain accurate individual learner profiles, ones for which students can view their strengths, needs, motivations and goals.
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THE LD SOURCE

LDA does not recommend or endorse any one specific diagnostic or therapeutic regime, whether it is educational, psychological or medical. The viewpoints expressed in THE LD SOURCE are those of the authors and advertisers.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Hailey Golden, Senior Education Editor, 469.420.2630   
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