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Report: ESEA reauthorization could be trouble for waiver states
eSchool News
A new report surveying states that have applied for and received No Child Left Behind waivers finds they are worried that reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could hinder progress painstakingly made in school reform over the past year. The report, released by the Center on Education Policy, notes that last year Education Secretary Arne Duncan began to grant states waivers on key NCLB accountability requirements. The waiver guidelines let states depart from some of NCLB's more strict requirements, such as judging school performance against a goal of 100 percent of students reaching reading and math "proficiency" by 2014, and implementing specific interventions in schools that fall short of performance targets.
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Car exhaust hurts children as much as 2nd-hand smoke
The Atlantic Cities
Having your children live near a busy highway is kind of like keeping them penned in the smoking area of a Greyhound bus station, according to a new study. European researchers applied a statistical technique known as "population-attributable fractions" to existing data to root out how much childhood asthma can be blamed on heavy traffic. Their conclusion: 14 percent of chronic asthma in kids is caused by car exhaust, which falls into the 4 to 18 percent bracket of childhood asthma cases resulting from exposure to second-hand smoke, as per World Health Organization estimates.
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Survey: 1 in 50 US school kids has autism
The Associated Press via CBS News
A government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder. Health officials say the new number doesn't mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems. The earlier government estimate of 1 in 88 comes from a study that many consider more rigorous. It looks at medical and school records instead of relying on parents.
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Teachers and school staff turn to self-defense training
USA Today
As school professionals nationwide re-evaluate plans for keeping schoolchildren safe, more teachers, staff and parents turn to self-defense training, defense instructors across the country say. Pelting rain blurred Celenea Mitchell's windshield as she drove through Battle Ground, Wash. A few weeks had passed since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and Mitchell, a mother of two and a PTA volunteer, was determined to help get Battle Ground teachers trained in self-defense.
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 In the News


Robots show promise for social skills development
Disability Scoop
New research suggests that robots could offer a remarkable tool to help children with disabilities master social skills. Using a modified version of a so-called humanoid robot, researchers at Vanderbilt University say they've found that children with autism respond positively to the two-foot-tall device, which could one day supplement time spent with a human therapist. For the study, autism researchers and mechanical engineers augmented an existing robot with webcams to track a child's movement and create an "intelligent environment" allowing the device to respond to the scenario. Programmed with prompts like "look over here," the robot is able to make head and hand gestures and, much like a therapist, it instructs a user to do certain tasks and praises a job well done.
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Will funding flexibility for schools come with sequestration cuts?
Education Week
So now that school districts are coping with a 5 percent across-the-board cut to all federal programs, thanks to sequestration, many advocates are asking the department for what they see as the next best thing to more money: Greater flexibility with the funds they actually have. For instance, advocates are wondering how the cuts will affect maintenance of effort, which requires states and districts to keep their own spending up at a certain level in order to tap federal funds. Do they get a break because they're getting less Title I and special education money?
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Teaching emotions: A different approach to ending school violence
The Huffington Post (Commentary)
In the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the media has trumpeted the predictable calls for tighter gun controls and widespread speculation about the shooter's mental health. But those calling for change have done remarkably little soul-searching about the education system that allowed such a disturbed individual to wander through its hallways speaking little and avoiding eye contact, apparently completely ignored.
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Building a more inclusive digital media and learning movement
Education Week
The good news is that digital tools are letting kids hack their learning, communities, and world in all kinds of awesome new ways. The bad news is that these opportunities are not evenly distributed, and they may be accelerating inequalities between more and less affluent youth. Expanding opportunity is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reducing inequality. To make the aforementioned good news better than just good news, to make it awesome news, we need to build the digital media and learning movement to be as inclusive as possible, perhaps even to be more than inclusive, to disproportionately benefit those learners who start life a step behind the privileged.
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How would mental-health screening for kids at school work?
Palm Beach Post
Children routinely have their vision, hearing and sometimes even the curve of their spines checked at school. For more than a decade, everyone from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the U.S. surgeon general has urged that all children also be screened for mental health — but it's not happened. No state in this country and only one country in the world — Chile — systematically screens all of its children for mental health in schools. Now in the wake of several high-profile shootings — many with troubled young adults behind the trigger — everyone is rehashing the conversation.
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More teachers are grouping kids by ability
USA Today
New findings based on more than 20 years of research suggest that despite decades of controversy, elementary school teachers now feel fine placing students in "ability groups." The research, out Monday from the centrist Brookings Institution's Brown Center on American Education, finds that between 1998 and 2009, the percentage of fourth-grade teachers who said they created ability-based reading groups skyrocketed from 28 percent to 71 percent. In math, between 1996 and 2011, the practice rose from 40 percent to 61 percent. The practice remained fairly constant in eighth-grade math, rising from 71 percent to 76 percent. Data for other eighth-grade subjects was incomplete or inconclusive.
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In twist, school practices 'reverse inclusion'
Disability Scoop
A unique approach at one Ohio school has typically developing teens entering the world of special education for an eye-opening experience. Through a semester-long elective at Kenston High School in Bainbridge, Ohio, high school juniors and seniors work side-by-side in a special education classroom with their peers who have special needs. An outgrowth of a club, the course focuses on the history and experiences of individuals with disabilities. Typically developing students act as role models and are asked to do a series of creative, independent projects like organizing a dance or a talent show.
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Parents of students with special needs want law on seclusion and restraint policies
StateImpact Indiana
Indiana schools aren't required to have formal policies on seclusion and restraint, but the families of students with special needs are urging state lawmakers to reconsider. In January, a representative for Glenda Ritz's office who testified in favor of the bill when it was before the Senate Education Committee said the state superintendent wants to ensure districts retain local control over teacher training.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Dyslexia linked to brain's inconsistency with encoding sound (Northwestern University via Psych Central)
Overcoming reading problems: How can we stlil raed words wehn teh lettres are jmbuled up? (Medical News Today)
The worst victims of the education sequester: Special needs students and poor kids (The Atlantic)
Resources for special education and the Common Core (Education Week)
Aggression a struggle for 1 in 2 with autism (Disability Scoop)

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


Which path for the Common Core?
Education Week (Commentary)
As educators across the country implement the Common Core State Standards, we see two paths emerging ... and diverging. The first path treats the common core as just another set of standards to implement and assess. Educators jump straight to the grade-level requirements and map them to their curricula in a compliance-driven exercise. It starts to look a lot like what we've been doing with the No Child Left Behind Act for the last 10 years — a narrowed curriculum focused more on test scores than on college and career readiness.
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FEATURED ARTICLE
TRENDING ARTICLE
MOST POPULAR ARTICLE
Survey: 1 in 50 US school kids has autism
The Associated Press via CBS News
A government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder. Health officials say the new number doesn't mean autism is occurring more often.

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Dyslexia linked to brain's inconsistency with encoding sound
Northwestern University via Psych Central
Researchers from Northwestern University report that they have found a biological mechanism that appears to play a vital role in learning to read. This finding provides significant clues into the workings behind dyslexia — a collection of impairments unrelated to intelligence, hearing or vision that makes learning to read a struggle.

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Are grading trends hurting socially awkward kids?
The Atlantic
Children have long been graded not just for academics, but also for elements of "character" — particularly behavior and emotional maturity. However, in the last few decades, socially eccentric children have seen their awkwardness or aloofness factored into their grades in math, language arts, and social studies. Ironically, this trend has coincided with a rise in diagnoses of autistic spectrum disorders.

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South Carolina's special education penalty won't continue
The Associated Press via SCNow
South Carolina schools chief Mick Zais says congressional action averted the continuation of a $36 million federal punishment over special education spending. A clause inserted in a stopgap spending bill given final approval by the U.S. House repeals the penalty slated to continue perpetually. Zais praised Congress, particularly South Carolina's delegation, as hearing his plea for common sense. The action "repeals the absurd perpetual penalty," he said. "This is a victory for students with disabilities."
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TV viewing linked to antisocial behaviors in 5-year olds
Medical News Today
Five year-olds who watch TV for 3 or more hours a day have an increasingly higher risk of developing antisocial behaviors, such as stealing or fighting, by the age of 7. However, the likelihood of this behavior is very small, according to the experts, who also found that the amount of time spent playing computer/electronic games had no effect on behavior. The finding came from a new study that was published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.
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Sequester could hit special education, poor Texas students
The Texas Tribune
Aurora Ramirez-Ford, a fifth-grader with Down syndrome, needs speech classes and occupational therapy, services that are guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. But looming federal financing cuts could affect Aurora and her peers, because they may mean bigger classes and fewer teachers next year. "If you take away staff, it's a given that the quality of education will decrease," said Stacy Ford, Aurora's mother and a special education advocate in Leander. "It doesn't take a Ph.D. to figure that out."
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