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Senate plan retains testing cap for students with disabilities
Disability Scoop
A bipartisan plan to reshape the nation's primary education law would maintain strict limits on the number of students with disabilities taking less rigorous tests. After months of negotiation, the top Republican and Democrat on the U.S. Senate education committee released a joint proposal to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind. The Senate education panel is slated to consider the bill next week. Currently, students with severe cognitive disabilities are allowed to take alternate assessments in lieu of the general, grade-level tests mandated for most children. However, only 1 percent of all students — or about 10 percent of those with disabilities — may be counted as proficient by schools for taking alternate exams.
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2 heads are better than 1 — in the right circumstances
By: Pamela Hill
As a special educator, I want to use well-researched practices with my students. The reasons are logical: I want my students to learn well, I want to try researched practices so I can share them with credibility with my educator peers, and best practice dictates that IEP goals are based on researched practice. One practice — cooperative learning — has been explored multiple ways with students in resource and inclusion settings. Students with special education needs can work cooperatively with other students when the correct supports are put into place.
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His right to recess: ADHD kids should never lose play
ADDitude
Seven-year-old Scott, who has ADHD, can't go out for recess because he speaks up in class without raising his hand. Rachel loses two days of recess because she hasn't earned enough points on her behavior chart for completing classwork on time. Matt's teacher keeps him in the classroom because he gets out of his seat. When recess is withheld as a punishment for misbehavior or incomplete academic work, teachers and children suffer. Teachers who know the benefits of recess for ADHD kids never withhold it. First, "acting out" behavior is less frequent among children who go to recess. Students, with or without ADHD, show improved attention, working memory and mood after physical activity.
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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


Is America nearing the end of the No Child Left Behind era?
The Atlantic
While the so-called "Every Student Achieves" bipartisan bill still has significant hurdles to clear before passage, it's certainly the closest Congress has come in nearly a decade to an agreement on the controversial education law it seeks to revise. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the 50-year-old federal mechanism for funding the nation's public schools, was due for reauthorization more than eight years ago. No Child Left Behind is the current iteration of that law.
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Report: Most Americans support concepts behind Common Core
THE Journal
Most Americans support the basic concepts behind the Common Core, even if many do not know what the Common Core State Standards are, according to a new survey from the Leadership Conference Education Fund. In a national survey of nearly 1,400 American adults, 97 percent of respondents said students should be able to think critically and apply skills to the real world and 85 percent said the United States should have consistent education standards to raise expectations of students. But 24 percent of those surveyed said they had never heard of the Common Core and less than half, 44 percent, reported knowing some or a lot about the standards.
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Where kids learn more outside their classrooms than in them
The Atlantic
It's time for the morning meeting at Pittsfield Elementary School, and several kindergartners jostle for a spot on the carpet next to 16-year-old Anitrea Provencher, who is helping out in their classroom this semester. As the students settle into a circle, their teacher, Lenore Coombs, starts off the day's discussion with a question: What's something you've never done before that you would like to try? That's something Provencher — a sophomore at the neighboring Pittsfield Middle High School — is actively trying to answer for herself as part of a program that awards students' academic course credit for engaging in learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom setting.
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The evidence for musical dyslexia
Medical Xpress
Music education in the western world often emphasizes musical literacy, the ability to read musical notation fluently. But this is not always an easy task — even for professional musicians. Which raises the question: Is there such a thing as musical dyslexia? Dyslexia is a learning disability that occurs when the brain is unable to process written words, even when the person has had proper training in reading. Researchers debate the underlying causes and treatments, but the predominant theory is that people with dyslexia have a problem with phonological processing — the ability to see a symbol (a letter or a phoneme) and relate it to speech sounds. Dyslexia is difficult to diagnose, but it is thought to occur in up to 10 percent of the population.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Determining individualized instruction for students with special needs (By: April Smith)
Online course-taking evolving into viable option for special education (Education Week)
8 strategies to keep informational reading fun (Edutopia)
The gap between rich and poor schools grew 44 percent over a decade (The Hechinger Report)
ADHD in school: Finding the right learning environment for your child (ADDitude)

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



Brain knows how to stop thinking, start learning
Los Angeles Times
Anyone who's ever learned music probably remembers reaching a point when they just played without "thinking" about the notes. It turns out that a little bit of disconnect goes a long way in learning motor tasks, according to a study in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The findings could lend insight into why children learn some tasks faster than adults, and could point toward ways to help adults learn faster and to make classrooms more conducive to learning, according to the authors.
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ESEA reauthorization: How we can build upon No Child Left Behind's progress for students with disabilities in a reauthorized ESEA
Center for American Progress
On April 11, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, into law with the intention of achieving "full educational opportunity" for all students. While President Johnson's vision has yet to become a reality, historically disadvantaged groups of students have made significant progress under the most recent reauthorization of ESEA: the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, or NCLB. In particular, students with disabilities experienced marked gains after NCLB increased academic standards and expectations for this group. As Congress once again considers the long-overdue and much-needed reauthorization of ESEA, lawmakers must take into account the improvements made by students with disabilities under provisions of NCLB.
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How memory, focus and good teaching can work together to help kids learn
MindShift
Everyone has a pet theory on how to improve public education: better professional development for teachers, more money, better curriculum, testing for accountability, teacher incentives, technology, streamlined bureaucracy. Policymakers have been trying these solutions for years with mixed results. But those who study the brain have their own ideas for improving how kids learn: focus on teaching kids how to learn.
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Reading by 3rd grade: Impacts of early education extend beyond classroom
Holland Sentinel
In Michigan, about two in five third-grade students didn't test as proficient in reading in 2013. Research shows that achievement gaps present by third grade only widen as students grow up — making the early years of school the most important ones. But not making the grade on a third grade test can have greater implications far beyond the classroom. Without the proper interventions at a young age, students are less prepared to cope with the demands of school and young adulthood. Leaders from the law enforcement, military, business and nonprofit communities are now pointing to improved early childhood programming as the best solution to combat greater social issues.
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Motivating for math
Scholastic Administration Magazine
"Why do we have to learn this?" When it comes to math, this is the question so many young students ask their parents, themselves, and of course, their teachers. Students argue that they won't need math for a career in acting, car racing or construction. While there may be some truth to this, it is our responsibility as teachers to help students understand the practical everyday applications for math that go well beyond what may be required for a particular job or career.
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