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Fresh battles loom when full Senate takes up ESEA rewrite
Education Week
The bipartisan rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that the U.S. Senate education committee unanimously approved joins a crush of legislative priorities awaiting debate on the chamber's floor — a process that's not guaranteed, and one that will likely draw intense partisan sparring. Even if the bill breaks through an already-clogged congressional calendar and moves to debate, it could look radically different as senators on both sides of the aisle offer amendments to reshape the measure to their liking.
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On retention, second thoughts about exempting students with IEPs
SpecialEdConnection®, April 13, 2015 Issue Date
The trend over the last several decades has been to move away from protecting people with disabilities to empowering them. This shift is evident on many fronts. On April 2, for example, OSERS and the Labor Department offered a preview of proposed rules to stem the flow of youth with disabilities into facilities that pay less than the minimum wage, usually in segregated settings. Indeed, the historical term for such enterprises, "sheltered workshops," speaks volumes about the old paradigm.
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My child struggles with writing: How can we discover the cause?
By: Howard Margolis
Parents of struggling writers worry about their children's struggle. They see their children's tears. They hear their protests. They feel their pain. And generally, they ask three questions: Why does she struggle? What will help her? Why didn't her (or his) writing evaluations help? In this first of two articles, I'll talk about Sheila, a composite of many struggling writers with whom I've worked. If, like Sheila, your child or student struggles with writing, this article may help both parents and teachers to develop a writing program focused on her needs.
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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

If walls could talk: What lead is doing to our students
Every child's ability to succeed in school is influenced by lots of external factors: teacher quality, parenting, poverty, geography, to name a few. But far less attention has been paid to the power of a child's bedroom walls. Or, rather, the paint that's on them and the lead that may be in that paint. A new study published in the Harvard Educational Review suggests that efforts to reduce kids' lead exposure have led to tangible academic gains in Massachusetts. Researcher Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, an associate professor of economics at Amherst College, has been studying the effects of lead exposure since the 1990s. The metal piqued her interest as a grad student at Harvard, when she was pregnant with her first child and living in older, lead-rich housing.
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  Phonics Approach & Tools Build Accuracy

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Fidgeting helps children with ADHD learn, study suggests
Science World Report
It makes sense that children with attention deficit disorder would be more likely to fidget, but could this behavior also be particularly beneficial for them? New findings published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology reveal that swinging their legs around more or excessively tapping on a table or the like could help them remember information, solve complex problems or partake in certain social situations later in life.
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Senators spar over aid to dyslexic students
Washington Examiner
Members of the Senate education committee sparred over an amendment that would give teachers extra training on teaching students with dyslexia. The amendment eventually failed by two votes in the 22-member committee. The amendment would not mandate that federal funding go towards extra training, but would allow states and local school districts, if they so choose, to use federal funds on training toward identifying dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. Its critics argued that all disabilities, not just specific learning disabilities, should get the support the amendment called for. For example, autism and attention-deficit disorder do not fall under the category of specific learning disabilities.
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  Student-Paced, Mastery-Based Math

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Restraint and seclusion mandate advances in Senate
Disability Scoop
A plan to rewrite the nation's primary education law is set to go before the U.S. Senate and it now includes a provision related to restraint and seclusion in schools. The Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill now heads to the full Senate where it is expected to be considered this spring.
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Low-income kids benefit from music class, show greater reading skills
Medical Daily
Music classes are usually cut first when schools reevaluate their budget. But a new study from Northwestern University shows these classes are valuable, especially to low-income children. Researchers cited that low socioeconomic status affects a child's reading abilities through a combination of their environment and reduced access to reading materials. This means they spend less time reading, which then means their reading fluency and vocabulary is inhibited. Since music and language skills stem from auditory processing, researchers decided to measure the impact music classes have on low-income children.
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Is there such a thing as musical dyslexia?
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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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    His right to recess: ADHD kids should never lose play (ADDitude)
Senate plan retains testing cap for students with disabilities (Disability Scoop)
The evidence for musical dyslexia (Medical Xpress)
Is America nearing the end of the No Child Left Behind era? (The Atlantic)
2 heads are better than 1 — in the right circumstances (By: Pamela Hill)

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5 tech tools that support Common Core State Standards
The Journal
According to the 4th Annual Principals' Assessment of Public Education, 95.7 percent of schools in states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards have implemented or are in the process of implementing the standards. Many of those schools are also getting ready to administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium assessments for the first time. To get a sense of what is working in districts around the country, we asked educators to share the technology tools that they are using to help implement CCSS and prepare students for the upcoming assessments.
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California teachers union, school boards oppose dyslexia testing bill
A new bill would require all kindergarten to third-grade students be screened annually for learning disabilities, specifically for dyslexia. Kelly Sandman-Hurley and Tracy Block-Zaretski, who run San Diego's Dyslexia Training Institute, a private dyslexia advocacy and tutoring company, helped draft the legislation put forward by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, in February. So far three influential organizations have come out against the bill.
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Stay balanced as the school year intensifies
MiddleWeb (commentary)
Elizabeth Stein, a contributor for MiddleWeb, writes: "It's the time of year when our teaching responsibilities are mounted high. We may find ourselves feeling stretched thin by the hectic pace of things we must do and things we should do. If we're lucky we get to do some things we want to do. But it isn't easy. We continue with our regular routines of lesson planning, co-planning, faculty meetings, parent communications and professional development opportunities. IEP's must be reviewed and new IEP's must be written. We can add the testing season, which far too often brings unnecessary stress"
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Kids and anxiety: Many theories exist as to why some kids are anxious and others aren't
The Record
Frustrated parents want to know, "Why?" One in four children suffers from an anxiety disorder during childhood and adolescence, according to experts, but why is this particular child in that 25 percent? Why him instead of his classmate? Why her and not her twin sister? What happened? Why won't it just go away? There are a lot of theories and continuing research as to why some children develop anxiety disorders while others — even those raised in the same environment by the same parents — do not.
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Standing desks simplify collaboration and get kids excited to learn
K-12 TechDecisions
Sitting at a desk for hours a day isn't good for your health. That's one reason the the standing desk phenomenon has taken off in the corporate world. Studies show standing throughout the day increases blood circulation, burns calories and helps to maintain insulin effectiveness. When the Belle Terre Elementary School of the Florida-based Flagler School District saw this trend, members of the technology staff thought, why can't we do that here? If standing desks benefit the health of employees, they can benefit the health of students too.
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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.

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