The LD Source
Jan. 16, 2014

State lawmakers face tough choices on Common Core
Education Week
State legislators begin their 2014 sessions this month grappling with the best way forward on the Common Core State Standards in a tricky political climate, with a majority of governors and lawmakers up for election in the fall. For many states, this year will be a key juncture for decisions about the standards — and related exams — before their full weight is felt in classrooms, district offices, and state education departments in the 2014-2015 school year. Many lawmakers will be working to help ensure that state accountability and assessment systems lead to students who are better prepared for study and work after high school, said Jeremy Anderson, the president of the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.More

Feds call on schools to address discipline disparities
Disability Scoop
The Obama administration is issuing new guidance to schools in an effort to reduce the number of minorities and kids with disabilities who needlessly wind up in the hands of law enforcement. Students with disabilities and those from minority groups are disproportionately suspended or expelled, often for petty violations of school rules, federal officials say. The new guidance developed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice is designed to ensure that discipline policies are fair, effective and do not violate students' civil rights. "A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal's office, not in a police precinct," said Attorney General Eric Holder who called out "zero-tolerance" policies that can unintentionally make students feel unwelcome in their schools.More

Is the Education Department nitpicking states over NCLB waivers?
Education Week
There are some alarming revelations in the new No Child Left Behind Act waiver reports issued by the U.S. Department of Education. At least three states — Idaho, Mississippi, and New York — aren't faithfully implementing the turnaround principles in their lowest-performing priority schools, for example. And Delaware isn't ensuring that its focus schools actually implement interventions for struggling subgroups of students.More

Dyslexia screening bill goes to Christie
Press of Atlantic City
New Jersey's Senate unanimously passed a bill calling for the screening of schoolchildren for reading disabilities. Unless the bill is vetoed by the governor, the vote brings to an end a nine-year battle by Beth Ravelli, of Ocean City, and her daughter, Samantha, to get better services for children with dyslexia and other reading disabilities.More

Retiring Rep. George Miller called 'staunch advocate' for students with disabilities
Education Week
Christina Samuels, a contributor for Education Week, writes: "California lawmaker George Miller, a Democrat who has been deeply involved in education policy efforts for decades, plans to retire from Congress when his term ends at the end of the year. My colleague Alyson Klein has a thorough write-up of Miller's impact on education issues over the course of a long career. But his efforts to ensure that the needs of students with disabilities were not an afterthought will be particularly missed, said Kim Hymes, the senior director of policy and advocacy services for the Council for Exceptional Children, based in Arlington, Va."More

Is the Education Department nitpicking states over NCLB waivers?
Education Week
There are some alarming revelations in the new No Child Left Behind Act waiver reports issued by the U.S. Department of Education.More

In plain language: 5 big FAQ's about dyslexia
Psychology Today
Psychologists, cognitive scientists and neuroscientists are unraveling the mysteries of dyslexia. But if you are a parent, teacher or caregiver, it may be hard to read and comprehend the latest research.More

Common Core's promise collides with IEP realities
Education Week
One of the most promising elements of common academic standards for students with disabilities, say experts in special education, is that they offer explicit connections from one set of skills to another.More

The surprising reasons kids cheat in school
Much like an unfaithful partner, a cheating student usually shoulders the entire blame for his misdeed, even when there might be other crucial dynamics at play. A recent story in The Atlantic highlights a new book by James M. Lang, associate professor of English at Assumption College, called Cheating Lessons: Learning From Academic Dishonesty, in which he explores these dynamics and sets out to rid his classes of cheating.More

Wonder, prediction and student engagement
Dr. Richard Curwin, the director of graduate program in behavior disorder at David Yellin College, writes: "A sense of wonder and the need to predict — these are two of the qualities that enrich all of us. We wonder about big things (is there life on other planets?), smaller things (if I write to a friend that I've had a falling out with, will I get an answer?), and smaller yet (what will happen if I marinate my chicken in beer?). Not only is it fun to predict, but prediction is also a strong part of being safe (if the pot recently boiled, I should probably grab it by the insulated handle)."More

Your brain is not the hard-wired machine you think it is
Psychology Today
For many years, it was believed that the human brain is essentially hardwired — that we are born with a set of cognitive abilities, which are more or less unalterable for the rest of our lives. But the discovery of neuroplasticity — our brain's ability to selectively transform itself in response to certain experiences — has proven to be one of the biggest paradigm shifts that neuroscience has seen over the last 25 years. Simply put, neuroplasticity refers to our brain's malleability — its ability to respond to certain intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by reorganizing and building its structure, function and connections.More