The LD Source
Nov. 21, 2013

5 takeaways from the Education Department's NCLB waiver about-face
Education Week
Nov. 13, Education Week told you about the big changes the U.S. Department of Education was making to the process states are undertaking to renew their No Child Left Behind Act waivers. No longer will states have to come up with plans to improve the spending of federal professional development money and the distribution of effective teachers to poor and minority children.More

New website offers Common Core lesson plans for special educators
Education Week
Teachers looking for ways to weave technology into Common Core themed lesson plans have a new resource in PowerUp WHAT WORKS, a federally-funded online collaboration between three education research and development organizations. The website, which currently offers resources on 10 English/language arts standards and seven math standards, is meant to appeal both to special education teachers who want to dig deeply into the standards and to those who want "grab and go" strategies that they can implement right away in their classrooms, said Tracy Gray, a managing director at the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes of Research, one of the partners in the website. More

What is developmentally appropriate in learning?
Daniel Willingham: Science And Education Blog via The Washington Post
Daniel Willingham writes, "The New York State Education Department has a website that is meant to help teachers prepare for the Common Core State Standards.Author Chris Cerrone posted a bit of a 1st grade curriculum module on early civilizations. Cerrone asked primary grade educators to weigh in: "What do you think of the vocabulary contained in this unit of study?" The responses in the 78 comments were nearly uniformly negative. As you might expect from that volume of commentary, the criticisms were wide-ranging, much of it directed more generally at standardized testing and the idea of the CCSS themselves. There is an important idea at the heart of this criticism: developmental stages.More

Nationwide, families feel pinch of special education cuts
Disability Scoop
Increased class sizes, decreased services and placement changes are among the effects parents say budget cuts are having on students in special education. In a new survey of more than 1,000 parents of kids with disabilities across the country, more than half said they have seen differences in their child's special education services because of budget cuts in the last year. Among those who cited changes, about 30 percent said their son or daughter's services decreased, nearly a third reported expanded class sizes and 27 percent said the number of service providers at their child's school declined.More

Lower expectations for students with disabilities?
eSchool News
A majority of U.S. states offer multiple paths in high school graduation requirements to students with disabilities, according to a new report. However, what some likely intended as a way to help these students may be hurting their chances at entering post-secondary education and the workforce, which begs the question: Are states ensuring that students with disabilities are college- and career-ready?More

Improving K-12 writing standards: What will it take?
The Huffington Post
While global communication has grown and improved by leaps and bounds in the past two decades, the same cannot be said for K-12 writing skills. A new study released by Gary Troia at Michigan State University finds that K-12 writing standards are stagnant from a decade ago, along with student writing achievement. What's more, Troia says that nearly 25 percent of K-12 students in the U.S. are not performing at a proficient writing level. He takes aim at the Common Core standards for writing and says that though some ideas are strong, others are still not asking enough of student writing success.More

6 ways eBooks can support Common Core
eSchool News
As schools begin implementing the Common Core State Standards, experts say that this could be an opportune time for districts to explore eBooks, specifically because eBooks' technology features can help fulfill many Common Core requirements.More

Education Department loosens NCLB waiver requirements
U.S. News & World Report
Not long after it said states would have to increase their accountability measures to renew No Child Left Behind waivers, the Education Department is scaling back that process. The department announced Aug. 29 that in order to renew the waivers that allow states to get around key requirements of the sweeping education law, they would have to show they are doing a better job of ensuring low-income and minority students are not disproportionately being taught by ineffective teachers, and that they would have to improve their use of federal funds for professional development.More

Lower expectations for students with disabilities?
eSchool News
A majority of U.S. states offer multiple paths in high school graduation requirements to students with disabilities, according to a new report. More

Study: MRI might allow earlier diagnosis of dyslexia
HealthDay News
Brain scans may help diagnose people with the common reading disorder dyslexia, a new study reveals. MRI scans in 40 kindergarten children revealed a link between poor pre-reading skills and the size of a structure that connects two language-processing areas in the brain, the researchers said.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

Getting kids to read: The 5 key habits of lifelong readers
The Washington Post
How do people become lifelong readers? That's a subject tackled in a new book, "Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits," by Donalyn Miller, a sixth-grade language arts teacher in Texas who is known as the Book Whisperer. After her first book, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, was published in 2009, she began to notice that students whom she had taught to be independent readers in her class moved on to the next grade and suddenly stopped reading.More

Cursive handwriting: 7 states fight for cursive writing in school
The Associated Press via The Christian Science Monitor
The swirling lines from Linden Bateman's pen have been conscripted into a national fight to keep cursive writing in American classrooms. Cursive. Penmanship. Handwriting. In years gone by, it helped distinguish the literate from the illiterate. But now, in the digital age, people are increasingly communicating by computer and smartphone. No handwritten signature necessary. Call it a sign of the times. When the new Common Core educational standards were crafted, penmanship classes were dropped. But at least seven of the 45 states that adopted the standards are fighting to restore the cursive instruction.More

Small-group learning boosts test scores
The Courier-Journal
Small groups of second-graders were scattered around Field Elementary School in Crescent Hill working on math recently — including one group seated on the floor in a hallway. All of the students were studying number groupings, included identifying which numbers were in the "ones," "tens" and "hundreds" places in a number such as 742. It was their daily WIN time, which stands for "What I Need," at the school, 120 Sacred Heart Lane, and they were working in different ways — including playing a bingo game — depending on their level of understanding.More

Hybrid learning's promise for personalized education
eSchool News
Some technology trends are just that: trends and fads. Others — like hybrid learning — have sticking power, because they enable students and teachers to personalize teaching and learning. In recent years, hybrid learning — often used interchangeably with blended learning — programs across the nation have skyrocketed. Numerous reports, studies, and research efforts have documented hybrid learning's rise and the benefits it has to offer for today's students, who demonstrate a desire to take more control and ownership over their learning. In essence, hybrid learning gives today's students a pathway to what they have demonstrated they want: a personalized learning experience.More