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Asked and answered
November 14, 2018
Are special education reforms moving too slowly? Chicago monitor responds to criticism.
"There’s been a lot of broken trust between parents and schools, parents and central office, parents and administrators," Chicago schools special education monitor says
October 26, 2018
More teachers are running for state office this year. Meet two from Tennessee.
In a wave of political activism, more than 150 teachers nationwide are seeking legislative office this year. Tennessee is part of that movement.
August 20, 2018
VIDEO: How a Detroit special education advocate tries to help parents
This special education advocate said parents have to be sure to document everything, and stay calm — no matter what.
July 16, 2018
Tell us your stories about children with special needs in Detroit
Chalkbeat Detroit is teaming up with the Detroit Parent Network to hear your special needs stories
choice and competition
May 22, 2018
It’s not just Detroit. Across Michigan, ‘active and aggressive’ competition imperils schools
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is holding hearings to determine if the state's students with special needs and minority students have faced discrimination.
May 3, 2018
Detroit district board votes to change name of ‘special education,’ but not everyone agrees it’s ‘exceptional’
The Detroit board of education wants to change the name to give special needs students more "dignity."
March 29, 2018
Experts question Detroit district chief’s wish to create new schools for kids with special needs
On the carpet inside a language arts class, three boys quietly play a word game with their teacher. In the same room, on…
choice for most
August 10, 2017
Chalkbeat explains: When can private schools discriminate against students?
Here’s your guide to understanding when, why and how private schools can say no to some students.
November 30, 2016
These private schools will be Tennessee’s first to accept special education vouchers
Launching in 2017, the state's new voucher program allows parents to receive public money for private special education services.
January 28, 2016
Want to keep school vouchers out of Tennessee? You’re too late
While the legislature is engulfed in debate over whether to create a school voucher system, the state already has a voucher law being implemented for disabled students.
May 20, 2015
At 86 percent, Tennessee’s on-time high school graduation rate outpaces the nation, report says
The state's on-time high school graduation rate is outpacing the rest of the nation and moving steadily toward 90 percent by 2020, a report says.
June 19, 2012
Diploma rules for students with disabilities raise hope and fear
For months, advocates for students with special needs have been pushing the state to reconsider a safety net meant to help those students graduate. But when the state’s top education policy-makers sat down in Albany Monday to discuss the issue, they instead floated the idea of making graduation requirements even easier for students who have disabilities. This year, for the first time, all students in New York State will have to pass five Regents exams with a 65 or higher in order to graduate. In the past, students have had the option of getting a less rigorous “local diploma” with some scores of 55 or higher, with the number of 65's required inching upward each year. But the elimination of the local diploma doesn’t extend to students who require special education services: They will still be able to graduate with 55's on their transcripts, even on all five required Regents exams. Advocates say that leniency runs the risk of creating a second-class diploma for students with disabilities, similar to the IEP diploma that is being eliminated. Students had to pass exams known as Regents Competency Tests to get the diploma, but earning one did not qualify graduates for college, work, or the military.
May 16, 2012
High-needs enrollment targets could challenge some charters
A screenshot from the state's proposed enrollment targets calculator. It shows the range of target enrollments for a school enrolling 150 students in Brooklyn's District 15. The state is preparing to take a step forward in implementing a two-year-old clause in its charter school law that requires the schools to serve their fair share of high-needs students. When legislators revised the charter school law in 2010, their main objective was to increase the number of charters allowed. But they also added a requirement that charter schools enroll “comparable” numbers of students with disabilities and English language learners, populations that the schools typically under-enroll. What comparability would mean has never been clear — until now. Last week, the state unveiled a proposed methodology for calculating enrollment targets, and it intends to finalize the algorithm at next month’s meeting of SUNY’s Board of Trustees, which oversees charter schools. The targets would vary from school to school and be determined based on the overall ratio of high-needs students in each district. The proposal includes a calculator that determines enrollment targets for any school based on its location, the grades it serves, and the size of its student body. Under the proposed methodology, a charter school with 400 students in grades five through eight in Upper Manhattan’s District 6, for example, would have to enroll 98 percent students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, 15 percent students with disabilities, and 44 percent ELLs. In District 2, which has more affluent families and fewer immigrants, a similar school would be expected to enroll 64 percent poor students and 13.4 percent ELLs. But it would still need to have 15 percent of students with special needs.
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