Major News Organization covers PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Month
“Huffington Post” blogger Cathy Chester shared the sad but true stories in her Oct. 7 post about two young children who were the targets of bullying, and chronicled PACER’s efforts during National Bullying Prevention Month to ensure that all children can be safe. The influential website is one of many national news organizations that have covered PACER’s efforts to raise awareness for bullying prevention throughout October, including the “New York Times,” “USA Today,” ABC News, and dozens of local TV newscasts across the country. Read more
PACER Parent Advocate Offers Insight into Behavior of 9-year-old Stowaway
The story of a 9-year-old Minneapolis boy who snuck onto a Delta Airlines flight to Las Vegas Oct. 3 has been making headlines across the country for nearly two weeks. In an interview with the Twin Cities’ FOX News affiliate, PACER parent advocate Renelle Nelson said the boy’s behavior was an indication that he needed attention and was not getting it. “When you’ve got a 9-year-old who is doing significant behavior like that — to me that’s a cry for help,” she said. PACER offers a variety of resources for parents of children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Watch the FOX9 report.
Department of Education Proposes to Eliminate "2 Percent Rule" in Assessing Students with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education has proposed new regulations that would end states’ ability to use alternate assessments based on modified academic standards (AA-MAAS) for students with disabilities as part of Elementary and Secondary Education Act accountability requirements. Currently States can count scores of up to 2% of students using alternate assessments when determining proficiency rates. Under the proposed regulations, all students will be tested using accessible general assessments based on the same college and career ready standards.
StarTribune - Science and math camp encourages middle-school girls with special needs
Until last week, Courtney Thompson had never really thought about how M&Ms are made. But then she watched an experiment by scientists from IBM who used the candy to illustrate ideas behind quality-control testing.
And now, the 16-year-old from Apple Valley thinks project management is “pretty cool.”
“Do you know which kind of M&M has the fewest defects?” she asked. “It’s yellow. But I like the brown ones.”
Janet LaBreck Confirmed as Commissioner of RSA
Recently, the Senate confirmed President Obama’s nominee, Janet LaBreck, to be the Commissioner of RSA at the U.S. Department of Education. As the RSA Commissioner in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Janet will provide key leadership to States and other critical stakeholders in ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to high-quality services and supports in order to obtain meaningful, competitive employment and live independently in their communities. Through programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Assistive Technology, Protection and Advocacy, and Independent Living, as well as others, RSA provides comprehensive and coordinated services to maximize employability, economic opportunities, and independent living. As Commissioner, Janet will work with other Federal agencies, state agencies, professional organizations, service providers, and with other organizations of persons with disabilities to ensure RSA's continued leadership in improving outcomes and results for individuals with disabilities.
Janet's nomination comes at a critical time. While the economy recovers, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains unacceptably high, and particularly so for youth with disabilities. Our economy demands a talented and diverse workforce. President Obama has called on the Federal Government to hire an additional 100,000 workers with disabilities by 2015. Senator Harkin joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in setting a goal to increase the size of the disability workforce from under five million to six million by 2015. Janet brings the type of skills, experience, and leadership necessary to help make the goals a reality. I look forward to Janet’s partnership in helping OSERS implement programs in a way that truly reflects our commitment to inclusion, equity, and opportunity for children and adults with disabilities.
Janet’s experience and knowledge will strengthen the role of RSA Commissioner. Currently, Janet is the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB), a position she has held since 2007. Janet joined the MCB in 1985 as Consumer Advocate. She has served in a number of positions at the MCB since then, including Independent Living Coordinator, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, and Regional Director of Central Massachusetts. Since 2005, she has worked as an Adjunct Professor at Assumption College, where she teaches courses in rehabilitation of the blind and case management in rehabilitation. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the New England College of Optometry. She received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and an M.Ed. from Springfield College.
Minnesota Office of Special Education State Determination Letter for Minnesota
Each state reports annually to the public on the performance of each of its local educational agencies according to the targets in its SPP. The state also reports annually to the Secretary on its performance in meeting its SPP targets. This report is called the Part B Annual Performance Report (APR), this report must also be posted on the state's website.
The Office of Special Education Programs' (OSEP) responses to the states' SPP and APRs are posted on this page as letters are issued.
Minnesota Department of Education - New Guidance Regarding Pregnant and Parenting Students
On June 25, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance to clarify a school’s responsibilities to pregnant and parenting teens. The accompanying pamphlet, “Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,” urges schools to support young parents so that they can stay in school. The pamphlet provides detailed information regarding a school’s obligations towards young parents in addition to extensive recommendations and strategies to assist educators in supporting young parents.
Title IX Protections Regarding Young Parents
Under Title IX, it is illegal for schools to exclude pregnant or parenting students from participating in any part of an educational program, including extracurricular activities. The school must treat pregnant students in the same way they treat other students with temporary medical conditions. Schools must excuse a student’s absences because of pregnancy and childbirth for as long as medically necessary, and a student must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before her medical leave began. In addition, the school must take prompt and effective steps to end any pregnancy-related harassment.
Although schools may develop special programs or classes for pregnant or parenting students, they must be comparable to other programs with regard to the range of academic, extracurricular, and enrichment opportunities. If the alternative program provides only vocational-track courses, with no opportunity for advanced academic or college-preparatory classes, it would not be considered comparable. Participation must be completely voluntary on the part of the student, and a school may not pressure a pregnant student to attend the program.
Questions may be addressed to Carolyn Ellstra at Carolyn.email@example.com or 651-582-8366.
The Hill Congress Blog - Finding jobs for Cole and his peers
Most people think of me as a Member of Congress and Chair of the House Republican Conference. But my husband and I are also the proud parents of Cole, a delightful and fun 6 year old boy who also happens to have Down syndrome. Because 70 percent of working age Americans with disabilities are currently outside of the workforce, as compared to 28 percent of those who don’t have disabilities, I have already considered Cole’s path to a job where he can have the ability to achieve independence, feel respected and valued, and bring value to his employer.
The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness - Child Count Site
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Suggested Model for Written Notification of Parental Rights Regarding Use of Public Benefits or Insurance
On February 14, 2013, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services published the final regulations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to amend 34 CFR Section 300.154(d). This amendment, governing the use of public benefits of insurance, includes a new requirement for public agencies to provide written notification to a child’s parents before accessing a child’s or parent’s public benefits or insurance for the first time and annually thereafter. The attached document includes a memorandum explaining the final regulations and a suggested model for written notification of parental rights regarding use of public benefits or insurance.