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Another complication of NCLB and special education is the so-called "N number" provision. Basically, as you all know, NCLB accountability provisions are based on the idea of sub-groups: no longer can schools "mask" their floundering minority groups by averaging their low scores with the high scores of their majority groups. Sounds good, right?

Well…as always, the devil is in the details. Under the law, states are allowed to establish a minimum number of students in a sub-group before they have to report the subgroup's scores. That minimum number is the "N number." It is based on the idea that schools should only be judged on their subgroups if there is a statistically significant sample size. For example, the typical N Number is 40. So a school only is accountable for, say, English Language Learner scores if there are 40 or more ELL students in the school. If there are only 39, then the scores, while still reported, don't "count" towards AYP.

The problem is that the N Number provision has been abused in many instances to carve out millions of special education, ELL, and minority children from the protection of the NCLB system. Some states have set very high N Numbers and thus papered over the fact that they are not serving the special education students in their schools.

The morale? Always read the fine print.

you know the best part of all of this??? two years ago we would have balked at an assignment like this, and now look how well all of us can write objectives and IEPs and unit plans!!! we have come soooo far….

Re: Group Two IEP by torib3atorib3a, 03 Aug 2007 15:56

I appreciate Najla's point that "teachers are supposed to be available to support their students with individualized attention, even if that child does not have an IEP." This has been an area of personal concern for me in my classes - mandated accommodations for SPED students tend to take precedent over strategic class-wide differentiation. This is problematic, as I'm sure that we all have students that we suspect are exceptional learners who are outside of the special education system. This past year, I taught a student with mild autism, who was not even tested for SPED services because of his parents fear of exploitation. This alone poses concern - his parents are immigrants and uninformed about American education systems.

Secondly, I found that a re-occurring theme in my critical analysis papers was the necessity for teachers to put the student before the exceptionality, difference, or disability, that is, to hold high expectations for every students' learning. Reflecting upon my attitudes and expectations for the students I have taught over the past two years, I demanded less rigor from those students receiving SPED services. This is in part because I was unsupported by the SPED department, and uneducated in how best to provide the alternate assessments and accommodations each student required without sacrificing rigor.

I'm left torn - how can a teacher avoid changing the kinds of expectations they hold for students based on whether or not the receive (or suspect they should receive services) but without changing the level of those expectations. Further, since we teach primarily minority students, what are the implications of which minority groups or kinds of exceptionalities are and are not over-represented in our schools' SPED programs?

Another perspective on this issue is the libertarian one. Libertarians argue against government intrusion on the liberty of individuals. (Full disclosure: I am not a Libertarian, although I once worked for one…)

They are often found in the ideological wing of the Republican party, but they can often take less partisan positions (e.g., they tend to be very suspicious of all authorities, including the police and the military). I thought of the Libertarians in the context of this discussion because they are the same people who would legalize prostitution, fight for the right to sell your organs, and more recently argue against the practice of circumcising babies (without their consent). Under their view of the world, personal liberty is paramount and therefore people should have the right to do with their bodies what they choose.

So what would a Libertarian say about our debate on genetics? Well…I suppose their stance on any abortion depends (once again) on when they consider "life" to begin. If abortion is about women controlling their own bodies, then they would be pro-choice and definitely have no problem with women terminating pregnancies for any reason at all, including genetic test results. If, on the other hand, they believe a fetus is an individual deserving the full benefit of autonomous beings, then they would probably object.

So where does that leave my comment? I'm not sure. It seems to once again reduce to the abortion issue. But I thought it would be helpful to come at it from a different perspective than what we have thus far been considering….

So, with all this talk about closed captioning and then our other class on technology and the use of the Internet for instruction, I started wondering about how hearing impaired children would listen to videos/programs on the web, given that it is one of the most accessed technological tool for young people today. And, I found a great article on it from Wired: I had never heard of this technology before, but it sounds great!

Web Closed Captioning Simplified
Karen Solomon 03.31.00 | 3:00 AM
A new freeware tool allows creators of streaming audio and video to make their websites more accessible to the sight- and hearing-impaired by adding captions and subtitles, as well as voice-over descriptions of images, to Web-based multimedia and CD-ROMs.
The Media Access Generator, nicknamed MAGpie, was released last week by the National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH-TV in Boston.
"There's no other utility available that allows users to automate the [captioning] process," said MAGpie project manager Geoff Freed. "Before MAGpie, if you wanted to add captions, you had to type in formatting codes and timecodes. To caption a 10-minute clip, it took two to three hours. With MAGpie's automation, it takes about 30 to 40 minutes."
MAGpie, a PC-only application, supports the most popular media streaming technologies, including RealNetworks, Windows Media, and QuickTime.
Developers import the text to be captioned into MAGpie, and have the option of changing fonts or adding color. MAGpie drops in the text or voiceover and automatically assigns the timecodes to the captions. It then saves the merged files in the popular streaming formats.
"I tried to code before MAGpie, but it was way too difficult," said Jeff Pledger, president and CEO of, a network of programming for the disabled.
Pledger, a blind Web developer, said that while entering the text to create the captioned video streams may be time-consuming, it "provides access where there was none before."
"We know how difficult it is to get people to pay attention to accessibility on the Web, and part of that difficulty is [that] making websites accessible takes a lot of time," said Chuck Hitchcock, chief technology officer at the Center for Applied Special Technology. "Every tool that makes it easier for developers to make media accessible is of a great benefit to disabled persons."
Twenty-two million people in the United States are deaf or hearing-impaired, but NCAM believes the audience for MAGpie may be even greater.
Freed said that educators can use captions as teaching tools, and that video subtitles help teach vocabulary to children and people learning foreign languages.
To enjoy captioned video or audio broadcasts, Web users don't need additional hardware or software, but they may need to change settings on the RealNetworks, Windows Media, or QuickTime players to turn on captioning. The RealNetworks G2 is the only player that allows users to hear audio descriptions of images.
Web viewers without a soundcard, or those whose working environment isn't conducive to sound, can also enjoy "hearing" captioned audio or video.
Freed said the text captions are searchable, which adds more functionality to websites.
NCAM has been dispensing information to developers who tried to make their website more accessible for years, and it hopes that simplifying the captioning process will make the practice more common.
"I'm hoping all developers will take advantage of this program that makes it so much easier," Freed said. "We've removed the excuses [for not making content accessible]. It's just part of good design that your website and all its components are accessible to everybody, and now it's much easier to do."
Hitchcock said that in the same way closed-captioned television is used in bars, everyone would benefit from MAGpie, not just the hard of hearing or deaf. But the software is crucial for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to gain access to information, he said.

Introduction: I am currently taking a leave from the classroom to work as a policy and communications deputy for Strong American School’s ED in ’08 campaign, and issue campaign funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to make education a priority issue in the 2008 presidential election. I am consequently learning a great deal about political campaigning through an education policy lens, and am experiencing what indirect impact work in education looks and feels like, as opposed to the direct impact I had on my students as a classroom teacher.
I also anticipate serving as a Teach for America-CRSS School Board Fellow, through which I will be paired with a mentor on the DCPS school board in order to gain insight into school board systems and operations. I will also complete a collaborative project over the course of six months with my school board mentor. After having taught in the District of Columbia Public Schools for two years, I feel heavily invested in this city and the unique position of its schools, particularly in light of the mayor takeover. There are impressive changes underway in DC, and I seek the ability not only to observe these changes, but also to discuss them and follow their implementation with a school board member.

Objective #1: I will act as a school board member liason to one or more schools, attending meetings and communicating concerns around the area of SPED and ELL classroom equity and support.

Measurable Outcomes: I will produce a summary policy report assessing current supports in place for students with exceptionalities, and offering research based recommendations.

Materials: Access to school personal and student data, current research reports and findings concerning special education in DCPS and in similar student populations. Communication with school board member and liasons at Chancellor’s office.

Assessment: Summary report will be submitted and discussed with school board member, with possible introductions of recommendations.

Objective #2:I will actively work to address the needs of exceptional learners in drafting communication and policy for the ED in ’08 campaign.

Measurable Outcomes: Policy memos and Op-ed pieces that raise awareness for the needs for high standards, qualified teachers, and support for learning for all learners, including SPED or exceptional students.

Materials: Current policy research, media contacts, PR Newswire release services and media monitoring

Assessment: Since this a national issue campaign, it is difficult to assess how effective my work as a staffer is in terms of our campaign’s national impact on voters and the candidates. However, certain informal assessments, such as amount of earned media, press release pick-up, and comments on campaign blogs (which I author) will give an indication of the extent to which this message has been distributed and received.

Re: Group Two IEP by RachaelBrownRachaelBrown, 03 Aug 2007 15:45

I also try to use recorded audio books and internet sound clips as much as possible.

Kai, why aren't student tested in kindergarten for speech and other disabilities? I have a nephew the just completed pre-k, who has an obvious speech disabilities. However, he was been tested or serviced for it throughout the school year, and he attended a full-day program.

Ok, so to turn things around a bit. I became interested in learning some of the history of eugenics in the US after reading this article, especially in regard to the Tuskegee Experiments in which poor black men with syphilis were studied and left untreated for the disease so doctor’s could witness the effects of it on humans. This is one of the most high profile instances of public knowledge of what happens when eugenics and race go totally wrong, but it offers an example of the slippery slope we ride when taking matters into our own hands and playing god with our future children.
Here is the link:
and the section on the Tuskegee experiments:
The Tuskegee Scandal
Racism and eugenics came together to produce odious laws, but also to create one of the worst scandals in the history of medicine. In 1929 researchers from New York decided to observe the course of a disease if it was not treated at all. They recruited hundreds of poor black men with syphilis, and watched them for 40 years — without treating them. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease; untreated, it can lead to tumors, blindness, deafness, paralysis and death.
In 1925, there was a meeting of the Advisory Council of the Milbank Fund, a philanthropic group that worked "for the promotion of health, the lowering of the death rate, the increasing of the efficiency rate and the lengthening of the average American life." The council discussed care of the elderly, and the meeting was downbeat. According to a report in Birth Control Review (January 1925, p. 22), they were asking questions like, "Is it really worthwhile to live long?" and "How much are we willing to pay, in cash, for added years of existence?"
One participant, Dr. William H. Welch, Director of the School of Hygiene of Johns Hopkins University, asked, "Aren't we just keeping the unfit alive at the expense of the fit instead of letting nature do the weeding?" While that meeting was about care of the elderly, a few years later, the Milbank Fund put up cash for a callous study of "letting nature do the weeding." Starting in 1929, Milbank provided the funds to recruit the victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, by offering to pay $50 apiece for their burial expenses. In 1932, the federal government took over the study, but Milbank continued to pay for the burials. After treatment for syphilis became available in 1936, the men were still not told they had syphilis, still not treated. They were told only that they had "bad blood."
The governmental body that took charge of the study was the U. S. Public Health Service, which is led by the U. S. Surgeon General. The Surgeon General at that time was Dr. Hugh S. Cumming, who had been a member of the Advisory Council of the American Eugenics Society in its early days and lent his prestige to the organizers of the Second International Congress of Eugenics.
The purpose of the Public Health Service is to protect the health of society. When an epidemic is spreading, it is the PHS that has responded, by necessary but inconvenient means like imposing quarantines on ships that may be carrying infected passengers. A quarantine — isolating people who may be carrying a contagious disease — makes sense when you are fighting smallpox. But there is a danger of abusing quarantines. For example, many eugenicists wanted to impose a quarantine of the "feeble-minded," in order to keep them from breeding. When Robert Yerkes ran his intelligence tests that were used to justify laws restricting immigration, he was working for the Public Health Service. And the anti-immigration laws were understood at least in part as a public health measure.
Apparently, it was easy for public health concerns to blur the differences between contagious diseases, mental problems, and even unwanted ethnic groups. And syphilis among blacks seemed to combine these issues.
Also, a great book on the history of such in the US that I just finished reading, called Medical Apartheid talks at length about what happened in the past when we overstepped our bounds medically to test on humans….should we learn from events of the past? Should we just keep repeating them until we get it right? These are the questions I am left with at the end. Regardless, however, this book is a great read (see description below) so check it out if you have a chance!:

A new report by the American Cancer society shows that African-Americans are still more likely than any other group to develop and die of cancer. The study states that socio-economic factors play the largest role in this disparity - African Americans have less access to health care and information, and are less likely to get screening and medical treatment. Well, a new book offers one answer into why Black Americans deeply mistrust American medicine.

“Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation, abuse and neglect of African Americans. The book reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and the roots of the African American health deficit. It begins with the earliest encounters of Blacks and the medical establishment during slavery, looks at how eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify medical experiments conducted by the government and the military - and offers new details about the infamous Tuskegee Experiments that began in the 1930’s. “Medical Apartheid” also examines less well-known abuses and looks at unethical practices and mistreatment of Blacks that are still taking place in the medical establishment today.

Bob, I have pondered those same questions. To that extent, I also wondered why states don't elect to adopt an "easier" test to ensure students pass… or do some state do that?

After I saw the first question I was a skeptic, but then the second one took me over the edge. At that point it became less serious and I was in a sense judging the responses on what it should be, and not what I thought.

Excellent point about making it a part of our grade! Undoubtedly student would be outraged. Still, it would be rather hard to have my middle-schoolers just upset. Like myself when I was in middle school, they probably see school policies as something out their hands… so how do we educate them of their special powers?

Wow! I almost missed this one. During the past school year I worked for a standardized test development company, this being said I'm still not sure how I feel about standardized tests. I can say two things for certain- it is incredibly, incredibly difficult to write items (aka questions) for these companies. The company I woked for gave a three day seminar about sensitivity to culture, language, sex, race, you-name-it-bais in item writing. It was nearly impossible to write an item that couldn't be thrown out for one reason or another.- AND the criteria for what was acceptable both in terms of vocabulary and assumed prior knowledge of the students varied from state to state. Now, I am not saying that all testing companies are as careful in developing items. This company spent approximate $10,000 per item from the time an item writer (like myself) submitted it to the time a state bought it and used it in their testing in a process that took nearly 6 months to a year. It is an extremely costly and time intensive business that at the end of the day will always remain flawed in some way. A major problem I found was that the requirements and standards and permissions for item writing varied so considerably from state to state. A child taking the 7th grade science test in Hawaii is in no way taking a test which you could reasonably compare to their 7th grade counterparts in New York. I agree with the theory of standardized testing, but find that like other theories, it's better on paper than in practice.

Kami, thanks for sharing that. It is a fine example of how African American male students are tracked into special education classes In addition, your mom provides a fine example of how to counter inequalities. Mad props to her..haha.

Unfortunately, many parents are not as diligent as your mom. Statistics show that many minority parents from low income neighborhoods give the school absolute responsibility in educating their child. Thus, the school's word is bond, (which we know should not be the case). Publishing more articles is a great start. In addition, maybe some nonconformist teachers like myself, should send newsletter homes to these parents with the heading, "YOUR CHILD MAY BE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION BECAUSE HE BLACK," which will be followed up with more information on how to challenge the school.

Because I taught a special education homeroom my goal was to develop accommodation for each student. However, I never received an inclusion teacher, or had access to IEPs. I did the best I could, but I have not experienced as much success as Tori and Kami. However, I now feel better prepared to combat this scenario, (should it happen again), and I will be able to move forward with strategies learned in this class.

Re: Group Two by tbouldintbouldin, 03 Aug 2007 15:16


Next year I will be teaching in Manhattan at the CAS, MS 258. I will be teaching two of the same subjects as I had in DC, social studies, and US History. I made up my mind to move a month ago, and was hired within the same week. The school has much more technology, and much more diversity. I had an opportunity to spend a casual day with the principal and a few teachers and I am truly impressed with their determination, education, and overall commitment.


Though I have gained a lot of experience working in DCPS, the only area I feel unsure in is dealing with children with exceptionalities. This course has helped me in terms of devising strategies, and recognizing certain behaviors. To that extent, upon learning of different exceptionalities, I always recalled certain students that exhibit signs of the exceptionality. Immediately after I feel a bit down that I was not able to serve them. From the course, I have developed several objectives for myself with deal with children with exceptionalities.

1. Compare academic skills with age and others in the same age range. Gather information from former teachers, schools, and parents.
2. Establish consistent routines that provide for a structured and organized day.
3. Allow student more time to transitions by giving the student a notice before the class.
4. Allow student more time to master content. Often time I rushed these students through assignments so they would not get left behind, and often moved on without them mastering the content.
5. Provide more cues for student. The cues can be visual and verbal. This will allow the student to become more independent and confident.
6. Ensure that the student is trying age-appropriate work, as well as work above and under his age. Last year I kept student in age-appropriate work the entire time.
7. Team plan with the inclusion or special education teacher.

Measurable Outcomes
Because this IEP is written for me as an educator, the measurable outcomes are having students with exceptionalities happy, comfortable, and challenged in the classroom. If students embody these characteristics, I have mastered the objectives.


The only materials that I will need are an open mind, and the patience to seek and understanding of the students.


At the conclusion of each advisory, student will grade me as a teacher in several aspects. This will include allowing appropriate time for assignments, clarifying and re-explaining, offering assignments where students applied information, overall satisfaction, etc (I have used this form in previous years to help me develop better relationships and lesson plans).

Re: Group Two IEP by tbouldintbouldin, 03 Aug 2007 15:12

The quality of the discussion continues, and I want to add and respond to something bankse said earlier. The case you talk of, of the wealthy school district and the parent of the kids with autism trying to get horseback riding paid for by the school: RIDICULOUS!!!!! That, to me, is such an egregious violation of respect for the law and its intent that it makes by head spin. To take advantage of a system that already struggles to meet the needs of our kids, especially when you are in a wealthy district with money yourself, is atrocious and embarrassing.
In answer to Naijla (spelling, sorry, I suck ), I agree that we need to be ever so careful of labels we put on our kids, given that, as long as they are even in the arena of SPED, learning disabled, learning challenged, learning deficit, they will suffer a stigma and be the victim of stereotyping, as few people gather the nuances between the words, continually lumping all students with exceptionalities into a few mass groups. I have to admit that, before this class, my only exposure to special learners were the kids still tracked to be in regular English classes. Thus, while they suffer from mild MR, ADD/ADHD, and a combination of language, visual, and emotional disorders, I was ignorant of deep differences among them all, especially in regard to instructing those students. In retrospect, this is really a class – especially in dc since we do inclusion – should be offered early on in our courses so that we can use the knowledge base to aid our instruction!!!

First, in answer to kholtschlag’s earlier question on articles critiquing the good/bad of NCLB. Here are some links, actually interesting reads as well….

Critique of "No Child Left Behind"
Rethinking Schools, a group dedicated to improving America's public school classrooms, published the following article about the No Child Left Behind Act. (NCLB). The article provides a great explanation about the shortcomings of the act. You can find the article and more information about Rethinking Schools online at:
Equity Claims for NCLB Don't Pass the Test
Spring 2003
By Stan Karp
Supporters of President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" legislation have made a series of claims about how various aspects of the new law will help kids, parents, and schools, especially in poor communities. This month's ESEA Watch takes a closer look at these claims. (Note: ESEA stands for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a combination of the major federal educational programs. No Child Left Behind [NCLB] is the political label given by the Bush Administration to the version of the ESEA that was renewed last year. ESEA and NCLB refer to the same set of federal programs and regulations and are often used interchangeably.)
Claim: Annual standardized testing is the key to bringing school improvement and accountability to all schools. “For too long,” says the Department of Education, “ America 's education system has not been accountable for results, and too many children have been locked in underachieving schools and left behind. … Testing will raise expectations for all students and ensure that no child slips through the cracks.”
Reality: A huge increase in federally mandated testing will not provide the services and strategies our schools and students need to improve. Most states and local districts have already dramatically increased the use of standardized tests over the past two decades, without solving the problems of poor schools. Some estimates are that the new federal law will require states to give more than 200 additional tests at a cost of more than $7 billion.
Many studies show that standardized testing does not lead to lasting increases in student achievement and may in fact reduce it. Researchers at Arizona State University recently completed the largest study ever done on the issue. They concluded that "rigorous testing that decides whether students graduate, teachers win bonuses and schools are shuttered, an approach already in place in more than half the nation, does little to improve achievement and may actually worsen academic performance and dropout rates." (New York Times, 12/28/02)
When schools become obsessed with test scores, they narrow the focus of what teachers do in classrooms and limit their ability to serve the broader needs of children and their communities. Overreliance on testing also diverts attention and resources from more promising school improvement strategies like smaller class size, creative curriculum reform, and collaborative professional development. High-stakes tests push struggling students out of school, and encourage schools to adopt developmentally inappropriate practices for younger children in an effort to "get them ready for the tests." Overuse of testing can also encourage cheating scandals and makes schools and students vulnerable to inaccurate and, at times, corrupt practices by commercial testing firms.
Claim: The new law will use test scores to hold schools accountable for serving all students. For the first time, the spotlight will be put on achievement gaps that schools have traditionally covered up, and schools will be forced to address inequalities in student achievement that they have failed to deal with in the past.
Reality: NCLB uses achievement gaps to label schools as "failures," but does not provide the resources or support needed to eliminate them. The law includes an unrealistic and under-funded federal mandate that by 2014, 100 percent of all students (including special education students and English-language learners), must be proficient on state tests. Schools that don't reach increasingly difficult test score targets face an escalating series of sanctions. Instead of an appropriate educational strategy, this is part of a calculated political campaign to leave schools and children behind as the federal government retreats from the nation's historic commitment to improving universal public schooling for all kids.
Inequality in test scores is one indicator of school performance. But test scores also reflect other inequalities in resources and opportunities that exist in the larger society and in schools themselves. Ten percent of white children live in poverty, while about 35 percent of Black and Latino children live in poverty. Why isn't the Bush Administration demanding an end to this kind of inequality? Students in poor schools, on average, have thousands of dollars less spent on their education than those in wealthier schools. About 14 percent of whites don't have health insurance, but more than 20 percent of Blacks and 30 percent of Latinos have no health insurance. Unemployment rates for Blacks and Latinos are nearly double what they are for whites. Can you imagine the federal government saying all crime must be eliminated in 12 years or we'll privatize the police? All citizens must be healthy in 12 years or we will shut down the health care system?
Some politicians are trying to turn the problems of poor schools into a campaign to destroy public education. We need to ask: When did the same politicians who oppose civil rights, affirmative action, more spending for social programs, and universal health care suddenly become champions of poor Black and brown children and their families?
Claim: The new law mandates that students historically exempted from the testing pool, such as special education students and English language learners, must now take tests and have their scores counted. These groups also must achieve "100 percent proficiency" within 12 years. This will force schools to improve student achievement for groups of students who have previously been left behind.
Reality: The inclusion of special education and Limited English Proficient students in the testing calculations will make it harder for schools to reach the unreasonable "adequate yearly progress" targets, but will do nothing to improve educational services to these children. The law's punitive preoccupation with high-stakes testing will narrow curriculum focus and impoverish educational experience for all children. It will also force students to take inappropriate and unhelpful mandated assessments, like tests in languages they don't understand.
If the federal government wanted to help special needs students it would fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as called for repeatedly by education advocates. (The federal government currently provides less than half the funding authorized by the IDEA). It would also support effective bilingual education programs for English language learners and encourage assessment practices that promote content learning and language acquisition simultaneously. Instead, the new regulations will greatly restrict the use of effective bilingual education programs and promote a kind of "English only" intolerance.
Claim: The new federal law gives parents in failing schools more choices.
Reality: The law gives parents the right to take students and money out of struggling schools and to leave those schools behind. But it does not guarantee them any new places to go. In districts where some schools are labeled “failing” and some are not, the new law may force increased class sizes by transferring students without creating new capacity. "No Child Left Behind" does not invest in building new schools in failing districts. It does not make rich districts open their doors to students from poor districts. And it doesn't give poor parents any more control over school bureaucracies than food stamps give them over the supermarkets. It's a “supply-side” fraud designed to manufacture a demand for vouchers and ultimately to transfer funds and students to profit-making private school corporations.
Claim: The new ESEA gives poor schools more resources to improve.
Reality: Overall, the new law boosted Title I funding for poor schools by about 20 percent. But much of that money will be used to take kids and resources out of poor schools through transfers and payments to private providers of "supplemental" services. See Keeping Public Schools Public. Moreover, the test performance targets set by the law are so unrealistic, that in some states as many as 90 percent of all schools — not just poor schools — may be unable to meet them and may ultimately lose federal funds as a result. (New York Times, 11/27/02)
The amounts targeted for internal improvement of "failing schools" are also unclear and uneven. In New Jersey, 274 schools will share $3 million this year in new federal aid targeted for improvement — less than $11,000 per school. In Chicago, 179 schools will share $35 million which yields a more significant average of about $195,000 per school.
But even these funds are threatened by the Administration's war budget. And as more schools are put on the list of "failures," the limited funds will be spread thinner and thinner.
As Paul Houston, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators said, “What happens is you create a situation where there are so many schools failing that there is no support for them. The administration likes to talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations and how this law fights that. But what about the hard bigotry of high expectations without adequate resources?” (Washington Post, 1/2/03)
Claim: The new law puts real pressure on districts to change bureaucratic business as usual, which is why it is generating so much heat.
Reality: The law is generating increasing heat because the incoherence and irrationality of the Bush plan is becoming more evident. Governors and education commissioners from Louisiana to Nebraska are belatedly trying to tell the federal government that it has no business defining high-stakes test score targets for individual schools and districts and for imposing under-funded, top-down school reform mandates from Washington. The federal government provides only seven percent of school funding, but is using federal regulation to drive school policy in conservative directions at the state, district, and school levels. Historically, when it came to things like integration, busing, or defining what kids should learn, politicians, especially Republicans, have always declared that schools should be “locally controlled.” But the new ESEA is the most intrusive federal education law in history. The only thing that's changed is the ideological commitment of some politicians to reform public education out of existence through a strategy of "test and burn." As researcher Gerald Bracey put it, “ESEA is a weapon of mass destruction and its target is the public schools.”

An NPR Story, link:

No Child Left Behind Fails to Close Achievement Gap
by Claudio Sanchez
Weekend Edition Sunday, January 8, 2006 • Four years after the No Child Left Behind Act became law, test results show progress in some areas. But many schools are not reducing the achievement gap between white and minority students, and closing that gap may take longer than the law's requirements.
And, a link to a paper about strengthening NCLB – some good stuff there!!!

Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act.

Hope this helps some!!!

As many other students posted, I had no idea what DVS was, though I do recall seeing the acronym in the lower right hand corner of my television before various shows began. DVS is used to provide a narrative description of what is transpiring on screen, which is excellent for visually impaired students. Taking this one-step further, it can also be used for students with short attention spans, or as a supplement to aid in comprehension. Most times, the descriptions are pre-recorded, which can provide a slight drawback for live programs or programs where DVS is not available.
I have used CC before. I began using it in fifth grade. My parents finally put a small television in my bedroom, but I was only allowed to watch it during the day. I soon figured out that I could mute the television, so my parents could not hear, and turn on captions. This worked wonderfully. In addition, sometimes I would turn on the captions when watching action movies so I would not miss conversations taking place during an explosion or any other loud event. Still, from this experience I found out that the captions are not always 100% correct, and some times words were omitted, or the word order was flawed
Though CC and DVS are not perfect, they are very strong resources for students with visual and hearing impairments. I do believe each offer enough to aid in overall comprehension. I will definitely use both in my classroom in the upcoming school year.

you just hit the nail on the head, girl. i think that is what we have all come to realize over the past few years: our education system in AMAZINGLY racially biased, and our kids suffer at the bottom of the pack. The article by Artiles speaks to what we can do to bring the issue of over-representation of minorities in SPED classes, namely that we

1) must be vocal, affirming the significance of this disproportionate representation
2) we must actively work to shape the creation of new discourses around SPED to force the examination of the issue
3) address larger systematic issues (and overall racial biases in society)

for us, this means we must speak out, we must become advocates for our children, and we must challenge those that want to arbitrarily place them in classes and programs they may/may not need. Overall we must be aware of the larger sociocultural evidence on hand to suggest that this problem is not one to solve overnight, but rather one that requires our full attention and energy to overcome.

Listed below are some basic ways we can advocate for our kids with special needs. These ideas can be used for both parents and teachers, and were taken from the link:

Parents of a child with special needs must learn to effectively navigate the maze of special education laws and go to bat for their kids. In a nutshell, this means they must learn to be advocates.
1. Learn all you can about your child's special needs
Information is power, and parents need to start with the facts about their child's special needs. Try and keep emotion out of it; parents need to have fact-based knowledge from their child's doctors, specialists, special education experts, parents of kids with similar special needs, attorneys, teachers, and anyone else who can provide information.
2. Ask lots of questions and listen to answers
Become like a reporter: Ask questions like, "who, what, where, when, why and when" and then listen carefully to the answers you receive. Research relevant questions and then document responses instead of simply relying on your memory. Learn how to best ask questions and don't come across as antagonistic or defensive to get the best open and honest replies.
3. Become a "pseudo-lawyer" in special education law
Parents of special education kids don't truly need to become lawyers; however, it is good to become extremely knowledgeable about special education law. Learn the details behind the federal law that effectively created special education, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

4. Always avoid the blame game
An adversarial relationship between parents and teachers is typically never in the best interest of the child. It's sometimes easy to fall in the trap of blaming others or even pointing the finger at bureaucracy for disappointments or a particular situation. But blame doesn't typically result in anything more than bad feelings and an ill-willed situation. Instead, avoid blame, and try the opposite approach. Keep calm, know the facts, and advocate about meeting your kid's unique needs.
5. Be a problem-solver, not a problem-maker
Working together to solve problems with a child's teacher or child care provider typically nets better results than becoming a problem maker. Propose solutions or create a possible plan that works best for child-parent-provider/teacher. Be open-minded and hear proposed solutions from the educational side as well.
6. Think long-term and become a futurist
Parents not only have the responsibility of planning their child's education and requirements today; they are also faced with the difficult task of thinking long-term. In other words, parents must be active futurists in setting up their child's successful life down the road.
7. Become a master planner
Parents typically have goals for their kids, and families of special education students in particular should establish goals along with a strategy to obtain them.
8. Really get to know child care provider or teacher
Don't assume that child care providers or teachers don't want to meet your child's unique needs and provide educational benefits. Most do. However, a wide range of need combined with limited resources often create the potential for conflict between what reasonably can be provided vs. parents wanting what they believe is "best" for their kids. Parents and providers/teachers should do everything possible to establish a positive, partnership-based learning approach and team together.


I am entering my fourth year teaching at Community Academy Public Charter School. I will be teaching eighth grade social studies for the 3rd year and also serving as the team leader for all the eighth grade teachers. Although I am still excited to return to school, I am very nervous about this year. For the fourth consecutive year, the school will be under new leadership and the enrollment of the school is increasing. I will also be leaving three/fourths of the way through the school year. This is a major concern for me because our students have abandonment issues because so many teachers they have had leave midway during their school year


 Create a classroom that is welcoming to all, where everyone feels valued.
 Work to ensure that activities are built to encompasses students with identified exceptionalities.
 Worked with other teacher and special educators to identify students with truly have unidentified exceptionalities or learning difficulties

Measurable Outcomes

 The first week of school will be spend using Responsive Classroom teambuilding activities so that everyone including myself learns something about each other in a positive, fun way.
 Throughout the year, I will make sure that work samples from all students get displayed in the room.
 I will meet with parents at least one a grading period and communicate with parents at least once every two weeks.
 I will meet with the special education team during the first week of school to discover special education students in my classes and pass this information on to other teachers on my team.
 I will create an accommodations matrix that list each special education and their suggested accommodations and use this to guide my lesson planning.
 Review work and reflect on the performance of students that may need I.E.P.s or 504 plans.
 Provide twice weekly afternoon tutoring in my subject area to ensure students that need extra help are able to receive it.

Materials and Accommodations
 I.E.P. Matrix
 Parent Communication log
 Teacher Reflection area on each lesson plan

 On days when students work on their portfolios, I will try to meet with each of them to discuss their classroom performance and grades. I will also work with parents and other professionals in the building to ensure that students are receiving as much as they can from my daily classwork and assignments

Re: Group Three IEP by AngelaRAngelaR, 03 Aug 2007 06:57
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