A growing crisis in special education

Our daughter Mae is 4. She has Down syndrome, and we are fighting to keep her in school.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and in any other year we would work with friends, families, and organizations to fund-raise, advocate, and spread awareness for those who share Mae’s diagnosis.

But, of course, this is unlike any other year. As the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic drags on, we have had to work harder than ever to advocate for basic educational rights and services for all children with special needs.

When schools began shutting down in March, families across the nation were faced with the reality that their children with special needs would lose the services and professional therapies that are provided through public school systems once a child reaches the age of 3.

More than seven months have passed since children have experienced a normal school day. Remote learning is

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Del. will double funding to settle education equity lawsuit

The state of Delaware has settled a 2018 lawsuit that accused the state of being complicit in the disparities experienced by students who are low income, have disabilities or are English language learners.

As part of the settlement between Gov. John Carney, the NAACP of Delaware and Delawareans for Educational Opportunity, the state will allocate millions of dollars in funding to support students who are most in need.

“Delaware’s current educational resource allocation system does not recognize the additional needs of children living in poverty and English learners. That system is outdated and inequitable,” said Karen Lantz, legal and policy director at the ACLU of Delaware, which represented the plaintiffs along with the national law firm Arnold & Porter and the Community Legal Aid Society.

“Our expectation is that this settlement will begin systemic changes that result in a fundamental shift in how resources are allocated, so every student in

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Genesee County ISD special education funding formula violates state law, judge says

FLINT, MI — The formula used to funnel some special education dollars through the Genesee Intermediate School Distrct to local districts violates state law, an administrative law judge has said.

For Flint schools, this could mean the district will get more special education funding because it has a higher than average percentage of special education students. It also could mean less money for school districts with a high total student count but lower percentage of special education students, like Grand Blanc Community Schools.

As it currently stands, the GISD Mandatory Plan appropriates $3.8 million of Act 18 special education funds back to local districts based on a three-part formula: 1. Total special education headcount 2. Full-time-equivalent (FTE) special education student head count 3. Total FTE headcount. FTE head count is adjusted for part-time student numbers. These three factors are currently equally weighted.

However, Administrative Law Judge Michael St. John in

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Special Olympics Maine recognizes Bath high school for inclusive program

Members of Morse High School’s unified sports teams accepted a banner from Special Olympics Maine Friday recognizing the school for its involvement in the organization’s Unified Champion Schools program. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

BATH — It’s the last minute of the final game for Morse High School’s unified basketball team, which boasts an equal number of students with and without disabilities. Shots are taken, missed, and taken again as the clock ticks down until the buzzer sounds and every player, coach and spectator erupts into cheers, applause and congratulations. Who wins isn’t remembered, but the sense of acceptance every student feels will last a lifetime.

The unified basketball team is just one part of Morse High School’s involvement with Unified Champion Schools, a Special Olympics Maine program aimed at fostering a sense of social inclusion, respect and acceptance for all students and teachers. The Bath high school received

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DC charters offer innovations in pandemic-era education

WASHINGTON (AP) — Returning to school in the nation’s capital during the pandemic has proven to be an ongoing experiment in learning — and not just for students.

Tall, three-sided partitions were set up at Meridian Charter School to protect students against COVID-19 — until administrators learned that the enclosures wouldn’t do much to prevent spread of the virus. Now the cardboard is optional, but more than half of the students still use them as personalized organizers — taping up calendars, decorations and schedules.

“It’s all a learning experience, and it’s all playing out in real time,” said Matt McCrea, Meridian’s head of school.

While most of Washington’s 52,000 public school kids are dealing with computer screens and Zoom rooms in a remote learning environment, about a dozen charter schools have essentially chosen to become medical-educational experiments, offering in-person instruction for select groups of students.

Smaller and more nimble than

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Vizzle Revamps Special Education Learning Platform, Expands Accessibility Amid Continued COVID-19 School Disruptions

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent school closures, special education learning platform, Vizzle has enhanced their virtual platform and increased accessibility for parents and school districts struggling with increased needs and decreased budgets.

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent school closures, special education learning platform, Vizzle has enhanced their virtual platform and increased accessibility for parents and school districts struggling with increased needs and decreased budgets.

CLEVELAND, Oct. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent school closures, special education learning platform, Vizzle has enhanced their virtual platform and increased accessibility for parents and school districts struggling with increased needs and decreased budgets.

Vizzle is the only student-facing, online, Special Education Platform that treats each student as an individual striving to meet their specific goals. As learning environments shift between the classroom and home, Vizzle provides students with consistency and school districts

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HISD trustees approve $17M bump in special education spending

Houston ISD trustees voted Thursday to approve spending an additional $17 million on special education in 2020-21, money that will pay for contracts with organizations providing services to students with disabilities and hiring more staff.

The multimillion-dollar increase, approved by an 8-0 vote with one trustee abstaining, comes one week after state officials issued a blistering report that leveled numerous criticisms of the district’s special education department. However, Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan gave no indication that her request for more money is a direct response to the investigation, which her administration dismissed as “factually and legally incorrect.”

Lathan said Thursday that the district would use the money to boost several services offered to students, including those with speech, language and hearing disabilities. HISD also would increase the number of intensive intervention teams, a group of staff members dispatched to campuses to provide special education supports.

“We already have the plan

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Texas flouted special education guidelines for therapy, U.S. officials say

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Texas has failed to ensure children with developmental delays have early access to speech and occupational therapy and other services, according to a letter ​written this week by U.S. education officials who say the state is not complying with federal special education guidelines.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has three months to draw up a plan to ensure that a program that pays for infants and toddlers to receive such early intervention therapies is reaching all eligible Texans, federal officials wrote. Failure to do so could cost the state federal funding.

After years of budget cuts in Texas caused nonprofit therapy providers to drop out of the program, U.S. Department of Education officials found Texas to be in “significant noncompliance” with education guidelines on early intervention services.

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‘We Were Cut Short of His Time Here’

facebook Leo Lugo

A special education teacher in New Mexico is dead after contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to his family.

Leo Lugo, 56, died on Sunday after he was hospitalized on a ventilator and placed in a medically induced coma, ABC affiliate KVIA reported.

The outlet reported that the Chaparral High School educator was among six relatives, including his 91-year-old mother, who tested positive for COVID-19.

“He was a great guy. We didn’t expect Leo to go like this,” his brother Mike Lugo said. “It took my brother, and it took him only a week to go.”

RELATED VIDEO: South Carolina Teacher, 28, Dies from Coronavirus 3 Days After Testing Positive

According to Lugo’s sister-in-law, every day got “worse and worse and worse until the end” for the teacher.

“This is real,” Bertha Lugo said of the coronavirus. “We were cut short of his time here.”

Lugo began

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Total of 106 students, 57 staffers test positive for COVID in Massachusetts schools over the last week, education officials report

Massachusetts school districts have reported 106 new coronavirus cases over the last week among students who are learning in-person or through hybrid instruction, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Additionally, DESE reports 57 new COVID-19 cases among district staff members. The new cases reflect reporting between Oct. 1 through Oct. 7 across school districts, charter schools, collaboratives and approved special education schools.

The data includes positive cases for students in hybrid or in-person learning models, excluding students in districts that are learning only remotely. Staff cases include employees who have been in a district building within the seven days before the report of the positive case.

Notably, there were eight new cases among students in Haverhill schools, five among students in Hudson schools and Burlington schools and four among students in Hingham schools. Every other district saw three or fewer new cases, with the vast majority

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