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AM News: Obama Moves To Tighten Special Education Scrutiny

News2A 'Major Shift' In Oversight Of Special Education NPR: Education Secretary Arne Duncan announces new measures for ensuring that students with disabilities are making progress.

Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses NYT: The Education Department said that it would evaluate growth in students with disabilities over time and will compare their test scores with those of students not designated with special needs.

MPS lacks capacity to provide basics to special-ed students, external audit finds MinnPost: At its Tuesday night meeting, the Minneapolis board of education will get harsh news about an external audit that found the district lacks the capacity to effectively provide even basic programming to its special-education students.

States' special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama ... Washington Post: The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more- stringent criteria that drop the number of jurisdictions in compliance..

We're off to the reauthorization races Vox: The Senate proposal focuses on easing the burden of student loan debt, plus holding for-profits accountable. The House proposal adopts some of the recommendations that outside groups have urged to help students complete college, mostly the less controversial ones, and calls for rolling back most of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda on higher education.

House Republicans to Begin Work on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act PK12: Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee plan to introduce a series of bills this week as part of their efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, a sweeping piece of federal legislation that includes the entire student loan system.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Three districts rewrite rules for campus police EdSource Today: Oakland Unified, San Francisco Unified and Pasadena Unified are revamping their policies to ensure that police are called as a last resort.

CPS softens strict discipline policies WBEZ: It’s something CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she noticed when she first started working in Chicago. “It’s the strictest zero-tolerance policy that I’ve ever seen in the country,” Byrd-Bennett said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “We have a broad range of suspendable offenses. For example, we’re the only major school district that allow(s) for out-of-school suspensions for cell phone use.”

NYC Student Tackles the Last Test Standing Between Her and a High School Diploma WNYC: When Radio Rookie Danielle Motindabeka came to the United States at age 13, she didn’t speak English. By the time she was in high school, Danielle had mastered the language well enough to pass six Regents exams and maintain an 85 average. There was just one thing keeping her from earning a diploma: the U.S. History Regents exam.

Arne Duncan to New Orleans education conference: 'We need more teacher ... The Times-Picayune: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says "far too many effective educators" are leaving the field early, and part of the problem is a lack of opportunities to make their voices heard.

Reading aloud to young children benefits brain development PBS NewsHour: The nation’s largest pediatricians group is now formally urging parents to read aloud to their children daily from infancy. The American Academy of Pediatrics says doing so stimulates early brain development and helps build key language, literacy and social skills.

Kaplan to Buy Software-Development School Dev Bootcamp WSJ: In a sign that coding schools may become bigger players in higher education, Kaplan Inc. plans to announce on Wednesday that it is buying Dev Bootcamp, a two-year-old school that offers nine-week crash courses to aspiring software developers.  

Edtech Investments Cool to $305M in Q2 2014 EdSurge: As June winds down, we’re getting our first look at the answer. The edtech industry received over $305 million dollars in VC investment in the second quarter of 2014, according to our preliminary analysis of deals reported in EdSurge and those logged in CrunchBase.


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The Obama administration's announcement of special needs education regulatory changes perfectly illustrates what's wrong with this administration when it comes to education. By waving a magic regulatory wand, the administration changes the rules and places the majority of states out of compliance with its wished-for world; it pretends it can change the world, in this case change the number of right answers special needs students get on NAEP (!), by changing its regulations. Are these people sane? Of course you probably can raise the number of right answers on those tests by directing far more resources towards those pupils than towards the majority; but special needs pupils already receive significantly more resources, on a per-pupil spending basis, than most pupils do; and the only way you're going to narrow that outcome gap will be to further increase the newly emerging gap in equal protection of the opportunity to access those state financial resources that might allow more normal pupils to keep up with future competitors overseas who are not burdened with Secretary Duncan's social ideology.

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