Children with disabilities who are enrolled in our school district are entitled to appropriate educational services provided at no cost to the child or family. The disability might be in vision, hearing, behavior, physical, learning, health, mental ability, autism, or any combination of these areas.
If you know of a child in Maine School Administrative District No. 72 (Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Lovell, Stoneham, Stow, Sweden) between the ages of three and twenty with a disability and in need of services, call your local school principal or Nancy Hall, Director of Special Services, at (207) 935-2600.
Children with disabilities in our school district who are enrolled in a private school or an approved home schooling program are entitled to certain services, as well. If you are the parent of such a child, please call as indicated above for information of what those rights are.
Pupil Rights Law Allows Parents to Opt Students Out of Surveys
Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain
A new working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
No Child Left Unmedicated.
By Phyllis Schlafly. Big Brother is on the march. A plan to subject all children to mental health screening is underway, and the pharmaceutical firms are gearing up for bigger sales of psychotropic drugs.
Boy With Disability Banned From Playground.
Falmouth, ME. What started as a playground spat between school officials and the parents of a child with autistic-like behavior could end up having repercussions for the way school districts treat children with neurological disorders.
Boys Will Be Boys…Or Will They?
By Linda Schrock Taylor. Boys most definitely should be allowed to be boys…and they could grow up more mentally and emotionally healthy…if government schools would stop trying to force boys - whether by the use of drugs, or the use of punishments - to act like girls.
Schools Are More Dangerous Than Data Suggest.
Last fall, every state was required by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act to identify schools with a "persistently dangerous" atmosphere so parents would have a better idea of whether their children were being educated in a safe learning environment.
From the December 2003 Board Meeting Minutes:
There are 34 students, grades K – 12, being home-schooled.
LEAVING BEHIND NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
"Utah's state Legislature is poised to repudiate the No Child Left Behind Act and spurn $116 million in federal aid tied to it because state policy-makers are fed up with federal control of education and dictates. 'This is not a partisan issue; this is a states' rights issue,' said Rep. Margaret Dayton, a 55-year-old Republican and mother of 12 who has led the rebellion to make Utah the first state to opt out of No Child Left Behind.
"Mrs. Dayton's bill and another giving primacy to state education standards won unanimous House approval last week.
Bush administration officials have conducted round-the-clock negotiations in an attempt to prevent Utah from becoming the first state to ignore the school accountability law.
Eight other state legislatures -- in Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia -- are considering challenges to No Child Left Behind."
- Washington Times, 2/23/05
Resistance growing to 'No Child Left Behind'
THE NEW YORK TIMES
A small but growing number of school systems around the country are beginning to resist the demands of President Bush's signature education law, saying its efforts to raise student achievement are too costly and too cumbersome.
The school district in Reading recently filed suit contending that Pennsylvania, in enforcing the federal law, had unfairly judged Reading's efforts to educate thousands of recent immigrants and unreasonably required the impoverished city to offer tutoring and other services for which there is no money.
The law, known as No Child Left Behind and signed in January 2002, seeks to raise achievement by penalizing schools where test scores do not meet annual targets. It is the most sweeping plan to shake up public education in a generation, as well as the most intrusive federal intervention in local schools. But until recently it had provoked little more than grumbling, though polls showed that educators in most of the nation's 15,000 districts considered several of its requirements ill-conceived.
In recent weeks, however, three Connecticut school districts have rejected federal funds rather than comply with the red tape that accompanies the law, and several Vermont districts have shifted federal poverty funds away from schools to shield them from sanctions.
Some analysts see the scattered actions as the front end of a backlash that will probably swell this year, when early penalties are likely to be imposed on thousands of schools across the nation.
No Child Left Behind is an accountability system with myriad ways to disqualify schools. In 2003, 26,000 of the nation's 93,000 public schools failed to make adequate yearly progress, according to a teachers union tally, fueling predictions that the law could eventually label nearly all schools as failing. Much opposition is based on the view that the law will require districts to spend large sums to remedy shortcomings in such schools, without full federal financing.
Parent Involvement and No Child Left Behind
by Deb Dunlap, Regional Parent Involvement Coordinator
Maine Parent Federation
The No Child Left Behind Act has educators and parents talking - and asking a lot of questions. While educators work overtime to put this new education law into action, parents are working hard to understand all of the new terms and regulations. What is the No Child Left Behind Act, and what does it say about the role of parents in education?
Understanding the new education act requires a brief history lesson. In 1965, Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in an effort to improve the academic achievement of poor and disadvantaged students. Today, ESEA is still the law that authorizes and regulates most of the federal government's K-12 education programs. Every five to six years, Congress must reauthorize ESEA.
The latest reauthorization of ESEA was signed into law by President Bush on 1/8/2002. This new education plan is known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The current authorization will be in place for the next 5 years.
NCLB will have an impact on every school in Maine. Some of the new regulations apply to all schools, while others are specific only to schools receiving Title I funds. Title I funding is the largest (and most widely known) section of the ESEA. Schools qualify for Title I funding according to the percentage of students eligible to receive free lunch. The majority of Maine schools do receive Title I funds- you can check with your local school to see if it does, or you can check online at http://www.state.me.us/education/nclb/tia/IA03aloc2.htm.
No Child Left Behind requires schools to make some changes in the ways they involve parents in education. Parents are given two basic roles in the new regulations: consumer and participant.
NCLB supports parents to be informed consumers in a number of ways. Parents whose children attend a Title I school have the right to request information about teacher qualifications. They must be notified if their child is taught for more than one month by a teacher who is not "highly qualified". In addition, all schools are required to increase the amount of student testing, and to use the results to develop reports on school performance. Currently, students take standardized state tests only in 4th, 8th and 11th grade. NCLB requires that schools administer these tests to students every year in grades 3 through 8, to all students (with modifications or accommodations as required). Parents will receive the results of their child's individual test scores each year. In addition, all parents will receive a yearly school report that demonstrates student test scores at the school, district, and state levels. Similar to consumer reporting, school reports will allow parents to compare their school's test scores to other communities, and will show how students in specific demographic groups (race, poverty level, disabilities, and English language ability) are scoring. Every school is required to administer these tests and to report school test results to families.
The State Department of Education will check individual school test results against state standards to determine whether or not a school is making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). All demographic groups must meet scoring standards for a school to make AYP. Schools that do not make AYP for two years in a row are designated a School in Need of Improvement. Schools in Need of Improvement must notify parents about this status.
Parents whose children attend a school in the first year of Needs Improvement status may choose to send their child to another qualifying public school that is not in need of improvement. In the second year, parents may also opt for their eligible student to receive Supplemental Education Services (SES) - extra help in reading, language arts, and math - before or after school or on weekends, at no cost. You should be notified by your child's school if your child is eligible for SES. If you think your child may be eligible and you have not been notified, you should contact your child's school.
NCLB also contains provisions to help parents become stronger participants in educational decision-making. Each Title I school must develop a District Parent Involvement Policy, with the help of a committee that includes parents. This policy must outline many specific aspects of the school's approach to parent involvement, including parent-teacher compacts and specific activities to support parent involvement. You can contact your child's school if you want more information about their Parent Involvement Policy.
State standards can also help parents participate in their child's education. Parents can learn what the state standards are for their child's grade level, and work with their child's teacher to be sure their child is meeting these goals. The educational standards for Maine are the Learning Results. You can obtain a copy of them for $2 by calling the Department of Education at 207-624-6600, or you can view them online at http://www.state.me.us/education/lres/lres.htm.
You can be prepared for the role of consumer and participant by learning more about NCLB and by talking frequently with your child's teachers. As Maine's statewide Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC), Project FREE can help you navigate the new regulations, and can work with your child's school to help them support strong partnerships in education. Parents and schools can request our free, reproducible printed materials on educational partnerships, NCLB, and Learning Results. We offer a facilitated planning session for parent involvement committees, Strategies for Increasing Parent Involvement. We also provide a workshop to help parents be more effective partners in education, The Right Question Project: Using Questions to Get the Best Education for Your Child. For more information on any of these topics, contact Angela Burgess at 1-800-870-7746.
No Child Left Behind Alphabet Soup
NCLB - No Child Left Behind
ESEA - Elementary and Secondary Education Act
AYP - Adequate Yearly Progress
SES - Supplemental Educational Services
PIRC - Parent Information and Resource Center
Parental Involvement Under the New Title I and Title III: From Compliance to Effective Practice. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, October 2002.
Parents' Guide to Supplemental Services. www.NoChildLeftBehind.Gov
What Parents Need to Know about NCLB/Title I. United Federation of Teachers, Jan. 2003
IDEA Comments Sought
Members of the House Education Reform Subcommittee unveiled a new website today asking for recommendations from parents, teachers and others on
how to strengthen and improve the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
YRBSS Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
Select a risk behavior to display related survey questions: Unintentional Injuries/Violence, Tobacco Use, Alcohol/Other Drug Use, Sexual Behaviors, Dietary Behaviors, Physical Activity, Other.
The Dark Side of Nationwide Tests
By B.K. Eakman. The basic dilemmas remain: If the use of psychographic instruments is legal and ethical, without informed, written, parental consent; if behavior-modification curricula can be brought into the classroom as legitimate learning material; if teachers, or even bona fide mental-health workers, can use the schools to "treat" youngsters for real or imagined psychological problems - then are schools really educational institutions or day-care clinics?
A New Model for Special Education
By Jay Greene and Greg Forster. For the current system to work, families have to be sophisticated enough to demand that all of their children's needs are fully and clearly addressed in the IEP document. Schools are experienced at writing IEPs and may seek to minimize the level of expensive services. Even if the IEP does fully and clearly specify what students need, schools may fail to live up to their obligations. Families can then go to court, but to do so they have to be aware that this legal option is available, have the resources to pursue it against school districts with far greater resources, and be willing to engage in a legal fight with the same school system that takes care of their children every day.