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A fresh look at school funding
Center for American Progress (commentary)
Historically, public education has played a key role in growing the middle class and ensuring that all children, regardless of their backgrounds, have an opportunity to achieve at high levels. Unfortunately, the nation's current school finance system — primarily based on local property taxes in many places — exacerbates rather than ameliorates resource disparities between high- and low-income communities. With income inequality continuing to rise and wealth becoming increasingly concentrated at the top of the income distribution, it is more critical than ever for districts, states, and the federal government to take seriously their responsibility to provide an excellent education for all students.
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The reading brain: Executive function hard at work
By: Linda R. Hecker
When I talk with educators across the country, they often lament that students don't read much anymore, especially in the face of ubiquitous social and multimedia distractions. Even students with intact decoding and fluency complain that reading is just too hard, not worth the effort. Why is reading such a challenge for so many? One often overlooked factor is the role that executive function plays when we engage with text. Broadly put, executive function describes the cognitive processes that regulate self-directed behavior toward a goal.
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Feds call for greater inclusion in preschools
Disability Scoop
The Obama administration wants to see more kids with disabilities — no matter how significant — participating in classrooms alongside their typically-developing peers. The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are jointly seeking public comment this week on a draft policy statement encouraging greater inclusion for young children with disabilities. While the majority of preschoolers with disabilities attended general early childhood programs as of 2013, more than half of these children received their special education and related services in segregated environments, the Education Department said.
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  Student-Paced, Mastery-Based Math
Since 2004, Math-U-See has worked with intervention and special education teachers to reach struggling special needs math students. Math-U-See corresponds to math ability rather than traditional grade levels, so it can be used with students of any age. We provide tools and training for an explicit, structured, systematic, cumulative program using multi-sensory teaching techniques. MORE

Looking to share your expertise?
In an effort to enhance the overall content of THE LD SOURCE, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of LDA and/or reader of THE LD SOURCE, your knowledge of learning disabilities and related issues lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit. Our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.

 In the News

Study: Dyslexia unrelated to vision problems
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Eye training or other vision therapies will not treat dyslexia in children, say researchers who found normal vision among most children with the learning disability. The findings confirm what eye doctors have known for a long time, said Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Dyslexia is a brain dysfunction, not an eye disorder," said Fromer, who was not involved in the study. "There are no studies that clearly identify that visual training can be helpful for the dyslexic patient."
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What do you do with a student who fidgets?
NPR (commentary)
Anya Kamenetz, a contributor for NPR, writes: "Our story last week about the connection between ADHD, movement and thinking struck a nerve with readers. We reported on a small study in which students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder performed better on memory tasks when they were allowed to spin and move around in a swiveling chair. We got hundreds of comments, tweets and emails. Even the CEO of Donors Choose, a fundraising site for teachers, wrote in to say that there are 1,455 projects with the key word 'fidget' on his site. More than 1,000 teachers requested something called a 'Hokki Stool' — a backless seat that allows kids to sit and wiggle."
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Teaching students the skills of expert readers
Research shows that skilled or expert readers possess seven strategies to construct meaning before, during, and after reading a text. When skilled students read, it is an active process. Their minds are constantly processing information extracted from the text, e.g., questioning the author, summarizing passages, or interpreting images. Contrarily, struggling readers often unthinkingly read the words on the page. For them, reading is an inactive activity. Constructing meaning from the text does not naturally occur in the mind of a struggling reader.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword STUDENTS.

  Inform Attention Related Diagnoses
Develop a comprehensive evaluation using the gold standard Conners CPT 3™, an auditory test of attention, the Conners CATA®, and the early childhood Conners K-CPT 2™. All assessments have been updated with easily interpreted reports, representative normative samples, and new scores to pinpoint the exact issue. Learn more:

How to get through to ADHD/LD kids
ADDitude Magazine
Teachers: Have you ever had a lesson plan that didn't work the way you wanted it to? Maybe it's because you planned the lesson for yourself. It would have worked fine for someone who learns like you do, but it wasn’t effective for struggling learners. Do you have a student who wrestles with simple assignments? Does he act confused or oblivious when you speak? Does it seem as if he's been blindfolded, spun around, and asked to perform while receiving too much information from a cheering, well-intentioned crowd? Here are several strategies for making things easier for ADHD/LD students in your classroom.
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Special education tactics aide Common Core success
District Administration Magazine
A curriculum framework initially developed for special education students is gaining traction in general ed classrooms nationwide during Common Core implementation. Universal Design for Learning is an approach created by a nonprofit that addresses students’ individual learning needs to reach standards. Teachers allow students multiple ways of accessing information and demonstrating understanding for each lesson or assignment in order to differentiate learning. The Common Core expects students to demonstrate mastery in multiple ways.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Should 3rd grade be the pivot point for early reading? (Education Week)
Let the kids learn through play (The New York Times)
Setting summer goals: Linking school years together (By: Pamela Hill)
3 challenges facing parents of teens with learning disabilities (U.S. News & World Report)
Friends or frenemies? Understanding bullying in schools (Psychology Today)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Board shortens Common Core-aligned tests known as PARCC
The Washington Post
The Common Core-aligned tests that made their debut in 11 states and the District this spring will be approximately 90 minutes shorter next year, a change that comes after parents, teachers and school administrators expressed frustration with the amount of time devoted to the new exams. The governing board of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers voted to shorten the tests. The board, made up of state superintendents, also voted to give the exams during one 30-day testing window near the end of the school year.
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Connecticut Senate passes bill to help students with dyslexia
Hartford Courant
The Connecticut Senate unanimously passed a bill that would help ensure that students with dyslexia are identified and getting the services they need, which isn't the case now, according to many parents and experts who testified at a hearing earlier in the session. "I'm very excited. We heard from hundreds of kids, parents [about] students who have been struggling with dyslexia, and from teachers who were frustrated with not having the tools they need to support kids," said Sen. Gayle Slossberg D-Milford, who led the bipartisan effort in the Senate.
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Are new Common Core tests really better than the old multiple-choice tests?
The Hechinger Report
You are a congresswoman's chief-of-staff and she needs your help coming up with a position on whether a nuclear power plant should be built in the district. These are the kinds of prompts students across the country are being presented with during the first round of Common Core testing this spring. In this example — from Smarter Balanced, one of two state groups tapped by the federal government to develop tests aligned to Common Core — students would be given a mix of articles, videos and data charts to inform an argumentative essay for or against the construction of the plant.
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Summers with substance: How summer programs can further learning
By: Corinne Garcia
As a parent preparing for my child's upcoming summer vacation, I'm always on edge about the summer learning loss, also known as the infamous "summer slide." The National Summer Learning Association reports that most students lose an average of two months of grade-level equivalency in math over the summer. But that's not all. If they are not kept properly occupied, they also tend to lose precious motivation.
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LDA does not recommend or endorse any one specific diagnostic or therapeutic regime, whether it is educational, psychological or medical. The viewpoints expressed in THE LD SOURCE are those of the authors and advertisers.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Hailey Golden, Senior Education Editor, 469.420.2630   
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