What is our mission?
Though not technically summer, once the calendar reads June we often think of it as summer time! Summer has traditionally meant vacation time, a more relaxed lifestyle and a time to reconnect with neighbors, family and friend for good old fashion fun! Those of us in the school business especially think of summer as a time of recharging, going back to graduate school and sometimes a more laidback work experience! But, these next couple of months could/should be a real critical time for education at the local, state, national and international level! CASE will be calling you to action on several items throughout these next few months in order for us to be true to our mission. There are 4 major issues your professional organization is working on right now:
Formulating the CASE position on IDEA
CASE Members received a survey link on Wednesday — we need you to take this survey AND we need you to forward the link to as many colleagues as you can so we can have a broad perspective! If you missed the email or the link, click here to go to the survey.
Developing Comments for SPP/APR
Comments are due to the DOE June 13. Both CEC and NASDSE have worked hard on these comments. CASE leadership would welcome any comments you have concerning the comments CASE will be submitting on your behalf. If you have not seen the proposals click here for Part B and click here for Part C.
Preliminary comments from CEC include:
CEC believes the move to focusing on outcomes is an appropriate one at this time. In addition, the proposal to combine the SPP and APR into one document will save staff time that can be focused in better places. Similarly, the goal to move submission of SPP/APR to an online system is appropriate and CEC believes that will also save time and resources. We encourage the Department to begin implementation ASAP. We also support the elimination of 15 and 20, but are looking closely at Indicator 10 and 9 to see if there is duplication. If so, we will suggest further consolidation.
Preliminary comments from NASDSE include a discussion on NEW Indicator 17:
Removing Improvement Activities from each indicator and combining them into a new Indicator 17 will allow SEAs to describe an overall improvement plan. The improvement plan should include a description as to how the plan will address those indicators where targets have not been met. We hope that sufficient detail will be provided in Indicator 17 so that it is clear how the needs of students with disabilities will be addressed by a comprehensive plan. However, it is not clear as to whether Indicator 17 will be a plan for just students with disabilities or will the SEA be able to tie this work to other ongoing state improvement activities that are being addressed under Title 1 or Race to the Top improvement activities. Since we believe that students with disabilities should be included in these other state improvement activities, it is not clear how or whether the new Indicator 17 calls for an additional improvement plan. Further, it is not clear as to how this indicator will be evaluated for purposes of making a state determination.
Impacting the Assessment process through involvement with the CCSS Assessment Consortia
Even though there is a movement out in the US in some states to pull out of the Common Core State Standards, it is very important for all special education administrators to stay very involved in the Assessment process. There has been a great deal more involvement by the disability community on the development of these assessments than on any national assessments in the past. However, there are still issues and concerns. Watch for more specific information on Assistive Technology, other hardware concerns, as well as others. It would be very beneficial if you would make sure you are familiar with the CCSS and the Assessment Consortia. The IDEAPartnership has done a phenomenal job of putting together ready to use resources on both of these topics. Click here for additional information on CCSS ASSESSMENT and Click here for additional information and resources on the CCSS.
Advocating for appropriate funding and assisting districts dealing with Sequestration
Educators and SPED Administrators in particular, are unfortunately very adept at dealing with financial crises brought on by poor funding topped off by additional cuts! However, we are about to face one of the most devastating cuts any of us have ever had to go through. There are still many people who do not truly understand the issues around and impact of Sequestration to not just special education or even education but to many of the services to students and families provided in other programs Be sure to read the article below for additional SEQUESTRATION resources from the NDD United including watching an amazing 3 minute video on what sequestration means to everyone!
As we continue to advocate for appropriate funding, CASE applauds Representative John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, for his support for moving federal funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) closer to the original promise of 40 percent of the additional cost of educating students with disabilities. While CASE believes Chairman Kline's sentiments are sincere, the numbers just don't add up. CASE Special Legislative consultant, Myrna Mandlawitz, who is also the current president of the Committee on Education Funding (CEF) has developed a great explanation of these numbers and call to action. Click here [ see PDF attachment] to download this resource! When CASE is up on the Hill July 16th as part of our 11th Annual CASE Education Legislative Leadership Summit, we will be making a big statement on the actual LOCAL impact of these cuts. We will send out directions for our participants on how to gather and present this data — we have 14 states represented right now but we need MORE so we can have an even greater impact!
So ... whether you are still in school or in a district that has already sent their students home for the summer — enjoy your summer but in this "life is easy time," continue to track CASE and respond quickly when we send out a CALL TO ACTION! We have your back, but we MUST have your input! The voices of many, spoken as one makes for effective advocacy!
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