Friday, October 30, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

About the Public Records Act


In 1972 the voters in state of Washington adopted Initiative 276, which requires that most records maintained by state, county, city governments, and all special purpose districts be made available to members of the public. The public disclosure statutes have been frequently revised over the past three decades. In 2006 these disclosure statutes were removed from Ch. 42.17 RCW and recodified in Ch. 42.56 RCW. The statutes are now referred to as the Public Records Act (PRA). Although the public records disclosure statutes do not apply to judicial records (case files), the legislature has specifically extended their coverage to state legislative records. In addition, the public records disclosure statutes apply equally to "every county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi-municipal corporation, or special purpose district or any office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency thereof, or other local public agency." RCW 42.56.010(1)




 Public Records Act for Washington Cities, Counties, and Special Purpose Districts


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The History of Beginning Reading: From Teaching by Sound to Teaching by Meaning, Vol. 1 Paperback – May 1, 2001 by Geraldine E. Rodgers (Author)

"Miss Rodgers' research is both massive and meticulous. Modern researchers should hesitate to make any pronouncements on the history of reading in America before consulting her history."  - Don Potter

"Never forget the importance of history. To know nothing of what happened before you took your place on earth, is to remain a child for ever and ever."   -unknown

The History of Education: A teacher's extensive library of historical curriculumn.

How much money is spent on new curriculum that either fails to teach or riffs off of curriculum that exists beyond copy-write and free to the public?


Don Potter Education Pages


"These pages are dedicated to the dissemination of materials of value to parents and educators interested in improving the quality of education in America and throughout the English speaking world. I have published PDF files of valuable books from the past. There are select links to web sites and articles that I judge as being particularly valuable."

Don Potter 

House Passes the READ Act

The House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would require the National Science Foundation to spend at least $5 million annually on dyslexia research. The bill, called the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act, is sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). It passed out of the House on a voice vote. There currently is no Senate companion.

COPAA supports the READ Act. Teaching students to read is without a doubt critically important for all students.  Reading enables lifelong learning and participation. Yet school districts often fail, and even refuse, to teach many students decoding, comprehension, or both.  The READ act is intended to addresses these problems by focusing research and dissemination efforts on 
best practice to support students with dyslexia, which will help all
 students who struggle to read.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Seattle parents confused over missing math and ELA SBAC scores.

According to Seattle public schools, a vendor error lead to parents of students with IEPs to receive an erroneous letter stating their student did not take the math or ELA portion of the SBAC, when in fact they did.  Parents reported contacting their schools and being told their wasn't a score, because their student did not take the test.

After speaking with district staff and OSPI, it turns out the error is a bit more nefarious. You see only students with IEPs and who scored in the 2 range did not receive their scores and their parents where told the student did not take the test. This is true for both math and ELA.

The district claims school principals were notified of the vendor error on Monday the 19th, but didn't realize they needed to contact parents and notify them of the error. It also true that only the Seattle school district is having the "vendor error".

So what's really going on ?

 Of all the districts in the state, only the Seattle school district is planning on lowering the PASSING bar for students with IEPs and needs to adjust the wording of a different letter, but only for those students who's IEP team agreed to the ADJUSTMENT.  Unfortunately it turns out, the district is doing this irrespective of whether or not it was agreed to by the parents. Why?, because as we know when it comes to special education in Seattle public schools, the district simply does what it thinks is best for the district.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated

"More and more, we are seeing citizens being invited to “participate” in various forms of meetings, councils, or boards to “help determine” public policy in one field or another. They are supposedly being included to get ”input” from the public to help officials make final decisions on taxes, education, community growth or whatever the particular subject matter might be.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, surface appearances are often deceiving."

delphi technique

Understanding Dyslexia and the Reading Brain

“What the brain does have — which is fantastic — is the ability to make new circuits based on new connections among its already-there parts. So, when I said [in the book] we were never born to read, that is the absolute truth. We weren’t. Each child has to do it by themselves.” Since each brain must learn to read from scratch, as Wolf put it, “many things can happen along the way.”


Friday, October 23, 2015

U.S. Department of Education says: Schools must allow for the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia in special education matters

"It tells states they must never prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia and specifically says that such terms are meant to be used to help implement a truly individualized IEP and the specific accommodations, modifications or supports that a child may need to succeed in school."


WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services letter to State Education Agencies today, Denise Marshall, executive director of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) issued the following statement:  
“Today is a victory for children with specific learning disabilities and their families! COPAA knows firsthand how families have been subjected to intimidating and discriminatory treatment as they have sought to include the proper terms of a child’s condition as part of a special education evaluation, eligibility determination, or within a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). We now have a valuable tool to assure these practices stop.”  Marshall continued, “The guidance from Assistant Secretary Yudin is unequivocal. It tells states they must never prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia and specifically says that such terms are meant to be used to help implement a truly individualized IEP and the specific accommodations, modifications or supports that a child may need to succeed in school. COPAA was proud to sign the letter that led to this outcome and looks forward to helping support an improved conversation about specific 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

COPAA Opposes SOAR Act: Students and Parents Must Not be Required to Give Up Rights Under IDEA in the Name of "Choice"

COPAA opposes the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Reauthorization Act  - which seeks to create portability of federal funds for students with disabilities to private schools. This portability is egregious for several reasons: First, the purpose is disingenuous in that all parents would be required to give up rights under IDEA in the name of “choice.” Parents or students must not have to give up procedural or substantive requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), nor their right to an impartial due process hearing when the schools fails to comply. Schools that accept federal funds under voucher programs must comply with applicable federal laws, and the Individualized Education Program (IEP) must remain the cornerstone of providing individualized special education and related services designed to meet each eligible student’s unique needs. Second, states cannot, by delegating the education function to private voucher schools, place students beyond the reach of the federal laws in its administration of publicly funded programs. (See: 2013 Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a letter to the WDPI).

Friday, October 16, 2015

When you are under attack remember

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Winston Churchill

Monday, October 12, 2015

October National Dyslexia Month Passes U.S. Senate – Strengths

 From our friends at  


Huge thanks to Senators Bill Cassidy and Barbara Mikulski for creating Senate Resolution 275 establishing October as National Dyslexia Awareness Month. The resolution passed unanimously by voice in the Senate on Friday. Dyslexic Advantage is proud to be included among the supporters of this resolution (Decoding Dyslexia, International Dyslexia Association, Learning Ally, Louisiana Key Academy, National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Odyssey School, and Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity).

Exciting for us is that this Senate resolution included strengths in its definition of dyslexia. It is important that strengths be included in formal definitions of dyslexia because it is the only way that students’  strengths will be routinely recognized among dyslexic students, and therefore appropriate education provided. The most common situation is that the intelligence and abilities of dyslexic students are grossly underestimated.
From the Senate Resolution:
We hope the growing consensus about dyslexia will mean from this point going forward, that no child or parent will have to hear from their teacher or school that dyslexia is not recognized.

Friday, October 9, 2015

New California Dyslexia Laws Signed by Governor Brown

Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) October 08, 2015

Governor Jerry Brown signed important legislation today (AB 1369 –Frazier, D - Oakley) aimed at helping dyslexic children in California public schools. This is the first time in over 20 years that dyslexia legislation has been enacted in the State of California.
Dyslexia, a reading disability, impacts approximately 20% of the overall population. In California alone, this means over 1 million students in public schools are dyslexic. Dyslexia is the single largest learning disability. Without proper identification and appropriate reading remediation, most dyslexic children will never read at grade level. Sadly, 73% of 4th grade students in California read below grade level.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Most popular posts this week


The Common Core Is Tough on Kids With Special Needs


In a recent discussion board thread on reading comprehension challenges in autism, a special-education teacher commented that her students can’t understand the assigned reading passages. “When I complained, I was told that I could add extra support, but not actually change the passages,” she wrote. “It is truly sad to see my students’ frustration.”
Why must this teacher’s students contend with passages that are too complex for them to understand? She attributes this inflexibility to the Common Core, new standards—created in 2009 by a group of education professionals, none of them K-12 classroom teachers or special-education experts—that have been adopted by 45 states. Though most Common Core goals are abstract and schematic, collectively they constitute a one-size fits-all approach that, in practice, has severely straightjacketed America’s special-needs students.
The teacher I quoted above—one of the many special-ed instructors I
teach at the Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania
education schools—is hardly alone. She’s echoing the concerns of dozens of other special-education teachers I’ve spoken with, most of whom have already gotten the message from their supervisors or superiors that they must adhere to the standards and give all their students the designated grade-level assignments."   common-core-is-tough-on-kids-with-special-needs

Application  to  Students  with  Disabilities

The Common Core State Standards articulate rigorous grade-level expectations in the areas
of mathematics and English language arts.. These standards identify the knowledge and skills
students need in order to be successful in college and careers Students with disabilities ―students
eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)- must be challenged to excel
within the general curriculum and be prepared for success in their post - school lives, including
college and/or careers.

These common standards provide an historic opportunity to improve access to rigorous academic
content standards for students with disabilities. The continued development of understanding about
research- based instructional practices and a focus on their effective implementation will help improve access to mathematics and English language arts (ELA) standards for all students, including those with disabilities.

Students with disabilities are a heterogeneous group with one common characteristic: the presence of
disabling conditions that significantly hinder their abilities to benefit from general education
(IDEA 34 CFR §300.39, 2004). Therefore, how these high standards are taught and assessed is of the
utmost importance in reaching this diverse group of students.

In order for students with disabilities to meet high academic standards and to fully demonstrate their
conceptual and procedural knowledge and skills in mathematics, reading, writing, speaking and listening (English language arts), their instruction must incorporate supports and accommodations, including:

• supports and related services designed to meet the unique needs of these students and to enable
  their access to the general education curriculum (IDEA 34 CFR §300.34, 2004).

•  An Individualized Education Program (IEP) 1 which includes annual goals aligned with and    chosen  to facilitate their attainment of grade-level academic standards.

• Teachers and specialized instructional support personnel who are prepared and qualified to deliver
  high-quality, evidence-based, individualized instruction and support services.
  Promoting a culture of high expectations for all students is a fundamental goal of the Common Core
  State Standards. In order to participate with success in the general curriculum, students with disabilities, as appropriate, may be provided additional supports and services, such as:

• Instructional supports for learning―based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)2 ―  which foster student engagement by presenting information in multiple ways and allowing for diverse  avenues of action and expression.
1 According to  IDEA,an IEP includes appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the individual achievement and functional performance of a child

2 UDL is defined as “a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that (a) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (b) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains

READ Act Prioritizes Investments in Dyslexia Research at NSF

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on Sept. 30 to review the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act, H.R. 3033, which prioritizes investments in dyslexia research at the National Science Foundation. The bill calls for a line item in the annual congressional budget request to require NSF to devote at least $5 million a year to "merit-reviewed, competitively-awarded dyslexia research projects," said Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in opening remarks. Such research, conducted by the Research in Disabilities Education Program at NSF, would focus on the areas of early identification; professional development for teachers and administrators; and curricula development and educational tools for struggling readers.

READ Act H.R. 3033
COPAA is supportive of the bill because if this legislation actually serves its intended purpose, it will benefit and serve all struggling readers  -- including students in other disability categories, such as autism and intellectual disabilities. Indeed, the research is very clear that struggling readers across the board  -- including students not identified with disabilities, students identified with non-reading-related disabilities, English language learners, and students from impoverished backgrounds -- benefit dramatically from the sort of direct, explicit, systematic reading instruction that children who are dyslexic require. 
Too often, however, teachers are not being trained in how to provide evidenced based instruction. This bill would be a small step toward providing programs that would benefit the literacy of all students who struggle to read. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2015


  Read the president's proclamation

Celebrating 70 Years!

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for this year — which marks 70 years since the first observance — is "My Disability is One Part of Who I Am"

Sunday, October 4, 2015

From Japan:

Why Are Jukus Under-reported?

 The actual situation of Japanese education is consisted of two sectors – school education and shadow education that is usually called "juku" in Japanese or, more commonly worldwide, "cram school" in English.