Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dyslexia needs more attention

Sheikh Hamad Al Mualla, member of the ruling family, went to UK for support with his dyslexia.
Reem Mohammed / The National

Sheikh Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Mualla’s decision to talk publicly about his struggle with dyslexia is a brave step towards shining more light on this much misunderstood condition. When Sheikh Hamad started school, he faced difficulties getting the support he needed from his teachers, who characterised him as “lazy”. He eventually found the encouragement to finish his studies in the UK. By talking about his own struggles, he has helped open up a discussion about the needs of many other students who do not receive the same level of support.
The lack of understanding about dyslexia, which is part of a global problem concerning learning difficulties, helps explain why there is such a stigma associated with the condition. Dyslexic children have been unjustly painted as lazy, unintelligent or unwilling to make the effort to study.
It has been traditionally hard to get a proper diagnosis for dyslexia because of the difficulty in differentiating it from other learning challenges. It’s true that dyslexia is the most common cause of reading difficulties, but students also face challenges in spelling, speech and memorisation.
Ultimately, dyslexia needs champions like Sheikh Hamad who are open and honest about their stories and the challenges they have faced. Our education system should work to increase support for children.
Unfortunately, some teachers are unable to detect the signs of dyslexia and have little experience in dealing with it. And so we need to train our teachers in this area.
Sheikh Hamad has taken a bold step to raise attention about this misunderstood and stigmatised issue. His bravery should be applauded. His decision to speak out will help our society deal with the problem and not be afraid to talk about it.
If even one child or educator learns from Sheikh Hamad’s example and asks for help or learns more about this condition, then we will be on the right path towards helping dyslexic children.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Toward a Definition of Classical Education

By Amanda Wilson

The Invention of Meaning Through Comparison

"Fifth, classical education has a historic repertoire, and it could be argued, a 5,000-year history— stretching back as far as the Hebrew and Egyptian traditions, and certainly the Greek and Roman."

The Brain of the Denisovan Girl


"It has been suggested that eidetic imagery is a gift many and perhaps most children have — and then lose as their verbal skills become seated and then dominant. Maybe it is an instance of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny. It does happen. Maybe modern humans, like growing children, lost their strong pictorial gifts when they started talking."

Friday, May 13, 2016

10th Circuit Rules that District Courts Cannot Delegate the Responsibility to Remedy an IDEA Violation to the IEP Team

May 12, 2016
In M.S. by J.S. v. Utah Schs. for the Deaf and Blind, 116 LRP 19237 (10th Cir. 05/10/16), the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the District Court cannot delegate the responsibility to determine the appropriate placement for a deaf/blind student to the IEP team.
M.S. Had been a student in the residential program at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind (USDB) since 2004. In 2010 USDB announced it was closing its residential program. M.H.'s parents opposed that decision as did other parents. After intervention by an advocacy group, USDB relented and continued the residential program. However, there remained other disputes regarding M.S.'s placement. Eventually, the case was heard by the Utah federal district court. The case had numerous issued, but, most importantly here, the Court determined USDB and the Provo School District were not appropriate placements for M.S. The parents sought placement at the Perkins School for the Blind, a private program.  Rather than order that placement, the District Court sent the case back to the IEP team to determine the future placement. The case was appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 10th Circuit overruled the district court. The Court noted that a school district employee cannot be a hearing officer under the IDEA. Similarly, since most members of the IEP team were school district employees, the Court determined that the IEP team could not be the entity responsible for determining the remedial placement for the student. The Court stated:
"Allowing the educational agency that failed or refused to provide the covered student with FAPE to determine the remedy for that violation is simply at odds with the review scheme set out at [20 USC 1415(i)(2)(C)]," U.S. Circuit Judge Michael R. Murphy wrote. The panel further noted that such an approach could create an "endless cycle" of litigation, requiring the parent to seek a due process hearing each time she disagreed with the proposed remedy."

Disability Discrimination Accounts for Nearly Half of Civil Rights Complaints to U.S. Dept. of Education in 2015

As the U.S. Department of Education (ED) fielded a record number of civil rights complaints in 2015, the agency said nearly half alleged some form of disability discrimination. ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) received over 4,800 complaints asserting violations of disability laws during the 2015 fiscal year, according to a report released this week. Disability issues accounted for the largest group of complaints logged, representing 46 percent of the record-high 10,392 complaints received by the OCR, which is tasked with ensuring equal access and prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability and age in education programs. While the overall number of disability-related complaints dropped slightly compared to the 4,919 filed in 2014, the Education Department said that reports of inappropriate restraint and seclusion as well as issues related to Web accessibility for students with disabilities were both on the rise. The greatest number of disability-related complaints lodged last year hinged on the right to a free, appropriate public education followed by complaints of retaliation and those centering on exclusion or different treatment. Many complaints crossed over into more than one of the 18 categories of disability discrimination that the office tracks, the report said. Over the course of the year, the OCR said it successfully resolved 4,655 of the disability complaints received. In addition to responding to individual complaints, the ED issued five guidance documents in 2015 addressing disability-rights issues in schools. "OCR’s work over the last year has been absolutely pivotal to advancing the department’s goal to increase equity and opportunity for all students,” said Secretary of Education John King. "Through our guidance, technical assistance, data collection and investigatory work, the department’s message to the public is clear: We are committed to working with and supporting schools to protect students’ civil rights — and we will take action to secure those rights when necessary.”