District Administration - April 2012 - (Page 16)
Will the Student Success Act Ensure Success for All?
WHEN H.R. 3989, THE STUDENT Success Act, reached the House floor in late February, the controversy surrounding it followed. The Student Success Act is a bill sponsored by Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, that would revamp No Child Left Behind. The bill was approved in the education committee on a party line vote by Republicans on March 6. If it becomes law, it will eliminate adequate yearly progress (AYP) and the federal standards at which students are held, allowing states and local school districts to set their own benchmarks. This move has advocates for minority students and special education and disabled students more than concerned. “[The Student Success Act] abandons accountability for the achievement and learning gains of subgroups of disadvantaged students who, for generations, have been harmed by low academic expectations,” reads a letter led from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent to Rep. Kline on Feb. 16. The letter was signed by 41 national organizations representing education advocates and includes the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, and the Autism National Committee. “The bill would thrust us back to an earlier time when states could choose to ignore disparities between children of color, lowincome students, ELLs, and students with disabilities,” continues the letter. Those supporting the bill in the House argue that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been in need of a revision since 2007, and NCLB, which aims to have all students proficient by 2014, will, in reality, have all schools labeled as failing by that time. The crux of the problem, they say, is that states and schools need local autonomy and flexibility. “There’s a lot still to be learned in terms of the layout of this bill, but what is a great
by Marion Herbert
Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, sponsored the Student Success Act, which aims to pass accountability on to the states.
concern is turning accountability over to the states,” says George Giuliani, executive director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET). “History has dictated that, in terms of students with special needs, states have dropped the ball if the federal government isn’t holding them accountable.” At the time this issue went to press, the Student Success Act had yet to be approved by Congress or the Senate.
Virtual Speech Therapy Offers Solution to SLP Shortage
THERE IS A SHORTAGE ACROSS the nation of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in schools, which has caused some districts to choose virtual speech therapy, which, according to current research from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), a professional association for SLPs, can be as effective as traditional speech therapy. One reason for the shortage, says Deborah Dixon, director of school services at ASHA, is that, although there are an adequate number of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in the field, a master’s degree is required to be an SLP, and there are not many openings in graduate schools. Virtual speech therapy offers a solution, since the flexible hours are appealing for those who want to work parttime and for retired SLPs. Presence Learning, one of a few companies that offer virtual speech therapy, works with schools to provide services for students with mild to moderate communication impairment, which accounts for 78 percent of students with communication impairment. Definitions of impairment vary by state or district. John Swett Unified School District (JSUSD), a K12 district near San Francisco, started using Presence Learning in 2010. Superintendent Mike McLaughlin found the SLP agencies had inconsistent results. Since 2010, JSUSD has hired one traditional SLP, who works with about 30 students, and Presence Learning provides for another 50 students. Other companies that provide online speech therapy include TinyEye and Virtual Speech Center. — Courtney Williams
Students engage in virtual speech therapy through presence learning.
16 April 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - April 2012
District Administration - April 2012
From the Editor
Special Ed Update
Robust and Safe BYOD
Success Breeds Success
Funding Building Projects in a Tough Economy
Widening Participation to an IB Education
Why All the Chatter about #EdChat?
District Administration - April 2012