How do you measure students’ career readiness? The Center on Education Policy (CEP) has released a report that explores states’ efforts to measure students’ readiness for careers. Based on a survey of career and technical education officials in 45 states and the District of Columbia, the report, Career Readiness Assessment Across States: A Summary of Survey Findings, examines state definitions of career readiness, the assessments states use, and the challenges that states face. There is also a summary, which includes related reports on states’ efforts to measure career readiness and profiles major career and technical assessments. The information is downloadable on the CEP website: www.cep-dc.org.
NICHCY, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (whose original name is lost in translation), is no more. After more than two decades of providing information on key aspects of special education to parents and others, the organization has lost its funding. As of September 30, 2013, NICHCY’s doors have closed, but the virtual doors (access to the website materials) will still be open for downloads until September 30, 2014. To access the NICHCY website for free materials until that date, go to www.nichcy.org.
Nine new 2013 Lifespan Respite grants were awarded in September 2013 by the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging. Of the nine states receiving the grants, the only new state was Idaho. The other recipients receiving the Lifespan Respite Integration and Sustainability grants to continue their respite activities are: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Respite organizations in Arizona may not be aware of these grants to assist eligible families with children with significant disabilities with respite care, so you might want to pass this grant information along to pertinent stakeholders. Here’s the website: http://www.acl.gov/Funding_Opportunities/Grant_Apps/Index.aspx.
Graduation issues still need resolving? Read the just released publication of the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) and Achieve, Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities: Ensuring Meaningful Diplomas for All Students. The paper contains five broad recommendations for educators, and not changing the standards for students with disabilities is its goal. Achieve is an independent nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to raising academic standards and graduation requirements and is interested in feedback, so if you have comments to share, Nancy Reder, Deputy Executive Director of NASDSE, will compile and forward them to Achieve. Access this document at http://www.achieve.org/publications/graduation-requirements-students-disabilities-ensuring-meaningful-diplomas-all-students.
PISA Results Available at Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Website
The results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the international assessment that measures student reading, mathematics, and science literacy, are available at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website. The assessment for 15-year-old students also measures general, cross-curricular competencies, such as problem solving and functional skills. PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and in the United States by NCES. The assessment was first administered in 2000 and is conducted every three years. Results for the most recent assessment (2012) are available at: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/?newsflash=true.
To better understand the relationships between disability, health issues, and transition, the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) commissioned a study to determine how chronic health conditions and overall health and wellness affect the transition and employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. The study looked at the role that health care providers play in establishing employment expectations for youth with disabilities. Key findings of the study are included in a policy brief entitled Healthy Transitions: A Pathway to Employment for Youth with Chronic Health Conditions and Other Disabilities, which is available through this link.
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) has released two sets of resources to enable charter schools to improve their outcomes. The first, “Core Performance Framework and Guidance” provides a clearly defined set of academic, financial, and operational performance criteria for charter school authorizers and a template to customize those frameworks. Additionally, NACSA is providing state policy guidance as another resource to strengthen charter school performance and accountability. To develop these frameworks, NACSA has worked with a number of authorizers around the country to establish recommendations to strengthen performance and accountability consistent with state laws. This news brief is found at: http://www.ccsso.org/News_and_Events/Current_News/National_Association_of_Charter_School_Authorizers_Releases_New_Resources.html.
The Half in Ten Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years, together with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, has issued a two-page fact sheet showing the relationship of disability and economic status. The graphs included show visually the connection between disability and poverty and include information specific to Arizona. You can access this document at: http://halfinten.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/POP-Disability-Oct-2013.pdf. The Half in Ten Campaign is a project of several organizations dedicated to influencing the political and public will to cut the U.S. poverty rate in half in 10 years. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations that advocate for national public policy.
One of the most challenging issues facing schools today is finding skilled new teachers who are capable of meeting the academic needs of all students. The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) has announced a new preservice assessment that is available to all educator preparation programs. The Teacher Preparation Assessment, known as edTPA, is a performance-based assessment that allows teacher preparation programs to evaluate the skills of young and inexperienced teachers to be able to teach and support student learning from the first day they enter the classroom. To learn more about this performance assessment, go to: http://edtpa.aacte.org/about-edtpa.
To ensure that young children obtain high-quality early learning programs, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has published a new booklet, Blending and Braiding Early Childhood Program Funding Streams Toolkit. (http://www.ounceofprevention.org/national-policy/Blended-Funding-Toolkit-Nov2013.pdf) Published last month, the toolkit is designed to give state advocates and policymakers strategies, resources, and options to facilitate the coordination of multiple funding streams (such as Head Start, AzEIP, and Pre-K programs) to improve the access to high-quality early learning programs for young children from low-income families. Blending and braiding are the terms the Ounce of Prevention Fund uses to describe how funds are either wrapped together or coordinated to provide these services.