|12-30-16 Education in the News|
NJ Spotlight (2016 Best Op-Eds)--Op-Ed: PARCC Is a Symptom, Not the Problem
Fixing school accountability, property-tax equity, fair distribution of resources, and charter school expansion may be necessary but is not sufficient.
A recent article on the NJ Spotlight website reporting on the release of school-by-school PARCC results generated a number of comments. As usual, the responses represented a cross-section of perspectives, demonstrating that we continue to get drawn into discussions and debates about doing the wrong thing better.
We are focused on test scores and accept without question the fallacy that they have importance beyond the system that rewards and punishes those forced to use them. The results may serve to allow us to extol/defend the wisdom of our own views of racial equality or inferiority, of sufficient/insufficient moral fiber, of tax equity or burden, and so forth, but they tell us nothing about the impact of schooling that we didn't know 30 years ago.
Rich Ten Eyck | December 30, 2016
Education Week--New Guidance Outlines Civil Rights Protections for Students With Disabilities
During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights has taken an activist stance on civil rights enforcement, especially when it comes to students with disabilities. And as the clock winds down on this presidency, the Education Department is continuing its efforts though the release Wednesday of three new guidance documents for schools.
The first document is a parent and educator resource guide on Section 504. Section 504 refers to a portion of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination by recipients of federal money, which includings public schools as well as charter schools.
Section 504 predates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was signed into law in 1975. Though the laws both deal with the civil rights of people with disabilities, they are different in several important ways. For example, Section 504 and IDEA define "disability" differently. IDEA has 13 disability categories, while Section 504's definition is much more broad—it refers to a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." About 12 percent of students nationwide are covered by the IDEA, while about 1.5 percent of students nationwide are covered solely by Section 504.
Garden State Coalition of Schools