NCLD Action Alert re: NCLB graduation rates (comments needed by June 23)
Sorry for the short turn-around time on this, but we just received this action alert from the National Center for Learning Disabilities re: NCLB proposed regulations that would affect students with disabilities. While we have not yet had a chance to review this issue in detail, we urge our readers to take a look at the following and submit comments.
FROM THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR LEARNING DISABILITIES (NCLD):
The U.S. Department of Education has released proposed regulations under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The regulations propose to change how states and districts calculate and report graduation rates — these changes shortchange students with disabilities.
The Administration must hear that the proposed graduation rate calculation creates the potential for states to pre-determine which students may or may not graduate within four years and effectively remove these students from the graduation rate accountability system. This is particularly troubling given that students with disabilities have one of the highest dropout rates among student groups. We know that making any kind of pre-determination about students' futures does not make sense and making schools responsible for this in the context of promoting better outcomes is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, policies that allow either individual students or entire categories of students to be prospectively removed from the four-year accountability system are inherently damaging to the positive education outcomes so vital to all students.
NCLD has proposed an alternative that would create a calculation and reporting system that allows schools and districts to be held accountable for increasing the number of students who graduate in four years and for increasing the number of students who graduate in any given year (whether the student is a 4, 5 or more year graduate). Please endorse NCLD's recommendations and let the Secretary of Education know her proposal will not provide a better future and more opportunities for students with disabilities.
Below I've provided a basic letter for you to use and instructions on how to submit your letter to the Department of Education. Please feel free to submit this letter as is, or to personalize your message. We encourage you to ask your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.
Now is the time for you to let the Bush Administration know how these regulations will negatively affect students with disabilities and that there is a better alternative. We must act together and let our voices be heard or changes will be implemented that put the future of our kids at risk.
The public only has until June 23, 2008 to submit comments!
Directions for Submitting Comments to the Department of Education
There are several steps to submitting comments to the Department of Education. All steps must be completed to ensure submission. Please don't be deterred — together, we have a voice.
- Go to: http://www.regulations.gov/;
- Go to: "Comments and Submission" and type into the box ED-2008-OESE-0003;
- On the next screen, under "Commenter Title I" click on "Send a Comment or Submission" (check to make sure ED-2008-OESE-0003 is listed);
- On the next screen, fill in your personal information;
- Once you get to the section for comments, cut and paste your comments into the text box provided;
- Then click on the "Next Step" button;
- Review your comments and then click on the "Submit" button;
- Wait for your "Comment Verification Note and Tracking Number;"
- Click on the "Next" button;
- Your comments have been submitted.
Please note: You must receive the 'Comment Verification Note and Tracking Number' to ensure submission is complete.
Suggested Letter Text:
Dear Secretary Spellings:
I respectfully submit my comments and recommendations on the proposed regulations of: Title I Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged, ED-2008-OESE-0003.
- Calculating Graduation Rates
Schools need incentives to ensure students with disabilities graduate from high school and students deserve every opportunity gain a regular diploma. I urge you to replace your proposed graduation rate regulation that allows a pre-determination to be made about student graduation outcomes with the alternative that allows schools and districts to be held accountable for increasing the number of students who graduate in 4 years and for increasing the number of students who graduate in any given year (whether the student is a 4, 5 or more year graduate).
- Minimum Subgroup Size
You must ensure that each State's justification for selecting its minimum subgroup size used in calculating and measuring proficiency against state standards includes as many students as possible balanced with maintaining privacy. I urge you to consider adding additional elements to the State’s explanation of how the subgroup size intends to ensure accountability for as many students as possible.
I endorse the comments submitted to you by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. I believe these comments provide the best foundation for positive change for students with disabilities and urge you to take them under consideration.
Thank you for allowing me to submit my comments today.
Thank you for your continued support on behalf of those with learning disabilities. Your voice always makes a difference!
Director of Public Policy
National Center for Learning DisabilitiesSandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
Volunteer Webmaster, www.OurChildrenLeftBehind.com (IDEA & NCLB reauthorization)
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