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Betsy Combier

Help Us to Continue to Help Others »

The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Aaron Carr
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
No Child Left Behind Law and the Challenge of Meeting the Needs of Title 1 Schools and Special Needs Children
Th e assessment and data reporting systems put in place as a result [of No Child Left Behind] have been crucial to our understanding how deep that challenge is, and how much needs to change in how we organize instruction. But they have also allowed us to identify schools and districts that have something to teach us about these things...helps us see the kinds of things that are necessary—comprehensive curricula tied to clear standards so that teachers know what to teach; good data systems so that teachers know which students need additional help; and time and opportunity for teachers to consult and learn from each other and experts in the fi eld.
   Columbia Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Jack Jensen   
Educating children with special needs in Title 1 schools is a challenge for any ed administrator. The 'Adequate Yearly Progress' number for a school listed in the school's NCLB data is not a meaningful statistic unless concerned administrators, teachers, parents, and service providers are able to contribute to a school board or administrator the information from within the school or school district and have the information used appropriately and in a meaningful way. In other words, in order for NCLB to be successful in meeting AYP and the needs of children who must have additional accommodations, there must be a process wherein all parties involved communicate to each other, and provide accurate data that addresses the needs of both the school as well as individual student.

What is happening in your school district?

Betsy Combier

A Parent’s Guide to Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Focus on Standards-based Individualized Education Programs (IEP)

Challenging Change: How Schools and Districts are Improving the Performance of Special Education Students

Tutors on tap when school misses mark ; No Child provision spurs move for Field, Parkade elementaries.
Article from: Columbia Daily Tribune Article date: October 25, 2008 Author: JANESE HEAVIN

Beginning next semester, Columbia Public Schools will pay for about 40 Field and Parkade elementary students to receive private tutoring.

The tutoring is part of sanctions imposed on both schools after they failed three years in a row to meet Adequate Yearly Progress, a provision of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The law states that the district must spend federal Title I dollars to provide tutoring outside of the regular school day. Field and Parkade students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches qualify for tutoring services, regardless of their age or what they scored on the statewide Missouri Assessment Program test.

Families had the option of receiving tutoring services from four companies, including the local Sylvan Learning Center. Others include Achieva Tutoring, ATS Project Success and Terry Learning Center of Missouri.

To make it easier for students to have access to tutors, the Columbia Board of Education on Thursday approved a resolution allowing for-profit tutoring companies to provide services at Parkade and Field. Typically, the school district would not rent its facilities to companies making a profit.

Paying for tutoring for the children who signed up will cost about $50,000, said Mary Humlicek, the school district's director of Title I services. The district won't get any new funds to pay for the tutoring; administrators will simply have to take it out of the district's Title I budget of about $3.5 million.

While Field and Parkade are the only two Columbia schools to face third-year sanctions, two other elementaries - Blue Ridge and Benton - have missed the benchmarks two years in a row, giving families at those schools the option of transferring to other schools. By yesterday, 23 children have transferred from Field, Parkade, Blue Ridge and Benton, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Jack Jensen said. That has required the district to add another bus route, an expense that also comes out of the Title I budget.

More schools in Columbia and across the state are expected to face sanctions in the coming years as AYP requirements become more rigorous. This year, about half of all students in each subgroup, including low-income and black students, had to score proficient or better on the MAP test for a school to meet the federal requirement. The percentage of children required to be at least proficient will continue to increase every year.

Only three Columbia elementary schools - New Haven, Ridgeway and Midway Heights - met the requirements for communication arts and math this past year. Those three schools do not have enough students to constitute every subgroup required to be proficient by NCLB.

Jensen said he understands the idea behind the federal law but questions whether it's fair to individual school buildings.

"There are some really good things about NCLB, like the fact we're focusing not on an average achievement level of a school or district but looking at subgroups and making sure we're meeting needs of all kids," he said. "But the sanctions when a school does not make AYP - it's really not a level playing field because one school may only have to make AYP in one or two subgroups, while another school has to make AYP in all of them.

"It's really unfortunate that there is the perception that a school is good because it makes AYP or bad because it doesn't make AYP because, again, the standards they're being judged by are different."

Reach Janese Heavin at (573) 815-1705 or

Students with Disabilities Show Marked Improvement under No Child Left Behind

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Center for Learning Disabilities has released a comprehensive report on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) -- Rewards and Roadblocks: How Special Education Students Are Faring Under No Child Left Behind and a companion study, State Testing Accommodations: Their Value and Validity.

"NCLD has provided a review of the evidence that links improved outcomes for students with disabilities with NCLB," says Thomas Hehir, Ph.D., director of Harvard University's Graduate School of Education School Leadership Program and former director of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education. "Though more needs to be done, students with disabilities appear to be benefiting from No Child Left Behind, greater access to general curriculum, and better inclusive practices. The report provides meaningful evidence and recommendations for our nation's policy makers, and NCLD should be applauded for making it available.


The reports provide a compelling look at key states such as California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas and Wyoming and highlight NCLB's impact on students who receive special education services in our nation's schools -- almost half of whom having learning disabilities. Findings include:

Improved rates of participation in state general assessments for all states
Improved performance in reading and math
Improved performance in 4th grade reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), where there is no corresponding improvement for students without disabilities.
"It's important for policy makers and educators alike to know the real impact of No Child Left Behind on students with disabilities, since it is truly the first time in history that we can begin to understand what achievement looks like for all school children," says James H. Wendorf, NCLD's executive director. "Our reports highlight the positive effects of this landmark law, as well as areas for improvement. We hope they generate the discussion these issues deserve."

Both reports provide recommendations for the reauthorization of NCLB, now underway in the U.S. Congress. To view the archived Webinar and to download the reports, please visit

Published June 19, 2007

© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation