News

2018 Maryland School Report Cards (2017-2018 SY)

MSDE’s rankings of Maryland elementary, middle, and high schools are now available on-line at http://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/. You may search by school district or individual school to learn how your county and your child’s educational program were rated in areas of:

HIGH SCHOOLS

  • Academic Achievement
  • Graduation Rate
  • Progress in Achieving English Language Proficiency (not yet rated)
  • Readiness for Post-Secondary Success
  • School Quality and Student Success

ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOLS

  • Academic Achievement
  • Academic Progress
  • Progress in Achieving English Language Proficiency (not yet rated)
  • School Quality and Student Success

Please view the “percentile rankings” and star system with caution. For example, one school in Harford County earned only 12.1 out of 20 points for “Academic Achievement” (based on proficiency on state tests), and only 14.8 out of 28 for “Academic Progress” (based on multiple academic measures), but still “earned” 4 out of 5 stars, with a percentile ranking of 73. This can be very misleading. As the president of the Maryland State Education Association recommends, don’t just pay attention to the “simplistic star rating…dig deep into the data.”

Future ratings will include results of student and faculty surveys. Unfortunately, there is no reference to compliance with special education procedures and protections, or performance of students with IEPs and 504 Plans.

Hold your local schools accountable for their performance and progress.

 

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Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates

Protecting the Legal and Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities

Statement Calling for a Halt to the Practice of Separating Children from their Parents

Posted by: Denise Marshall

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) exists to protect the rights of children with disabilities.  The Administration’s inhumane and intolerable practice of separating undocumented children from their parents, who know the children best and who speak their familial language, ensures that the rights of children with disabilities are not protected. All children impacted and being interred have rights under federal law. Children with disabilities are covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, yet the system in place that forces separation does not allow for full disclosure and understanding of what needs such children may have nor does the current structure allow for the identification of suspected disabilities as required by IDEA and Section 504. Equally as disturbing is the fact that separation is occurring when the research is clear that such forced separation causes complex stress in these young victims.  Such toxic stress results in physiological changes in the brain which can disable a child’s ability to learn, alter the physiology of a child’s developing brain, and inhibit the performance of daily activities such as thinking, reading, and learning. COPAA calls upon the Administration to halt the practice of separating families now and work immediately to find humane and legal means to address the immigration challenges we have at our nation’s border.

Review information provided by the U.S. Department of Education here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/focus/immigration-resources.html?exp=3

Read about immigrant children rights here: https://www.americanbar.org/publications/child_law_practice/special/mar-apr-2017/protecting-immigrant-childrens-right-to-education-.html

Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District: Analysis of Oral Arguments

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, Wayne, Cheryl, and Leslie traveled to the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.  The Court’s decision in Endrew F. will affect every child with an IEP and every school district in the nation, making it the most important special education case before the Court in 35 years.

Read More >

 

ALERT: Endrew F. v. Douglas: U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument Analysis

supreme courtOn Wednesday, January 11, 2017, the U. S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Endrew F. v. Douglas Co. Sch. Dist., a case about educational benefit and FAPE. Pete and Pam attended and will share their thoughts below.

Amy Howe of Scotusblog writes that, at oral argument, one thing seemed relatively clear:

“The justices were dissatisfied with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit’s ruling that school districts can satisfy federal education law as long as they offer a student with a disability an educational program that provides him or her with a benefit that is more than merely de minimis, or non-trivial.”

“It was less clear exactly what standard (if any) the justices might substitute for the “more than merely de minimis” standard, but a standard “with bite” – as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan put it – would be a welcome development for children with disabilities and their parents.”

The attorney who represented Drew suggested this standard: “A student’s IEP should generally be tailored to achieve a general educational curriculum at grade level; if that is not possible, the IEP should use alternative benchmarks that are ‘the highest possible achievable by the student.'”

The attorney who represented the school district claimed that Courts have used the “more than merely de minimis” standard for decades and recommended keeping that standard.

The Solicitor General, speaking for the United States government, offered a higher standard for a free appropriate public education: that the school must offer “… a program that is aimed at significant educational progress in light of the child’s circumstances.”

Our take? All the special ed lawyers we talked to felt positive about the tone and statements during oral argument. They thought the justices recognized the problems with the current de minimis standard and felt they would come up with a new improved standard.

If you are interested in a more comprehensive article about oral argument, we recommend this excellent analysis by Amy Howe, reporter at Scotusblog: Justices grapple with proper standard for measuring educational benefits for children with disabilities.

For those who want to learn how the oral argument unfolded, here is a link to the transcript.

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