Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Census Bureau Releases Data About School-Aged Children Living In Poverty By County

English: Seal of the United States Census Bure...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United States Census Bureau today released data concerning the rate of school-aged children living in poverty by county for the entire nation.  The data are a part of the SAIPE (Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates) prepared by the Bureau. Note that later versions of this data will be broken down by school districts.  

You can review the Census Bureau's study and data here.

Here are some highlights from their press release:

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today, the poverty rate for school-age children had no statistical change in 2,199 counties between 2007 and 2013 while 928 counties experienced an increase and 15 showed a decline.
      The statistics are from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates
 program, which provides the only up-to-date, single-year income and poverty statistics for all counties and school districts — roughly 3,140 counties and nearly 14,000 school districts nationally. Data from the American Community Survey are an important input to these estimates.

      “County school-age child poverty rates are still above their prerecession levels in metropolitan areas of California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, as well as the coastal areas of the Northeast and Great Lakes states,” said Wesley Basel of the Census Bureau’s Small Area Estimates Branch. “State and local programs use these statistics for distributing funds and managing school programs.”
      The findings show there were large concentrations in the South and West of the 972 counties with poverty rates statistically above the national average of 20.8 percent for school-age children. For example, in New Mexico and Mississippi, more than 80 percent of counties had poverty rates statistically greater than the national rate. Across the nation, 15 percent of school districts had poverty rates greater than 30 percent for school-age children.
      Conversely, 902 counties had poverty rates for school-age children that were statistically lower than the national rate. In five states, 80 percent of counties had rates lower than the national rate: Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
      The official poverty statistics for the nation were released in the fall showing a decline in thepoverty rate for children under age 18
 from the previous year for the first time since 2000.

      Of the 40 counties with median household income
 estimated to be statistically higher than $80,000, more than two-thirds were in the northeast corridor of metropolitan areas stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C. Estimated median household income among these higher-income counties ranged to nearly $120,000. The U.S. median household income was $51,939

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekly Question!

We are continuing our series on bullying of kids with disabilities. What else should school districts do to prevent the serious problem of bullying?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bullying of Kids With Disabilities - Part X

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...
English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Berea, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Bullying remains the hottest of hot button issues in special education law. 
In the first installment of this series, I explained the early cases laying the conceptual groundwork for the proposition that failure to react to bullying can constitute a denial of FAPE under IDEA.  In later installments, I have discussed the seminal decision of TK & SK ex rel LK v. New York City Dept of Educ 779 F.Supp.2d 289, 56 IDELR 228 (E.D.N.Y. 4/25/2011).  This case is important not just because it analyzes special education law principles involving bullying, but also because it provides a thorough review of the social science literature on bullying. You should read this case and you can do so here.  (NOTE: What follows is a discussion of TK I.  Please note that we have subsequently done a post on the District Court's decision on the appeal of the SRO decision after the court's remand, or TK II. You can read that post hereTK I remains good law.) #bullying

Here is more from the court...these are not my words:

F. Effects on Children

2. Bully

Not surprisingly, a bully is likely to have an aggressive attitude. Olweus, supra, at 34. He will probably have a positive attitude toward violence and a strong self-image. Id. Typically, he will be of average popularity and often will be surrounded by a small group of friends who support him. Id. at 35.
"The bullies don't do well later on." Macklem, supra, at 42. Despite his center position in the school social hierarchy, the impact of being the bully will leave a lasting adverse mark. Perpetrators of bullying report being sad most days, and have somewhat the same depressive symptoms as victims. Glew, supra, at 1030 ("Students who felt unsafe and sad most days had 2.5 and 1.5 times the odds of being a bully ..."). Bullies themselves typically have more health problems and a poorer emotional adjustment than students not involved in bullying. Nansel, supra, at 733-34; Macklem, supra, at 43; Glew, supra, at 1031.
Females who bully are more likely to have hostile inter-personal interactions in their adulthood. Macklem, supra, at 43. They also may have more trouble adjusting to the role of parent than students who were not bullies. Id.
Bullying behavior may simply be the beginning of an antisocial behavioral pattern that will endure during the tormentor's entire life. Id. at 42. Those students who start bullying early on in their academic lives are more likely to assault or sexually harass their classmates in high school. Id. As young people continue to grow up, bullying may be a precursor to violence in dating. Id. at 43.
"Bullies and bully-victims [but not victims] consistently reported significantly more frequent alcohol use." Nansel, supra, at 734; Olweus, supra, at 35-36
[ 779 F.Supp.2d 306 ]

("Bullying can also be viewed as a component of a more generally antisocial and rule-breaking (conduct disordered') behavior pattern. From this perspective, it is natural to predict that youngsters who are aggressive and bully others, run a clearly increased risk of later engaging in other problem behaviors such as criminality and alcohol abuse. A number of recent studies confirm their general prediction.") Additionally, bullies are more likely than non-bullies to commit a felony in the future. Olweus, supra, at 36; Macklem, supra, at 44 (finding in one longitudinal study that "[b]ullying was clearly a precursor to later violent behavior for this group, although, of course, not all bullies would persist along this pathway toward violence"). In one study, 60 percent of boys identified as bullies in grades six to nine had at least one conviction by age 24, and 35 to 40 percent of them had three or more convictions. Olweus, supra, at 36. This is a four-fold increase in the level of criminality over that of non-bullies. Victims had an average or below-average chance of engaging in future criminality. Id.
"Chronic bullying has a cost for society as well as for the individual and, of course, the victim." Macklem, supra, at 43. The children who they harass are left to try to move on after years of uncontroverted harassment. The bullies themselves, through their own actions, are then more likely to require social services, educational services, and criminal justice services. Id.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Breaking: OSERS Issues New Guidance Concerning the IDEA Rights of Children With Disabilities in Correctional Facilities

Seal of the United States Department of Education
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued new guidance last week on the IDEA rights of children with disabilities who are incarcerated.  The guidance spells out the responsibilities of state departments of education, school districts and other LEAs, correctional facilities and non-educational agencies in providing child find, identification, evaluation, FAPE, least restrictive environment, discipline protections and the other provisions of IDEA.

Here is a quote from the letter: 
"Students with disabilities represent a large portion of students in correctional facilities, and it appears that not all students with disabilities are receiving the special education and related services to which they are entitled. National reports document that approximately one third of students in juvenile correctional facilities were receiving special education services, ranging from 9 percent to 78 percent across jurisdictions.   States reported that in 2012–2013, of the 5,823,844 students with disabilities, ages 6 through 21, served under IDEA, Part B, 16,157 received special education and related services in correctional facilities.  Evidence suggests that proper identification of students with disabilities and the quality of education services offered to students in these settings is often inadequate.  Challenges such as overcrowding, frequent transfers in and out of facilities, lack of qualified teachers, inability to address gaps in students’ education, and lack of collaboration with the LEA contribute to the problem. Providing the students with disabilities in these facilities the free appropriate public education (FAPE) to which they are entitled under the IDEA should facilitate their successful reentry into the school, community, and home, and enable them to ultimately lead successful adult lives." 

You can read the entire twenty-one page Dear Colleague letter here.  The guidance was a part of a larger package, consisting of four guidance documents, of materials on the topic of educating incarcerated youth jointly issued by the federal departments of Education and Justice.  You can review the entire package here. The joint guidance follows the release of the My Brother's Keeper Task Force Report in May.

#SpecialEducationLaw   #IncarceratedStudents   #corrections

Weekly Question!

We are continuing our series on bullying of kids with disabilities. What else should school districts do to prevent the serious problem of bullying?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tech Issue?

English: A graph to show the increase in subsc...
English: A graph to show the increase in subscribers on YouTube to Anonymous' videos.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I need your help readers- especially the techies.

A couple of readers have reported that they are experiencing problems.  In particular, these readers subscribe to our email feed.  They say that they often experience annoyingly long delays when opening the email or in some instances are directed to another website.  Other email subscribers are not having this problem.

So first, if any subscribers are having these or other problems, please let me know by comment to this post or by email (  I need to know how widespread the problem is.

Second, how do I get this fixed.  Our readers are important to us and we don't want them experiencing these issues while trying to read our posts. All useful advice is appreciated.

#technology, #blog

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Breaking: New Statistics on Older Americans With Disabilities 2008 - 2012

Logo of the American Community Survey, a proje...
Logo of the American Community Survey, a project of the United States Census Bureau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U S Census Bureau has issued a report on Older Americans With Disabilities.  This is relevant to us because one of the goals of special education is independent living for persons with disabilities after they "graduate" from special education. The report examines disability status by age, sex and selected socio-economic characteristics, such as marital status, living arrangement, educational attainment and poverty status. You can read the full report here.

Here are the highlights from the press release:
Nearly 40 percent of people age 65 and older had at least one disability, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report that covered the period 2008 to 2012. Of those 15.7 million people, two-thirds of them say they had difficulty in walking or climbing.
  Difficulty with independent living, such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping, was the second-most cited disability, followed by serious difficulty in hearing, cognitive difficulty, difficulty bathing or dressing, and serious difficulty seeing.
  While populous states such as California, Florida, New York and Texas had the largest number of older people with a disability, high disability rates were seen in Southern counties, especially in central Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta.
·          More than half (54.4 percent) of the older population who had not graduated from high school had a disability, twice the rate of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (26.0 percent). This inverse relationship between educational attainment and likelihood of having a disability was found across age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.
·          More than one-third of those 85 and older with a disability lived alone, compared with one-fourth of those age 65 to 74.
·          About 13 percent of the older household population with a disability lived in poverty; in contrast, 7 percent of those without a disability were in poverty.
·          The older population with a disability was disproportionately concentrated among those 85 and older. This group represented 13.6 percent of the total older population but accounted for 25.4 percent of the older population with a disability.
·          Women 65 and older were more likely than men 65 and older to have five of the six types of disability included in the American Community Survey, especially ambulatory difficulty. Older women’s higher rates for disability are, in part, because women live longer.
·          Older men’s higher likelihood for having a hearing disability may reflect the lifelong occupational differentials between men and women, where men may be more likely to have worked in industries that cause noise-induced hearing loss.
·          Disability rates were lower for married older people than for those widowed or in other categories of marital status.

#disability, #IndependentLiving