The Best of Our Knowledge # 866

New regulations effecting how the achievement of students with disabilities
is measured go into effect May 9th. The U.S. Department of Education
has just released these final regulations under the No Child Left Behind
Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Listeners
may recall a year ago we spoke with John Hager, the Assistant Secretary
for the Office of Special Education. At that time, we learned that about
13% of the school population in the U.S., or nearly 7-million children,
benefit in some way from IDEA. Department of Education officials also
report that from 10% to 13% of schools fail their AYP, or Annual Yearly
Progress reports, because 1% of their overall scores must include students
with disabilities. Again, that's 13% of the school population judged to have
some form of disability. Yet only 1% of these students have had their test
scores included in the reporting process to determine if the school they
attend, is advancing toward the 2014 No Child Left Behind goals. With
the changes going into effect, states will now count students with
disabilities' test scores for up to 2% of all students assessed, when
calculating adequate yearly progress under NCLB. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, claims allowing states to test certain students with
disabilities, using an alternate assessment that more appropriately aligns
with students' needs, will yield more meaningful results for schools and
parents. Secretary Spellings also announced the department is
providing 21.1 million dollars in grants to help states create and
implement the new assessments called for in the new regulations.
Senator Ted Kennedy reacted to the announcement my saying, It's
essential to fully include children with disabilities in No Child Left
Behind's guarantee that every student counts.
To try and help us understand these changes, TBOOK got together
with three top education officials. They include:
Raymond Simon, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Kerri Briggs, Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and
Secondary Education
Dr. Alexa Posny, Director, Office of Special Education Programs,
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Glenn Busby reports. (9:29)

**(Attention Program Directors. For full details of the regulation changes,
go to the Department of Education's website at:**

As the early years of this new millennium zoom along, scientists
continue their important research into ascertaining the origins of life.
They believe understanding more about our origins is an attainable
and worthwhile goal. Of course, where we came from, and how life
began, are questions that have been posed by every culture. It seems
that all human civilizations have generated their own creation myths.
We too are asking those questions, plus some new ones. And looking
in new places for new answers as well. One of those new places that
might help answer a few questions about the origins of life on Earth, is
Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Titan sports a rich organic chemistry,
clouds, rain, and seas. But with extremely frigid temperatures, how
can this be? Last week, we found out how Titan mimics Earth in many
ways. This week, a look at Titan's geography, and possible connections
to the origins of life here. Dr. Caitlin Griffith, a Professor of Planetary Atmospheres at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, completes
our story on the elusive world of Titan.
Glenn Busby reports. (7:05)

The preceding material is supported by the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration.

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