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admin | Category: Ed Treatment Exercise | 21.02.2016
A new report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the maintenance of effort (MOE) spending requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA), which requires districts to maintain the previous year’s spending on special education, may have the unintended effect of squashing innovation and in some cases reduced services for special education students.
Because districts must spend the same amount of money they spent the previous year on special education, MOE can deter districts from pursuing or investing in special education services or innovation that may temporarily increase spending even if it will improve or expand services for students with special needs for fear of being required to maintain the spending in subsequent years.
Similarly the report that found that because during budgeting crisis districts were not able to economize special education spending, they ended up cutting spending in general education, and as a result limiting the services provided to all students, including special education students who spent their time in general education settings.
While the report concluded that most states are meeting the MOE requirement (albeit with many reporting challenges), the Department of Education’s( DOE) delayed monitoring feedback on MOE have hampered states’ ability the facilitate compliance with MOE and preventing districts from taking corrective action. States also reported frustration over the DOE’s unclear and changing guidance and policies around MOE, further compounded by a lack of training and technical assistance provided by the DOE.
The report concluded with several recommendations for the Secretary of Education to strengthen state’s monitoring to facilitate compliance with MOE regarding establishing and documenting time frames for prompt monitoring feedback and providing technical assistance and training to states to better facilitate MOE compliance. Even as policy makers and health experts point to an increased need for exercise, more than half of four-year colleges and universities in the United States have dropped physical education requirements compared to historic levels.
Oregon State University researcher Brad Cardinal, lead author of the study, examined data from 354 randomly selected four-year universities and colleges going back to 1920, a peak year with 97 percent of students required to take physical education.
More than 34 percent of adolescents and teens ages 12-19 are overweight and more than 17 percent are obese. Cardinal, who is a professor of exercise and sport science at OSU and a national expert on the benefits of physical activity, said research shows that exercise not only improves human health, but it also improves cognitive performance. Cardinal’s own university, Oregon State University, still requires physical education courses. While no research has conclusively shown why this downward trend is happening at universities, Cardinal said it is likely a result of shrinking budgets and an increased focus on purely academic courses, similar to what has happened at public elementary, middle, and high schools. However, he noted that the median physical education budget for schools in the United States is only $764 per school year in K-12 and 61 percent of physical education teachers report an annual budget of less than $1,000. While many universities offer recreation classes and fitness centers, Cardinal said, those facilities are often intimidating for first-year, international, and low-fitness or skill-level students.


He added that it may be up to researchers and experts in his own discipline of exercise science to turn the tide at universities, and bring the research into a policy arena. Spencer Sorensen of Portland State University and Marita Cardinal of Western Oregon University contributed to this study.
In 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced a five-year plan called CS4All with a core goal of making Computer Science a graduation requirement in the city’s public schools. Three years later, after a unanimous vote last week, the Chicago Public School Board of Education officially decided to make computer science a graduation requirement for all high school students in the country’s third-largest school district. As Megan Rose Dickey of TechCrunch writes, the incoming class of freshmen (Class of 2020) should complete a computer science curriculum before graduating. Chicago is the first district nationwide to cement Computer Science as a graduation requirement, notes Karis Hustad of ChicagoInno. Mayor Emanuel firmly believes in the importance of computer science education for the students’ future. Through this initiative, 250 educators in the Windy City are already certified to teach Computer Science courses, writes Mariella Moon of Engadget. The Mayor is convinced that early exposure to STEM subjects and computer science is crucial for paving the path to college and career success. According to the district, Computer Science is only offered in 25 percent of schools across the country. To achieve this goal, the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of College and Career Success will continue to support the ongoing career development, coaching, and program administration and provide any assistance the schools may need to implement successfully the computer science graduation requirement. While the DOE completed its fiscal monitoring between 2010-2012, it has yet to issue feedback to nearly half of the states, despite its performance standard to deliver feedback within 88 days. These rates have roughly doubled since 1980, according to the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report.
He said requiring physical education sets the tone for students to understand that being active and healthy is as important as reading, writing and math.


Yet, obesity will cost the United States $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018, about 21 percent of the nation’s health-care spending. He said studies have shown that campus exercise facilities are often utilized by the healthiest population of the student body.
Tech giants such as Code.org, Microsoft, Google, The Illinois Technology Foundation and many others supported the idea and started providing curriculum and preparing teachers to make it possible. The students in the Class 2016-2017 will have to pass at least one computer science class equivalent to one credit, which will be added to the pupils’ two-credit career education requirement.
When he launched CS4All three years ago, Emanuel also encouraged President Obama to introduce coding classes as a national requirement for high school graduation. He commented that computer science as a core requirement would ensure the high school graduates were familiar with the language of the 21st century so they could be competitive in the future. 107 schools in Chicago have already implemented CS curriculum; 41 of them are high schools.
In 2017 a federal grant will make it possible to provide each school with Wi-Fi and high-speed broadband, expanding the CS4All program to all high schools in the state.
Recent statistics have shown that the demand for high-qualified computer engineers and software developers will outstrip supply enough to create a gap of 1 million job vacancies by 2024. Cardinal believes even requiring just one or two exercise courses can at least jump-start a student into thinking about a healthy lifestyle as part of their overall college experience and later life. The Mayor’s aim is to add 50-60 schools to the list each year with priority being given to high schools. Currently, there are 600,000 job openings in computing, but universities produced fewer than 40,000 computer science graduates in 2015.



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