Illinois Law Enforcement Officials Stand Against Preschool Cuts

On April 26, 2012, Education Week reported online that Illinois law enforcement officials called on State legislators to increase spending for preschools. The Cook County Sheriff, a State prosecutor, and three police chiefs warned that if Illinois does not “beef up spending for preschools, the State will need far more money to fight and prosecute crime for years to come.” [More]

Special Education Teacher Evaluations Prove Difficult

An April 24, 2012 Associated Press article reported that some states, spurred by education reform incentives for more effective teacher evaluation systems, are encountering challenges in establishing criteria for the evaluation of special education teachers. Some states are moving toward teacher evaluations that consider students’ growth, but find this difficult for special education teachers because a special education student’s growth often cannot be measured on a test. Sixty-three percent of special education teachers in a national survey said they believe student growth should be a component of their evaluations; but only 21% said that standardized test scores were an appropriate measure. [More]

MA Report Paints an Uneven Portrait of Special Education Policy and Practice

An April 2012 report, Review of Special Education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, revealed that low-income students are considerably more likely than other students to be determined eligible for special education. The report also revealed that low-income students with disabilities and Hispanic and African American students with disabilities are considerably less likely to be included in general education classrooms. [More]

CMS Proposes Rule to Increase Medicare Payment Rates to Hospitals

On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule that would increase Medicare payment rates to hospitals by 2.3% in the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2012. CMS stated in a news release that the rate increase, together with other policies in the proposed rule and projected utilization of inpatient services, would increase Medicare's operating payments to acute care hospitals by approximately 0.9% in FY 2013. [More]

House Continuing Resolution 112 Cuts Programs Aimed at Children and Families

Six House committees including Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means passed measures that will impact programs that serve vulnerable children and families. The committees were also tasked with finding additional savings that produce a total of $261 billion for deficit reduction over ten years. [More]

Congressional Caucus on Social Work Focuses on Child Welfare

Representative Ed Towns (D-NY) hosted a forum recently to examine innovative approaches to support and strengthen the child welfare workforce in New York City. As states have dealt with significant budget cuts in the last couple of years due to the economic downturn, the child welfare workforce has seen its share of layoffs and furlough days. Children Corps is a program that is building a highly skilled workforce and reducing turnover through target outreach, selective recruitment, rigorous pre-service training and ongoing professional development and support. [More]

Obama Administration Proposes to Transform Career and Technical Education

In an April 19, 2012 statement, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the release of the President Obama Administration’s blueprint for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (CTE). The CTE, signed by former President George W. Bush, provided federal support to increase focus on the academic achievement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education students, strengthen the connections between secondary and postsecondary education, and improve state and local accountability. [More]

New York State Begins Implementing “Health Homes”

New York state has begun to implement a coordinated system of primary care and behavioral health for Medicaid recipients who have multiple conditions and who use a high volume of services. "Health Homes" utilize a care manager who develops a plan that meets an individual's goals and then creates a network of multiple health and social service providers to address the person's complex needs. Providers report to the care manager on the patient's status, treatment, and outcome. [More]

HHS Proposes Changes in Coding Rules

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed rules on April 17 that would require nationwide use of standardized health plan identifier codes by all health plans, helping providers to improve the efficiency of automated billing operations and coordination of benefits. Estimates of potential savings in administrative costs range up to $4.6 billion over ten years. [More]