Sunday, November 26, 2017

Forced to wait for help, or get none at all, Maine kids with disabilities risk starting school behind

The state system that provided services to Sophie, called Child Development Services, or CDS, represents Maine’s biggest push to intervene early in the lives of Maine children with disabilities and reduce their need for costly special education services when they reach school. Over the past three years, CDS has expanded its services for children with autism like Sophie. But the system has also fallen short of its legal obligations, according to interviews with school officials, experts and parents, and based on a review of program data.

More >> Forced to wait for help, or get none at all, Maine kids with disabilities risk starting school behind

Friday, November 24, 2017

After 50 years, a Maine family is finally reunited



“I would look at people, and think, ‘Could that be my mother? Is that my father?’” said Samaroo, 50, who was adopted by John and Carolyn Giberson of Fort Fairfield as a newborn. “They could have been right under my nose … Turns out, in a way, they were.”

More >> After 50 years, a Maine family is finally reunited

Portland school officials craft transgender policy

The comprehensive guidelines – with input from students – will require staff training. A vote takes place Tuesday.  The Portland school board is poised to adopt one of the state’s most comprehensive transgender student policies, one that goes beyond the “bathroom issue” by requiring staff training, using a student’s preferred name and personal pronoun, and taking the student’s side at school if there is disagreement with a parent’s wishes.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Maine isn’t treating children with disabilities as required under federal law

Although I do not doubt anything this article says, I did not have this kind of an experience with CDC.  We were referred to them for our youngest daughter.  They got us an IEP with the school.  That got her a year of speech therapy prior to her starting Kindergarten.  

The speech therapy was done by Northeast Hearing and Speech in Portland.  I have nothing but good things to say about them.
Maine’s statewide test results haven’t really changed for years. So we set out to understand what the state should be doing if it wants to see more young people succeed in school and eventually earn some type of post-secondary degree. 
This is a continuation of an ongoing series, Your School, that examines what is holding back teachers, principals, parents and communities from helping students realize their full potential, and aims to hold up promising efforts that other places might learn from.  
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How Maine hurt education by trying to reform it

There’s a characteristic that stands out about state education policy in the minds of many Maine teachers and school administrators: an inability to stick with major initiatives.

The inconsistency makes it more difficult for schools to focus on improving student achievement, teachers and administrators say. And it sows doubt in the minds of educators that any major state education initiative has staying power.

Take standardized tests.

More >> How Maine hurt education by trying to reform it

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Seven weeks after breach, state tells 2,100 foster parents that personal data went online

The names, addresses and Social Security numbers of roughly 2,100 Mainers who receive foster care benefits were accidentally posted to a public website in September, the Maine Office of Information Technology said Monday.

 The office “has begun notifying approximately 2,100 individuals of a recent incident that may have resulted in a temporary exposure of their personal information,” the agency said in a written statement.

More >> Seven weeks after breach, state tells 2,100 foster parents that personal data went online

I am really surprised that DHHS figured this out.  My experience has been that they're not very bright. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

I-Team: Less than half of schools use free kit to test water for lead



Nearly one year after the state started offering free lead testing kits to schools, the CBS 13 I-Team discovers less than half have actually requested them.

School is supposed to be a safe place for kids to learn and grow, but Maine's aging infrastructure can sometimes expose them to a danger they can't see, smell or taste.

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

DHHS misspent $13.4M in federal welfare funds but likely won’t face a penalty



The Maine Department of Health and Human Services spent more than $13 million in federal welfare funds unlawfully in 2015 and 2016, but the state is unlikely to face a financial penalty for the misuse.

Maine DHHS spent $13.4 million in federal welfare funds over the course of those two years on services for elderly and disabled Mainers, including in-home care and Meals on Wheels. Federal law, however, requires that states use the money on programs or services for low-income families with children.

More >> DHHS misspent $13.4M in federal welfare funds but likely won’t face a penalty