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Getting Students With Autism Through High School, To College And Beyond

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Colin Ozeki, a high school student with autism, is on track to graduate this year from Millennium Brooklyn High School with an advanced diploma.

Amy Pearl/WNYC

Colin Ozeki, 16, doesn’t like to sugarcoat how autism spectrum disorder has affected his interactions with others, his emotions and his own self-confidence. He sees it as an issue to confront, something about himself to work on and improve in order to fully participate in life around him.

He appreciates the adage, “It’s a difference, not a disability.” But he disagrees with it when it comes to himself.

“I don’t think I would be at this place that I’m at right now if it weren’t for people acknowledging the idea that I had some kind of problem per se,” says Colin. “I might have just been this confused person forever, and somewhat underdeveloped.”

We know a lot more about children with autism spectrum disorders than we did just a decade ago, but nationwide students with autism are enrolling in college in relatively low numbers.

Colin, now a senior at Millennium Brooklyn High School, has been part of a program in the New York City schools aiming to change that. It’s called ASD Nest (ASD refers to students with autism spectrum disorder) and he’s been with it his entire school career.

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Education

How Investing In Preschool Beats The Stock Market, Hands Down

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LA Johnson/NPR

If you got 13 percent back on your investments every year, you’d be pretty happy, right? Remember, the S&P 500, historically, has averaged about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation.

What if the investment is in children, and the return on investment not only makes economic sense but results in richer, fuller, healthier lives for the entire family?

That’s the crux of a new paper out Monday, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, co-authored by Nobel laureate James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development.

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Education

Schools Hustle To Reach Kids Who Move With The Harvest, Not The School Year

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Teacher Sarah Ross and students (from left to right) Ximena, age 4, Yareli, age 3, and Kendra, age 2 at the Indiana Migrant Preschool Center, a free preschool for migrant children ages 2 to 5. The school teaches students in English and Spanish with the goal of preparing migrant children for kindergarten, wherever it may be.

Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting

If you’re carving a jack-o-lantern tonight, take a minute to think about who picked that pumpkin.

Maybe it was Anayeli Camacho, one of the country’s estimated 3 million migrant farm workers, and mother of two. For part of the year she rents a trailer on farmland in Oaktown, Indiana where she works in the fields, harvesting pumpkins and other crops.

But as the fall harvest comes to a close, she and her family will head back down south for the winter, following seasonal work. This is what Camacho has done for the last decade, traveling north and south, from Florida to Indiana, bringing her family, which now includes 4-year-old Ximena, along with her.

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Education

4 Myths About School Bullying And The ‘Trump Effect’

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On Thursday, Hillary Clinton packaged a major new school policy proposal as an attack on her rival, Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump has made no apologies to the growing list of people that he has attempted to bully since the launch of his hate-filled campaign,” read the press release from the Clinton campaign about a new $500 million initiative called “Better than Bullying.”

In order to get the money, states would have to pass comprehensive anti-bullying laws and form plans to use school-based interventions like social and emotional learning curricula, or hiring more school counselors.

Under the proposal, the federal government would help pay for those programs by contributing $4 for every $1 put up by states.

The emotional resonance is clear. But how good is the evidence for calling bullying an “urgent crisis,” as the Democratic nominee’s campaign did? Never mind blaming a presidential candidate for a day-to-day increase in bullying?

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Education

Texas May Be Denying Tens Of Thousands Of Children Special Education

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LA Johnson/NPR

When Rosley Espinoza’s daughter was very young, in preschool, she started acting differently. She seemed distracted and would get in trouble at school.

“Lack of interest, teachers’ notes coming home with behavior notes,” Espinoza says, speaking in Spanish.

She says she asked school officials to evaluate her daughter, Citlali, for special education, but they didn’t.

Every year, Espinoza says, Citlali’s behavior got worse. Last year, in second grade, “she stopped paying attention in class … [she was] harassing other children. On some occasions she would scream, yell.”

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Education

Latino Students: A Portrait In Numbers

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Latinos are by far the fastest growing chunk of the U.S. school population. A new report by the National Council of La Raza gives a fascinating snapshot of this fast-growing population.

Here are some highlights:

Demographics

  • Over the last 15 years, Latino enrollment has significantly outpaced that of whites and African-Americans.
  • Latinos under the age of 18 now total 18.2 million, a 47 percent jump since 2000.
  • Though white children are still the majority in this age group — 52 percent — Latino children are projected to make up about a third of total pre-K-12 enrollment by 2023.
  • The percentage of Latino children whose parents were born in the U.S. now dwarfs the number of Latino children whose parents were foreign born, 46 to 6 percent. States in the southeastern U.S., led by Tennessee and South Carolina, have seen the most dramatic increases in second-generation Latino children. In other words …
  • Immigration is no longer the primary factor driving Latino population growth. Overall, 95 percent of Latinos 18 and younger are U.S. born.

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