Archive for August, 2009

SALEM – The Oregon State Board of Education adjusted the timeline for requiring demonstration of proficiency in the Essential Skill of Writing until the graduating class of 2013 (students in 9th grade in 2009-10). The State Board also voted to phase in the Essential Skill of Speaking at a later date.

Today the State Board adopted temporary rule OAR 581-022-0615: Assessment of Essential Skills, which formalizes the timeline for proficiency in each required Essential Skill.

The Essential Skill proficiency requirements are now as follows:

* For the graduating class of 2012 and beyond (students in 10th grade in 2009-10):
Read and comprehend a variety of text

* For the graduating class of 2013 and beyond (students in 9th grade in 2009-10):
Read and comprehend a variety of text
Write clearly and accurately

* For the graduating class of 2014 and beyond (students in 8th grade in 2009-10):
Read and comprehend a variety of text
Write clearly and accurately
Apply mathematics in a variety of settings

Based on the State Board’s June 2009 decision, the current schedule for diploma credit requirements will remain unchanged.

The State Board stressed that this change only impacts the Essential Skill proficiency requirement for high school graduation. School districts will still be required to provide instruction, administer state assessments, and document student performance. Districts will continue to administer OAKS and local performance assessments (e.g. work samples) in grades 3-8 and high school to prepare students for the Essential Skills graduation requirement. The only point of delay is the demonstration of proficiency as a graduation requirement.

“At the heart of Oregon’s new graduation requirements are Essential Skills,” said Superintendent Castillo. “We know that success in life after high school means our students must be proficient in the core subjects like math and reading. With these diploma requirements, they will demonstrate what they have learned in order to graduate. While current economic conditions in our state have necessitated a longer implementation timeline for some of these Essential Skills, our schools are still working hard to implement this critical component of the Oregon high school diploma. I am proud of the tireless efforts of educators across the state in helping to shape this work.”

“The State Board is committed to increasing the rigor and relevance of education in Oregon. We know from business, community, and higher education leaders that our graduates need higher levels of these essential life and job skills to succeed after high school. However, we also know that our schools are faced with incredible challenges right now. The revisions to the timeline will allow districts to focus their resources and provide the targeted support that students will need,” said State Board Chair Duncan Wyse.

The State Board of Education expressed a commitment to pursuing student incentives for mastering all three of the Essential Skills such as community college placement waivers, scholarships, or tuition reductions.

Starting in 2012, the State Board also intends to require Essential Skills information in student transcripts. Transcripts will likely include a description of whether students have demonstrated their proficiency in the Essential Skills of Reading, Writing, and Apply Mathematics using options adopted by the State Board (i.e. the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS), work samples scored using state scoring guides, or approved additional standardized tests). State Board actions on these reporting requirements are expected this fall.

The State Board’s decisions both in June and this week were based in part on recommendations from the Diploma Timeline Work Group, a State Board subcommittee convened to look at district resources issues.


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The Secretary of Education is proposing regulations that would implement general and non-loan provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). Proposed regulations include specifying that students with intellectual disabilities who enroll in comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs are eligible for assistance under the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and the Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs. Comments must be received by September 21, 2009.


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EEOC Says Class of Disabled Employees Fired After Taking Medical Leaves of Absence

CHICAGO – In a major class lawsuit filed here in federal court, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged that Atlanta-based United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), the world’s largest package delivery company, violated federal law by rejecting an extension of medical leave as a reasonable accommodation for its employees with disabilities.

The EEOC’s administrative investigation, conducted prior to filing the lawsuit and supervised by Chicago District Director John Rowe, found that UPS violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). According to Rowe, Trudi Momsen, an administrative assistant at UPS, took a 12-month leave of absence from work when she began experiencing symptoms of what was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. She returned to work for a few weeks, but soon thereafter needed additional time off after experiencing what she believed to be negative side effects of her medication. Although Momsen could have returned to work after an additional two-week leave of absence, UPS fired her for exceeding its 12-month leave policy. Following its investigation, the EEOC reached an administrative determination that UPS failed to accommodate Momsen’s disability, in violation of the ADA.

“This case should send a wake up call to Corporate America that violating the Americans With Disabilities Act will result in vigorous enforcement by the EEOC,” said Commission Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The ADA has been the law of the land for nearly two decades now, and employers simply have no excuse for failing to abide by its provisions.”

The EEOC filed suit late yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with UPS. The litigation, captioned EEOC v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (Civil Action No. 09-C-5291) and assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Momsen and a class of disabled employees whom UPS similarly refused to accommodate, as well as an order barring future discrimination and other relief.

EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney John Hendrickson said, “One of the main goals of the ADA is to provide gainful employment to qualified individuals with disabilities. However, policies like this one at UPS, which set arbitrary deadlines for returning to work after medical treatment, unfairly keep disabled employees from working. Sometimes a simple conversation with the employee about what might be needed to return to work is all that is necessary to keep valued employees in their jobs.”

According to company information, Atlanta-based UPS, which describes itself at the world’s largest package delivery company, is a $49.7 billion global corporation operating in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The EEOC Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.

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Recognizing that most kids enjoy the zoo, but some have a harder time than others getting here, Oregon Zoo is inviting children (birth to 18 years) with disabilities and chronic or terminal illnesses, plus their immediate families, to a free evening as a VIP at the zoo on Wednesday, August 26, 2009, from 4-8pm. The Zoo is offering this experience for free as a community service, since medical expenses often prevent these families from enjoying a night out as a family.

Participating organizations (including OrPTI) are helping families get invited. You must registered through one of the organizations to attend.

As part of this special events, participants will receive:
* Free admission to the zoo, free train rides and free access to the Chimpanzee Challenge Maze (extra fee-based summer attraction)
* Complimentary popcorn
* Animal contact with a variety of animals at the Family Farm
* Special performances of the popular Wildlife Live animal show on the main stage
* Costumed characters around zoo grounds
* 25% discount at all zoo restaurants and food stands

RSVPs for VIP Safari will only be accepted through partners. To register contact our Salem office at 888-505-2673, or email dbethell@orpti.org.

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Apply now for the PIP class of 2010!! Applications are being accepted for the Partners In Policymaking Class of 2010. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!!!

Oregon Partners in Policymaking (PIP), is an intensive 5-month leadership course for adults with developmental disabilities and parents of children with developmental disabilities. The program is operated by The Arc of Oregon and funded by the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities. It is free to participants.

The PIP program provides participants with the information to understand the past, the present, and the future for people with developmental disabilities and their families. It provides PIP members with the practical skills to positively affect their own lives and influence broader disability policy. Many of the over 180 Oregon Partners in Policymaking Graduates since 1994 have found participating in PIP has been a life-changing experience.

The website of the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities has more information about the program and comments from graduates. There is an application which can be completed on line and emailed or downloaded and mailed in.

For the direct link: http://ocdd.org/index.php/ocdd/trainings/130/

Please share this information with others who might be interested.

Please contact Marcie or Bill with any questions, concerns, or ideas about Partners in Policymaking.

Marcie Ingledue, 503-581-2726
Bill Lynch, 503-945-9941

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