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Promising practices: Creating a STEM workforce for all

SmartBlog on Education – Melissa Greenwood

“The future is bright for careers in science, technology, engineering and math…Research shows STEM will continue permeating many areas of the future world of work, and we hope the culture is one in which individuals — regardless of socioeconomics, gender, skin color or disability — have equal opportunities for success. But there are roadblocks to participation for some groups…SmartBrief Education gathered a group of experts for the Equity in STEM: Taking the Challenge to Build an Inclusive Workforce event to discuss ways to remove some of these roadblocks and build inclusive pathways to STEM careers. The panelists highlighted strategies to help bridge the gap among underrepresented populations, including girls and individuals with disabilities…Keep reading for a deep dive into these — and other — ideas that businesses, educators and others can begin using today to help build the inclusive STEM workforce of tomorrow.”(more)

Obama to forgive the student debt of permanently disabled people

The Washington Post – Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

“The Obama administration plans to forgive $7.7 billion in federal student loans held by nearly 400,000 permanently disabled Americans. By law, anyone with a severe disability is eligible to have the government discharge their federal student loans. The administration took steps four years ago to make the process easier by letting people who are totally and permanently disabled use their Social Security designation to apply for a discharge, but few took advantage. The Department of Education is now taking it upon itself to identify eligible borrowers and guide them through the steps to discharge their loans. “Too many eligible borrowers were falling through the cracks, unaware they were eligible for relief,” said Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell in a statement. “Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief. And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due.””(more)

Surprising idea for special education students: Go to college

Oregon Live – Betsy Hammond

“In Portland and around the country, a generation of children with intellectual disabilities has grown up integrated into their schools and society like never before. Young people like 20-year-old Grant High graduate Cody Sullivan and 16-year-old Benson High sophomore Daniel Jarvis-Holland, both of whom have Down syndrome, attended all the same classes as other kids their age since kindergarten. And they’ve done the other things children and young adults do, too: join clubs, ride bikes, use social media, play on sports teams, work summer jobs. But even their parents, who fought hard to get them included in regular classrooms in elementary and high school, were surprised to learn what their children expect next: They assume they will go to college…It turns out that, at least for a small segment of the Portland area’s young adults with intellectual disabilities, college will in fact be possible.”(more)

Celebrating 40 Years of IDEA – Hannah Smith

“This month, our nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), signed by President Gerald Ford. This law represents a landmark civil rights measure that has helped to give all children the opportunity to develop their talents and contribute to their communities. IDEA opened the doors of public schools to millions of children with disabilities. Before the law was passed, children with disabilities in this country were not guaranteed equal access to a quality education…Today, nearly 62 percent of students with disabilities are in general education classrooms.”(more)