October - December, 2013

The Education News Blog will inform you of stories about public education, homeschooling and news concerning developmental disabilities such as autism and Asperger's.

December, 2013

Common Core Heats Up

Homeschool Group Warns of UN Treaty!

November, 2013

Many Stand Up for Asperger Employee

Risperdal Settles Lawsuit for $2.2 Billion

October, 2013

Jenny Hatch Wins Suit Against Parents

Katy Perry Video Contest

Most stories come from either One News Now or Disability Scoop.  If I use another source, I will give you the link at the end of the story so that you can check the original source.

You can check out past stories here.  Just click on the quarter that you want to read about.


Common Core Heats Up

Common Core State Standards aren't going away anytime soon. Here is some of the latest news concerning CCSS.

Kansas To Develop Their Own Tests

The Kansas State Board of Education voted to opt out of the Smarter Balanced tests--Common Core State Assessment Tests. The board voted to have the University of Kansas (KU) develop the state's Common Core Assessment tests. Having KU develop the tests will save the State of Kansas $1 million.  However, developing these new common core test will cost approximately $850,000 more than the previous tests.

NCLB - (No Child Left Behind)

NCLB was to be replaced by Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Funding for CCSS was made possible through grants from the Obama's Administrations Race to the Top Initiative. However, there was only X amount of dollars for Race to the Top and not every state received money from the grant.

Now that the $100 Billion stimulus money is gone so is the leverage to make states adopt the Common Core State Standards which many states adopted BEFORE they knew what CCSS contained in order to receive the funding needed for implementation.  However, CCSS is becoming a very unpopular decision which have many states back pedaling from implementation of some or all of the Common Core curriculum.

Mississippi's Faith & Freedom Coalition Push Back

Mississippi is gearing up for a rally on January 7, 2014 against the Common Core standards.  The rally will take place on the steps of the state capitol.

In December, 2013, the Mississippi Faith & Freedom Coalition Common Core forum was attended by only 10 legislators out of 170.  The forum's purpose was to inform the legislators, school personnel and others about their opposition to the CCSS.

Perhaps the rally will reach the other 160 legislators and they will listen to their constituents.

Sunset Date To Be Considered in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, has appointed a committee to make a recommendation concerning Common Core. One recommendation supported by the Wisconsin Family Council is a sunset date on the Common Core State Standards.

Home School Group Warns of UN Treaty

Home School Legal Defense Association says that if the UN Treaty, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is ratified by the Senate, home schools would be under the authority of the Federal government and other foreign powers.

Will Estrada, HSLDA, explains that home schools are now governed and regulated by States not the federal government. However, if this treaty is ratified it could change what happens to parents who choose to educate their disabled child at home.

Mr. Estrado warns, "We have no guarantee that the committee issuing recommendations of what our country must do to comply with the treaty would be made up of people who understand the Constitution and who understand the fundamental, God-given rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children."

He reported that an 18 year old young man, in the UK, with cerebral palsy was taken from his mother by court order.  He was put into a group home instead of allowing his mother to home school him.  The court said it was for the best interest of this young man.  The UK (United Kingdom) had adopted this same UN Treaty that now is before the US Senate.


What makes the UN think that they know better what is best for American citizens?  Why would the Senate even explore this treaty?

If you are a home school parent, I hope you are opposed to this treaty and have contacted your Senator!


Risperdal Settles for $2.2 Billion

The Justice Department announced this week that it has settled one of the biggest healthcare frauds in US history.  The fraud was brought to the attention of the Justice Department in 2003 by whistle blower lawsuits in California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. $168 million will go to the whistle blowers in these states.

Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $2.2 Billion to settle allegations that they promoted powerful psychiatric medications which had not been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and offered kickbacks to physicians who prescribed them.

Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor are the three drugs in question.  Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiaries, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Scios, Inc., make these antipsychotic drugs (Risperdal and Invega) and the heart drug Natrecor.

The allegations state that Janssen promoted Risperdal for elderly dementia patients and for patients with developmental disabilities, including children from 1999 to 2005.  Allegations also state that Risperdal was promoted as a safe and effective treatment for AD/HD, OCD, ODD and autism despite known health risks such as rapid weight gain and metabolic disturbance. The FDA didn’t okay the use of Risperdale until 2006. 

See the complete story at Disability Scoop, November 6, 2013.

Many Stand Up For Asperger Employee

Chris Tuttle went to work November 11, 2013 never expecting what was waiting for him. His boss handed him a Thank You note from a woman he had never met. Another couple said they stopped by just to meet Chris.

On Saturday, November 9, Tuttle was working at Wegman's.  He was running the cash register as back-up for a busy time.  A lady that came through his line started yelling at him for being too slow. Tuttle smiled and said, "Have a nice day and thank you for shopping at Wegmans."

However, this woman wasn't happy and went to the store manager and was yelling loud enough for everyone around her could hear. Tuttle said this made him feel bad.

When he got home, he told his sister what had happened and why he was feeling low. She was so upset that she posted about the incident on her facebook page because she wanted a few friends to encourage Chris that he was doing a good job in spite of what this one lady said.

Stephen D. Cannerelli

Chris Tuttle is 28 and was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was in kindergarten. His sister, Jamie Virkler, posted about this incident on her business Facebook page so that people who knew Chris could send him encouraging remarks. She never thought that within a short period of time there would be over 12,000 comments and 76,000 likes.

Like most people that have been diagnosed with Aspergers, Chris has trouble moving on. He dwells on negative incidents. Thanks to his sister's Facebook post, this incident has turned out well for Chris and for many others who have loved ones that struggle with Aspergers.

A friend of the family stated that many parents of children with Aspergers sees Chris as a Hero.  These parents see Chris living out his life just like his peers.  Parents see this as a sign of hope for their own children who might have a disability.

Because of this incident, Chris is now a part of the company's C.A.R.E. team (Caring Appreciation and Recognizing Each other). This team organizes holiday and employee appreciation days such as giving out flowers to working mothers on Mother's Day.

Chris said he is moving on and putting this incident behind him. He said he was overwhelmed by all of the responses from those he knows and others he had never met. Chris said, "I love my job.  I just want to say 'Thank You'."


Jenny Hatch Wins Suit Against Parents

In August, 2013, a person with Downs Syndrome won a court battle that she had been fighting for about a year.  Jenny Hatch, 29, went to court to fight the guardianship of her mother and step-father.  Jenny had been living with her friends and employers Jim Talbert and Kelly Morris, owners of the Village Thrift Store in Newport News, VA.  However, more recently, she had been living in group homes against her wishes because her mom was her guardian.

Circuit Court Judge David F. Pugh ruled that Jenny needed a guardian but he also took into consideration her desires.  He temporarily assigned her friends as her guardians, Jim and Kelly.  During this one year temporary guardianship, they are to teach Ms. Hatch independent living skills.

After the ruling, Margaret, “Jenny” Hatch said, “I’m going home.  I’m so happy to be going home today.”

Jenny’s attorney, Jonathan Martinis, who works for Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, says that there is now a new way to look at how guardians are appointed.  Now the individual with the disability will have their desires taken into account.  Prior to this case, all decisions were based on what the guardian thought was best for the individual.

Jenny said that while in the group homes she wasn’t allowed to have her computer or cell phone.  She said she was treated as a child not as an adult.

On October 25, 2013, just a couple of months after Jenny won her case, The Jenny Hatch Justice Project will launch online at the American University in D.C.  This will be a resource for those with disabilities who are trying to win their own guardianship battles.

Jonathan Martinis says, “If lawyers need to know what happened in Jenny’s case and what they can do in other cases, they’ll have access to good information, training, research and resources.  Also, anyone can request services or assistance through the website.”

What’s Jenny doing now?  She is still working at the Village Thrift Shop with her friends and guardians.  Jenny is also talking and sharing her story so others who are in the same position as she was in can find a way to live their way.

These stories about Jenny can be found at Disability

Katy Perry's Video Contest

ABC’s Good Morning America had a contest challenging teens to make their own music video featuring Katy Perry’s song “Roar”.

That’s exactly what Clayton Mueller did when he chose to direct a video centered around a cheerleader at Verrado High School in Buckeye, Arizona.  What’s so special about this video that it was chosen as the first finalist in luring Katy Perry to Verrado High for a special concert?


Megan Squire is one of the cheerleaders.  She “roars” just as loud as all of the other cheerleaders.  However, this 18 year old senior has Down’s syndrome and she didn’t let her disability stop her from achieving her dream.  Mueller told ABC in response to the youtube video that it shows “how this one simple girl can spark a revolution in ideas and thoughts and things people can do.”

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