Monday, March 20, 2017

Weekly Question!

We recently ran a post asking whether special education is in danger. What do you think? #IDEA #POTUS


  1. Special Education is in fact in danger and it has been in the making since the passage of PL 94-142 in 1975. There is a historical context as to why special education is in "danger" and please note some of the brief reasons:
    1) The initial legislation was passed in 1975 (PL 94-142) and implementing regulations were not available until 1977. Within that time, the States were trying to scramble to get their own regulations consistent with federal requirements, submit plans to USDOE for approval to begin receiving the excess costs funds available within the new law, and attempting to provide regulatory guidance to local school divisions as they implemented the new regulatory requirements.
    2) Parents, advocates, and attorneys were well ahead of the curve on the passage of this legislation and used the mandatory provisions of the law and regulations like a "billy club" to seek maximum benefit for their children eligible for services under this legislation. Hence, from the very onset, States and LEAs were struggling to keep pace just to be in compliance with Congressional intent of the law and regulations. It is safe to say that there were more due process hearings filed in the first five years of the passage of PL 94-142. The LEAs however, began to understand what their expectations were and proceeded to implement programs and services consistently well from about the 1980's and forward. However, there was a seminal SCOTUS case entitled Rowley vs the Hendricks Hudson Board of Education (1983) that set the stage for a major paradigm shift that ,frankly, has yet to be achieved by States, LEAs, and even parents of children with disabilities. ( to be continued)

  2. Special Education has been in trouble for along time.special education, a mandated set of services for all students who are identified by schools as disabled and whose disability adversely impacts their educational performance. For over forty years, researchers, practitioners, parents, attorneys, and advocates have been concerned with the education of students with disabilities, and at a cost of billions of dollars per year. The basic question is: how effective are America’s special educational services?
    The answer is not pretty. As recently as 2015, slightly fewer than 8% of 8th graders with disabilities (excluding students at Department of Defense facilities) scored at the proficient level on the National Assessments. By the time students with disabilities reach 8th grade they most likely have received special education services for multiple years. Yet, despite having received years of special education services designed to provide an appropriate education, fewer than 1 in 12 are proficient readers. This percentage has improved only slightly since 2003, when slightly more than 5% of 8th graders were proficient on the NAEP assessment. Although the trend is in a positive direction, the reading scores remain frightfully low.

  3. Yes, I think special education is in danger. This is based on the answers provided by are current Head of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos during her confirmation hearing.
    “Should all schools that receive taxpayer funding be required to meet the requirements of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act?” DeVos replied, “I think that’s a matter that’s best left to the states.” When Tim Kaine followed up, noting that states might provide varying or uneven qualities of special education, and wondered aloud whether DeVos’ remedy was for families in the lower-quality situations to just move around the country in search of something better, DeVos replied, “I think that’s an issue that’s best left to the states.” Kaine pushed again, asking DeVos whether schools receiving federal funding should have to comply with IDEA, and DeVos smiled, saying, “I think that that’s certainly worth discussion.”
    It is scary to observe DeVos’ total ignorance about even the most superficial details of how special education works. The various laws and programs mandating access to a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment for children with disabilities are mandated and partially funded by the federal government. The Department of Education, sometimes in cooperation with the Department of Justice, regulates and provides oversight. I’m concerned about her ability to enforce any of the laws.