Thursday, May 31, 2018

Key Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012 #does special education make a difference? #transition

The recent report of the National Longitudinal Transition Study indicates that, although the engagement and use of school supports have increased over the past decade (2003-2012), high school youth with an IEP are more socioeconomically disadvantaged and less likely to have experiences and expectations associated with success after high school than were other students in 2012. Among the disability groups in 2012, youth with intellectual disability, autism, deaf-blindness, multiple disabilities, and orthopedic impairments were found to be most at-risk for not transitioning successfully beyond high school.

Here are some very discouraging highlights from the executive summary of he first volume:

  • Youth with an IEP are more likely than their peers to be socioeconomically disadvantaged and to face problems with health, communication, and completing typical tasks independently. For example, they are 12 percentage points more likely to live in low-income households (58 versus 46 percent), and less likely to have parents who are employed or have a college education. Although, according to parents, 70 percent of youth with an IEP are in very good or excellent health, nearly 30 percent have chronic physical or mental health conditions or use prescription behavioral medication (about three times more common than among youth without an IEP). Parents also report that 44 percent of youth in special education have trouble understanding what others say to them (versus 8 percent of their peers) and that they are less likely to perform each of several activities of daily living without help, such as using an automated teller machine (ATM) (37 versus 55 percent) and getting to places outside the home (85 versus 95 percent). However, on average youth with an IEP are no more likely than their peers to face other challenges, such as limited English proficiency or attending an academically lower-performing school.
  • Males represent a larger share of youth with an IEP than of youth without an IEP. Policymakers and educators have long been concerned that some groups of students might be identified for special education services at different rates. Although the study cannot unravel the mix of factors that could be responsible for this pattern, two-thirds of youth with an IEP are male, compared with about half of their peers.
  • The vast majority of youth with and without an IEP feel positive about school, but those with an IEP experience bullying and are suspended at higher rates, and are less engaged in school and social activities. Like their peers, more than 80 percent of youth in special education report that they are happy with school and with school staff. However, not only do youth with an IEP more commonly experience some types of bullying (for example, 37 versus 28 percent for being teased or called names), but their parents also indicate they are more than twice as likely to be suspended (29 versus 14 percent) or expelled (8 versus 3 percent) from school. In addition, they report having lower participation rates in school extracurricular sports and clubs than their peers (64 versus 81 percent), and are less likely to get together with friends on a weekly basis (52 versus 66 percent). 
  • Youth with an IEP are more likely than youth without an IEP to struggle academically, yet less likely to receive some forms of school-based support. Half of all youth with an IEP report they have trouble with their classes, about 15 percentage points more than reported by their peers. However, they are 6 percentage points less likely to report receiving school-based academic help before or after school (72 versus 78 percent). On the other hand, parents of youth with an IEP report being more likely than other parents to help their children with homework weekly (62 versus 54 percent) and to attend a parent-teacher conference (84 versus 65 percent).  
  • Youth with an IEP lag their peers in planning and taking steps to obtain postsecondary education and jobs. Nearly 20 percentage points fewer youth with an IEP expect to enroll in some type of postsecondary education or training, compared with youth without an IEP (76 versus 94 percent). The gap is nearly 30 percentage points for those expecting to obtain a four-year college degree (51 versus 80 percent). Reflecting these gaps, youth in special education are almost half as likely as their peers to report taking college entrance and placement tests (42 versus 70 percent). Forty percent report having recent paid work experience, compared with 50 percent of youth without an IEP. In addition, parents of youth with an IEP are less likely than other parents to anticipate that their children will live independently as adults (78 versus 96 percent).
  • Youth with a 504 plan face fewer functional, social, and educational challenges than do youth with an IEP, but more than other youth without an IEP. On several indicators examined, youth with a 504 plan fare better than youth with an IEP but worse than other youth without an IEP. These indicators include communication and performance on some activities of daily living, involvement in school activities, being suspended from school, and expectations about obtaining a four-year college degree. For example, the proportion who participate in a school sport or club (76 percent) is between that of youth with an IEP (64 percent) and other youth without an IEP (81 percent). However, youth with a 504 plan have more advantaged backgrounds than these other groups and are less likely to attend lower-performing schools. 

There is a lot of data in this report. Here is a summary by our friends at the Council for Exceptional Children. All volumes of the report of the National Longitudinal Transition Study  are available here.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Weekly Question!

Now that the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court has been around for a while, has it made any difference in the education of children with disabilities? #FAPE

Friday, May 25, 2018

Former ED Secretary: Pull Kids Out of School Until Gun Safety Laws Are Passed #safe schools

Gun violence in schools affects both general education and special education. We have written here before about keeping children with disabilities safe during school crises, for example.

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan retweeted recently that his family will follow a suggestion that parents should keep kids out of school until gun safety laws are passed. The theory is that lack of attendance  from a school boycott would force legislatures to act on gun violence.

This is brilliant, and tragically necessary.
What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?
My family is all in if we can do this at scale.
Parents, will you please join us? 

Here is an article about the idea. Here is the original tweet and the reaction tweets. {Ten years ago, I would never use the phrase "reaction tweets!"}

Your thoughts?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekly Question!

Now that the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court has been around for a while, has it made any difference in the education of children with disabilities? #FAPE

Friday, May 18, 2018

Breaking: Illinois Imposes Independent Monitor for Special Education For Chicago Public Schools #CPS #SpEd

On Wednesday, the Illinois State Board of Education took the extraordinary step of imposing a special monitor to oversee special education for my alma matter, the Chicago Public Schools. The corrective action comes after an investigation that found new policies delayed and denied students services that they were entitled to under IDEA. 

Here is a quote from the Sun Times article:
"The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday voted to appoint an independent state monitor to oversee Chicago Public Schools’ under-fire special education program.
“The corrective action and recommendations we offered today are the right first step to helping CPS fully serve all children and families,” State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said in a statement. “The common good requires uncommonly good public schools. With the State Board’s action today, the Public Inquiry process concludes, and the road to transformation begins.”
The unanimous vote comes just days after state board officials said CPS has violated federal law protecting special education students.
Last month, ISBE officials found that some of CPS’ special education reforms made during ousted CEO Forrest Claypool’s tenure with help from consultants he’d known for years, “delayed and denied services to individual students” under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act."
Here is the Sun Times newspaper article. Here is an NPR story on the appointment of the monitor.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Weekly Question!

Now that the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court has been around for a while, has it made any difference in the education of children with disabilities? #FAPE

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Children With Disabilities Continue To Suffer Disproportionate Seclusion & Restraint and Discipline #seclusion and restraint

Recently released  data on nearly every public school in the nation shows that students with disabilities continue to be disciplined and experience restraint and seclusion at far higher rates than others. Here is a quote from an article in disability scoop
The figures come from the latest data collection from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. It reflects the experiences of more than 50 million students at over 96,000 public schools across the country during the 2015-2016 school year.
The Education Department found that 12 percent of students were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and another 2 percent under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
However, students with disabilities were affected by various disciplinary procedures disproportionately. These children accounted for 28 percent of referrals to law enforcement or school-related arrests, 26 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 24 percent of expulsions, the report found.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of the estimated 122,000 students restrained or secluded at school had disabilities, the Education Department said. Children served under IDEA represented 71 percent of those restrained and 66 percent of kids subject to seclusion.
Even with the high number of reports of restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities, concerns have come to light in recent months that schools may be underreporting the practice.
“I am aware of this issue, this claim,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told lawmakers during a March hearing on Capitol Hill. “We’ll certainly look into ways that we can continue to insist and ensure that states are appropriately addressing and reporting these situations.”
Separately, the latest civil rights data also indicated that just over 1 in 10 allegations of harassment or bullying that schools received were based on disability, while students with disabilities accounted for a quarter of those disciplined for harassment or bullying.
Denise Marshall, executive director of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, said the findings from the civil rights data are concerning.
“(It) seems clear that our kids continue to be harmed by the failure of the Department (of Education) to take action to address the gross inequities and disparity in treatment,” she said. “How many more generations will it take?”

You can review the OCR Civil Rights Data Collection here. Here is the OCR press release

Monday, May 7, 2018

Weekly Question!

Now that the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court has been around for a while, has it made any difference in the education of children with disabilities? #FAPE

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Endrew F Supreme Court Decision A Year Later #FAPE #FAPE Standard

An article in Education Week takes a look at the impact of the Endrew F decision a year after it was decided. The article notes that the results of cases hasn't changed much- school districts still generally win. The article notes that the high rate of settlements in special education cases muddies the analysis. {I have been making this point for some time...}

You can read the Education Week article here.

Also note this very cool cartoon of the Endrew F oral argument from the article:

Jeffrey L. Fisher argues at the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a higher standard for what̢۪s required on behalf of students with disabilities in the case of <i>Endrew F.</i> v. <i>Douglas County School District.</i> The high court ruled unanimously last year in favor of that position.