Causes of Education Disproportionality and Practicality

One of our popular posts concerns 50 causes of special education over-identification in America’s schools.  “Causes” can be identified all the way from congress to local IEP meetings.  A first response is to say the system is too complex to overhaul.  Where does one start?

We get confused waiting for policy makers to “fix the problem.”  In fact, IDEA says we at the “local level” can take action.  In fact, LEAs are bound to reduce the improper placements of at-risk children in special education.

The cliché is to say, “It’s not rocket  science!”  Superintendents can take action with simple district-wide measures to direct personnel to establish proportional admissions.  From a prior post, here is the STOP approach:

Stop sign along country road

“A while back we proposed half in jest a direct approach.  It involves the local school administrator writing directly to the staff and telling them to stop placing so many children in special education, and stop keeping them there for an unacceptable length of time. Thinking on it, it is not a half-bad solution.  In fact, it is a powerful, proper and cost-effective solution.

States are supposed to monitor LEAs to make sure they are doing the job.  The STOP approach can do it.

“Dear Colleagues,  

I have noticed we have more than the predicted numbers of children in special education, and our district is part of a national pattern showing minority children in particular  too often go into special education.  The national reports indicate too that children are placed in the wrong categories, or some categories are over-used. Let’s try to cut back on our special education enrollment by 10%.  Each person must use his or her skills to make rock solid eligibility judgments.

I am providing a simple one page report form with a checklist and a place for comments.  Please turn this in to me by January 15.  We want to hear from you as to what you have done personally.  In the long-run such information might give us a knowledge base for what we can all do together to combat over-identification.

Thanks for all you do!  As usual, you will hear back from me on your report.

Missy Jane Rogers


Mandated numbers

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