|Data from IDEAdata.org
Percentages of students 6-21 yrs
identified in categories of LD, ED, or ID
for US schools
Ever wonder why the number of students identified as having learning disabilities (LD), emotional or behavior disorders (ED), or intellectual disabilities (ID) in the US is declining? The numbers are not declining, you say? Hmmmm. Well, as the table here shows, they are, indeed, declining. I drew these data from the child counts mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. I used the data for percentage of students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, as a percentage of population, by disability, and state. (I used 6-21, because those are reported consistently across the years; therefore these percentages are lower than one might expect for school-age students.) As indicated, one can check my work by referring to the data tables for US Office of Special Education Programs’ state-reported data. And, as the data show, it’s not just LD that’s decreasing.
Some of our colleagues will argue that the reason for the decline is improvement in preventative services, especially as represented by response to intervention or instruction methods that have been touted extensively in the time represented in the table here. Continue reading ‘Context for decline in special education’
Deborah Speece, Commissioner of the the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), will resign effective 1 July 2013 and become associate dean for research of the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond (VA, US). Speece told Spedpro that the decision was official as of Friday (5 April).
IES Commissioner John Q. Easton appointed Speece as commissioner of NCSER in August of 2011. During her tenure, she has overseen the research agenda for special education in the US, stabilizing what had been a drifting program and implementing valuable new initiatives despite serious fiscal challenges.
Speece’s move to VCU will strengthen both the overall research program in the school of education and the special education program itself. She not only—obviously—knows how research grants work, but she has a substantial reputation for conducting and reporting research as well as other aspects of the scholarly process (e.g., editing journal articles).
Almost 20 years ago, on a discussion list that was a precursor to SpedPro, a group of us led by Jim Kauffman developed a statement about preventing violence. It seems like a propitious time to revisit it. Here is the introduction to it.
We are in no danger of becoming a nation of wimps; we are in imminent danger of becoming a nation of thugs. We know the details of violence among children and youth in our society. We recite the litany of this violence with shame, sorrow, disgust, and terror. For decades we have failed to act on what we know about the causes of violence and aggression. We can not afford to delay effective action any longer.
The violence and aggression of the young have no single cause nor a single solution. Decades of research have revealed several contributing causes and partial solutions. If we take any of the following steps, we will become a less violent society. If we argue about which step should be first or complain that taking only one or two is insufficient, we will waste energy and delay progress. If we take all these steps together, we will reap the benefits of concerted, coherent action. None of these steps is easy or quick, nor is any a full remedy; all require intelligence and persistence.
The full statement is available for review.
In “Ex-principal: ‘Never really told the truth’ to special ed parents—
Ex-principal: I lied to parents of special-needs kids,” Shannon Mullen of the Ashbury Park (NJ, US) Press recounts a story about Sheldon Boxer, a former school administrator who says that, as a means to save funds, he misrepresented the needs of students with disabilities and the capacity of schools to serve them. Mr. Boxer accuses an attorney working with the local education agency of leading the effort without every actually issuing an edict that the purpose was to hold down costs.
Ms. Mullen captures some he-said, he-said in her story as well as some human interest (a case of a child with substantial special education needs whose parents contend say he was not provided appropriate services). You can read Ms. Mullen’s report of this sad special education story in its original form (or snag this single-page version).
Over on EBD Blog there’s a new post about a CCBD-CEC Webinar on seclusion and restraint. It expires late 7 March 2012, so jump to it soon.
In November the US Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report entitled “Improved Federal Enforcement Needed to Better Protect Students’ Rights to Testing Accommodations” of a study it performed at the behest of representatives to the US Congress. Based on interviews with individuals with disabilities, educators, advocates, commercial testing companies, and others, the report provides brief insight into testing accommodations at the secondary and post-secondary level and recommendations for government action based on its findings. Interested readers may download a one-page summary of the report from the GAO office.
Deborah L. Speece was named as the Commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) on 23 August 2011. NCSER is the leading branch of the US government’s effort to study educational innovation in special education and, as its head, Commissioner Speece will oversee a program that funds scores of research efforts including projects, evaluations, and multi-site centers throughout the US. She is the second commissioner of NCSER, and her appointment was greeted with substantial approval by the special education research community.
IES Director John Q. Easton announced the appointment of Deborah Speece as Commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) effective August 23, 2011. Known for her innovative studies of the classification and diagnosis of learning disabilities, Speece is a national leader in special education research and response to intervention strategies.
Continue reading ‘Deborah Speece Appointed Commissioner of National Center for Special Education Research’
Over on On Special Education Nirvi Shah reported that Senator Tom Harkin and colleagues once again introduced a bill proposing that the US federal government pay its full (i.e., 40%) share of the costs of special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Read her post, “Bill Would Boost Federal Spending on Students with Disabilities.”
Coleen Boyle and colleagues from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau reported in Pediatrics that, although data about the prevalence of developmental disabilities in the US are scarce, results from surveys conducted during the years 1997-2008 reveal that disabilities are both common and their prevalence is changing. Some results would surprise few (e.g., boys were more frequently reported to have problems than girls), but other results might make people wonder (e.g., the prevalence of hearing disorders reportedly decreased).
Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997–2008
OBJECTIVE: To fill gaps in crucial data needed for health and educational planning, we determined the prevalence of developmental disabilities in US children and in selected populations for a recent 12-year period.
Continue reading ‘Prevalence of developmental disorders’
Should students with disabilities get to use vouchers, too? Should private schools have to accept them? Some parents say some private schools aren’t taking vouchers from students with disabilities and they are complaining.
Journalists reported that the parents of children with disabilities in Milwaukee (WI, US) and the American Civil Liberties Union have complained to the US Deaprtment of Justice that a Milwaukee school program permitting parents to choose schools discriminates against students with disabilities. According to the complaint, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program “discriminated against students with disabilities and segregated those students in one portion of the publicly funded educational system.” The statistical basis for the argument is that 1.6% of students in the voucher-supported schools have disabilities, but nearly 20% of the students in the public schools have disabilities.
Continue reading ‘Milwaukee parents allege voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities’