Skip to comments.Experts can't explain drop in [Texas'] special education numbers
Posted on 07/05/2012 3:05:26 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Special education students seem to be disappearing in Texas.
The Lone Star State diagnosed just 8.8 percent of its public school students as having special needs in 2011, down from 12 percent in 2000. Texas now has the lowest percentage of special education students in the nation - a full 4 percentage points below the U.S. average. Urban giants like the Houston and Dallas school districts identify even fewer children at 7.9 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively........
.....Gene Lenz, director of federal and state education policy for the Texas Education Agency, said the declines in special education numbers can be traced to improved training for teachers, additional classroom resources and the state's focus on ensuring that all children can read by third grade.
"While we're proud of the work that's happened here, we're not naive," Lenz said. "We're always worried about whether everyone has access to special education services that needs it. But nothing seems more inappropriate to me than to place a child into special education when they don't have a disability."
Texas has moved away from over-diagnosing students, he added. At one point, children may have been sent to special education because of the color of their skin, he said. Now, every effort is made to refer students only after they fail to respond to intervention.
"Districts are taking care to make sure that's 100 percent true before they place a label on a child," Lenz said.
(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...
I regret being so cynical when the disabled are involved but facts are facts: the teachers unions like special ed because of the low teacher-student ratios required, often in the single digits. More spec ed, more teacher jobs.
Yep, these are our ‘educators.’
I sure hope Washington doesn’t hear about this. If the number of SSI recipients doesn’t keep growing, someone will pay!
In any endeavor, in any business, in any industry, if a labor union is involved there will be one or more scams running to extort more money, to pad the workforce, to prevent changes that improve productivity or workforce efficiency.
It’s just part of who they are.
As he starts high school next year, his math classes are at the college level.(still can't spell) He still uses the organizational techniques his beloved “Special” teachers taught him.
The education system have learned not to wait until the children fail a grade or two to intervene, but to identify early and get the family involved. There are many excellent teachers who work with these children. IMO they are saints. Dealing with one is a challenge, dealing with an entire classroom that achieve, they deserve double pay.
My wife is a special education teacher in a northern suburb of Dallas and there is no shortage of special needs kids here. Given the utter joke the Dallas Independent School District has become, many people may be choosing to keep their children at home or utilize other means of educating their kids; same is probably true across all the major urban areas.
In the past, TX school districts were labeling students who scored low on the state-mandated test as Special Ed students, who were then exempt from the test, thus pumping up school scores.
Recognizing this, TX mandated that all students take the test, though Sp Ed students take a different form, and all were expected to pass. Since that task was just as onerous for the school districts, they cut back on the Sp Ed designations.
1. The kids are getting smarter, hopefully via parental intervention?
2. "They" dumbed down the test?
Whatever, this is great news.
Holder's DOJ will sue in 5... 4... 3... 2...
Texas isn’t willingly throwing children into the union “public education feeds our socialist dreams” vortex.
“Early intervention is the secret. My great nephew was special He had 150+ IQ with a true learning disability. Because of the help he got in primary school he is now getting straight A’s in advanced classes. (His father with the same issues barely made it through school)”
Similar with me, too easily distracted to stay focused - barely finished high school, nearly kicked out of college. I knew my boys would be the same, so I rode them and made it painful for them when they had higher priorities. Needless to say, it worked fine.
But had I waited around for the ‘experts’ to step in, the boys would be moping along in their 20s, still trying to figure out what to do in life.
“In the past, TX school districts were labeling students who scored low on the state-mandated test as Special Ed students, who were then exempt from the test, thus pumping up school scores. Recognizing this, TX mandated that all students take the test, though Sp Ed students take a different form, and all were expected to pass. Since that task was just as onerous for the school districts, they cut back on the Sp Ed designations.”
This is probably the ENTIRE REASON for our lower numbers. If people in Texas want to take advantage of the system, it’s a bit harder here. But there are 56 other states that would welcome them...
Special Education is a black hole that sucks up school budgets routinely, up to $30,000 per student according to one source.
2010 in MI, Special Education spending averaged 133% of regular students but costs had risen 17% in 10 years vs. a 1.4% rise for regular students.
I work with special needs children. Sometimes students are placed because they are tested @ a very low iq. 8 times out of 10 though I would say it is more environmental than genetics. These children need intensive intervention, ideally one on one that they will not be get because the parent cannot or will not work with them. Of course once your child is placed in a special needs classroom, you get that SSI check and you are already on other government support so it is in your best interest for your child to remain where he/she is. We sometimes will have 3-4 students from the same families. I love the students, love what I do but you become cynical sometimes. These students take time away from our children with autism, down’s syndrome, cp, etc. I will admit there are a few that can be labeled MR however some of that, knowing the environment the child comes from, could also be caused by the choices the mom made while child was in eutero....
I would suggest that you do not live in Texas, or you would not be talking about teacher’s unions, which do not exist there.
Well, let’s give a little credit for this to TEA/the Feds who have MANDATED that a school can have only a very tiny percentage of its population in the special education department, regardless of whether or not more students than that arbitrary percentage qualify in reality.
Absolutely. I have boy/girl twin 5-year-olds with Autism. Because it was caught and early intervention started shortly after they turned 2, the girl is going to a regular kindergarten this fall and her brother will be in the special ed. classroom at the same school (instead of the special ed. school he would have been otherwise projected to attend).
And it isn't just that their results were atypical (although we note that the girl is going to become the program's poster child for success) -- the program as a whole is seeing an increasing number of students being placed in higher-functioning environments than a few years ago, which can be directly traced to the increase in emphasis on early intervention.
Yes, of course "special needs" is over-broad and many kids are over-diagnosed. But there are still many kids with true special needs, and early intervention has worked very well for them.
My red headed, blue eyed grandson statistically will fall into the realm. His parents and I are already on it.....He's two months old.
One of my aunt taught third grade. She was given the boys who had trouble learning to read. She recognized that many were physically not on target. With help of the local university she developed an atmosphere that met all needs. Her “boys” were always up to level and beyond by the end of the year. Received teacher of the year twice from the state....Unfortunately others didn't pick it up...Too expensive, although, she somehow managed to fund it with her single parent teacher's income.
“My red headed, blue eyed grandson statistically will fall into the realm. His parents and I are already on it.....He’s two months old.”
OUTSTANDING!! Teach him reading (phonics, of course) before he’s 4 years old, and walk him through math after that, with NO CALCULATORS. Keep him at least 2 years ahead in both areas and the schools won’t be able to lay a finger on him as far as messing up his life - he’ll just laugh at them and feel sorry the other kids (like my kids did).
NOW GET TO WORK!!!