Monday, January 25, 2010

Learning About 'Special Ed'

Turns out that maybe it's not so "special" after all.

P-Mac's post on Borsuk's Reagan school brouhaha has a most interesting combox item:

...this whole special ed thing is suspect. Few actually look too deeply at the kids they are diagnosing or what their disabilities are. As a special educator for almost 20 years I can say with 100% certainty that some kids who are not disabled are being placed in special ed.

MPS uses a "non-categorical" label, along with the ever popular Other Health Impairment, which for all practical purposes could be placed on any kid who is behind a year in any academic area. These kids ARE NOT learning disabled nor do they have an emotional disorder (which have a more strict set of criteria), they simply were either raised in a non-nurturing environment, didn't attend school regularly or were allowed to behave without restrictions, but now the district needs to label them.

Diagnosticians feel pressure from parents, advocate groups and from staff to label these kids even though they may not qualify based on federal and state standards. I have been in meetings were students are placed in special ed but don't truly qualify and this then extends the number of special ed students in MPS.

The author self-identifies as an MPS teacher.

Question: does MPS get extra State money for 'special ed' kids?


Cat said...

As a special ed. teacher, i think I can answer this.Yes, the district does get more money for special ed kids- the amount depends on the student's disability.
Some parents want their kids dianosed as disabled for seveal reasons. First, a dianosis can make the kid eligibile for SSI payments. Second, especially among brighter kids, some kids want the label so they can get accomodations for testing, like for the ACT and also higher grades.
This really desn't happen too often, though. First, most teachers don't like the idea. It means a whole lot of paper work.
Well, does it happen, yes. MPS is involved in a lawsuit for not proprerly testing kids and placing legitimate disabled kids in Special ed. So, now MPS is probably gun shy and putting kids in Special Ed.
Is it for money- I doubt it. It costs more to place a kids in Special Ed, even in the above mentioned cases. They need to hire more special ed. staff to administrators. So, while they get more money, they are also spending more.

Dan said...

Darn it, I have to get used to wife having her own blog. The above post was written by Dan

neomom said...

Don't forget those parents of the year that shop out for doctors to make sure their kids get diagnosed so they can sell the drugs.

At least, that is an issue here.

TerryN said...

Wonder what percentage of special ed kids matriculate into prison.

I know California uses 3rd grade reading skills to predict future prison populations.

Amy said...

When we were younger, my cousin (who's about a month and a half younger than me) was diagnosed as needing special ed, even though it was obvious she didn't. Even then, the person who made this recommendation told my aunt it helped the schools...