There has been a lot of hullabaloo about the decline in the number of students receiving special education in Texas and across the country. But guess what—the numbers are going up.
Special ed numbers hit their peak in 2004. That was also the year when Congress re-authorized the law, putting an emphasis on concerns over disproportionality and the need to make sure that students receive solid teaching before they are identified as having a disability. For the next seven years the numbers went down. The total drop was 93,000, with over half of that attributable to Texas (53,221).
Then they started to go up again. The numbers have gone up in each of the past four years. In the latest year for which numbers are available, (2015) Texas added 10,482 students in special education—an increase of 2.6%.
If you look at the 11-year trend from 2004 to 2015, Texas ranked 10th in the percentage drop. Rhode Island led the nation with an astonishing 28.3% drop in the special education population. The drop in Texas was 11.3%. NOTE: This is not the percentage of kids served in special education. This is the percentage drop from 2004 to 2015—the rate at which the numbers went down.
Other jurisdictions that lowered their numbers at a faster pace than Texas were: The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, and New Hampshire.
This data comes from the U.S. Department of Education, as reported at LRP’s Special Ed Connection.
DAWG BONE: IT’S NOT A NUMBERS GAME. ELIGIBILITY SHOULD BE BASED ON AN INDIVIDUALIZED EVALUATION.
File this one under: SPECIAL EDUCATION