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Experts can't explain drop in [Texas'] special education numbers
Houston Chronicle ^ | July 5, 2012 | Jennifer Radcliffe

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........

[SNIP]

.....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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: education; labels; specialed
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1 posted on 07/05/2012 3:05:40 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

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.’


2 posted on 07/05/2012 3:15:38 AM PDT by relictele
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I sure hope Washington doesn’t hear about this. If the number of SSI recipients doesn’t keep growing, someone will pay!


3 posted on 07/05/2012 3:18:17 AM PDT by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: relictele

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.


4 posted on 07/05/2012 3:25:03 AM PDT by Iron Munro (John Adams: 'Two ways to enslave a country. One is by the sword, the other is by debt')
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
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)

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.

5 posted on 07/05/2012 3:38:49 AM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying then or now!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

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.


6 posted on 07/05/2012 3:54:57 AM PDT by Common Sense 101 (Hey libs... If your theories fly in the face of reality, it's not reality that's wrong.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

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.


7 posted on 07/05/2012 3:55:42 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
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.

1. The kids are getting smarter, hopefully via parental intervention?

2. "They" dumbed down the test?

Whatever, this is great news.

8 posted on 07/05/2012 3:57:02 AM PDT by upchuck (FACEBOOK... Share pointless stuff with friends you don't know. Beg for intrusion into your life.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Now, every effort is made to refer students only after they fail to respond to intervention.

Holder's DOJ will sue in 5... 4... 3... 2...

9 posted on 07/05/2012 4:27:55 AM PDT by newzjunkey
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To: newzjunkey

Texas isn’t willingly throwing children into the union “public education feeds our socialist dreams” vortex.


10 posted on 07/05/2012 4:33:16 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: hoosiermama

“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.


11 posted on 07/05/2012 4:35:06 AM PDT by BobL
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To: txrefugee

“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...


12 posted on 07/05/2012 4:37:17 AM PDT by BobL
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To: upchuck; All
It's great news in as much as it reduces costs so long as the students are handled appropriately.

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.

13 posted on 07/05/2012 4:41:56 AM PDT by newzjunkey
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

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....


14 posted on 07/05/2012 4:46:05 AM PDT by EmilyGeiger
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To: relictele

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.


15 posted on 07/05/2012 4:48:51 AM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: txrefugee

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.


16 posted on 07/05/2012 4:53:28 AM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: hoosiermama
Early intervention is the secret.

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.

17 posted on 07/05/2012 4:56:11 AM PDT by kevkrom (Those in a rush to trample the Constitution seem to forget that it is the source of their authority.)
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To: BobL
So much of it is having a supportive home who recognizes the problem and is supportive. Sounds like your family, like ours knew we had problems. For some of us we were lucky to have the old style teachers who not only set parameters, but also challenged our talents. Many of the younger teachers either don't have those skills or are not allowed to use 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.

18 posted on 07/05/2012 5:00:44 AM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying then or now!)
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To: kevkrom
Yelp! Our family has decided we were all “special needs”. A bunch of nerds/geeks that often go to the beat of different drummers. Autism? Probably a mild hereditary form. OTOH we were into all the basic needs: reading to children from birth, coloring, educational toys,focus techniques when statistics hadn't proved us out.

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.

19 posted on 07/05/2012 5:17:04 AM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying then or now!)
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To: hoosiermama

“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!!!


20 posted on 07/05/2012 5:23:35 AM PDT by BobL
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To: Clara Lou

There are teacher unions in Texas......but being a right to work state they do not have the membership nor the power they enjoy in other states!


21 posted on 07/05/2012 5:42:00 AM PDT by ontap
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To: BobL
His mama had a day care and has the entire “Little Einstein” program. She reads to him every night. Has since birth.
His dad has created a music tape, just for him based on the “Mozart Effect”. They dance regularly. (So proud of my son)
They both understand the physical development needs of being right handed/right minded as all of us seem to have that trait.

At one month he was already lifting/moving his head to watch your mouth as you talked or sang to him. Is focusing on wall art. When his daddy came home from being on tour for a week yesterday, he verbally responded from his bedroom to “Charlie I'm home”. Not bad! for two months.

Both of his parents were academically gifted, athletic and musical, BUT they both dealt with some inherited learning challenges. They understand what hard work must be done to overcome those obstacles.

22 posted on 07/05/2012 5:43:29 AM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying then or now!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I pulled 2 of my "special ed." students out of school before they were labeled and home schooled them. They both had high IQ's and could not concentrate in a classroom....I then spent the next dozen years or so saying "back to your work" or "go on to the next problem" after each and every problem they completed.

I could have just put a recorder on repeat....but hey, they are very successful now which they would not have been if labeled. Some people just can not fit into the school mold.

23 posted on 07/05/2012 5:48:32 AM PDT by Lady Heron
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To: BobL

PS...Grandma get to Love, Spoil and encourage....and she’s good at all three.


24 posted on 07/05/2012 5:48:46 AM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying then or now!)
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To: hoosiermama

Outstanding, great story. You’ll have a lot of fun with him.


25 posted on 07/05/2012 5:49:04 AM PDT by BobL
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To: BobL

Am planning on it. Love Facebook and the constant contact, picture. If you can’t live next door it’s the next best thing....But they are also with an afternoon or evening drive. Dad hasn’t been well, so our trips are limited.


26 posted on 07/05/2012 6:01:23 AM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying then or now!)
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To: Clara Lou

I stand corrected on TX but what I stated is true in many states - the teachers themselves will say so!


27 posted on 07/05/2012 6:34:29 AM PDT by relictele
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To: Clara Lou

Teacher’s unions most certainly exist here in TX, although the teachers are not required to join. My wife teaches Special Education students and gets constantly pressured to join the union.


28 posted on 07/05/2012 6:40:55 AM PDT by tarawa
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

They are simply leaving black students in the regular classroom to disrupt the other students so that the number of blacks is approximately the same as any other group sent to sepcial ed classes. Head Start also does this because people accuse them of labeling blacks. This only delays the parents getting the “Special Ed” money they want.

This is what I’ve been told by many educators in my state.


29 posted on 07/05/2012 6:44:57 AM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (We're an Oligrachy...Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. Thomas Jefferson)
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To: ontap

No. There are no teachers unions in Texas. There are teacher organizations, but no unions. [Trust me, I know about this, because I belonged to ATPE.] Membership is high in teacher organizations because that’s how a teacher gets professional insurance and has access to lawyers for professional concerns. You are correct that these organizations have little power beyond, for instance, helping a teacher hold a principal or school district to the law. One of these organizations cannot save a teacher from being justifiably released or fired.


30 posted on 07/05/2012 6:47:22 AM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: Clara Lou

http://www.tsta.org/


31 posted on 07/05/2012 6:50:25 AM PDT by ontap
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To: BobL

“Early intervention is the secret”

The schools are hamstrung by GW Bushes no child left behind kaka rules. Sometimes to meet these guidelines it takes a year or more. Private/parochial schools do even better, they kick the kids out and dump them on the public schools so it takes even longer for the child to get help especially if they don’t fit the mold.


32 posted on 07/05/2012 6:52:04 AM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (We're an Oligrachy...Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Clara Lou

“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.”

You have to remember that a lot of the people here assume everything is just like it is where they live. There’s a lot of flyover country that they just don’t understand.


33 posted on 07/05/2012 6:56:44 AM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (We're an Oligrachy...Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. Thomas Jefferson)
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To: A Strict Constructionist

I’m a retired dallas ISD Texas teacher and I assure you there are Texas teacher UNIONS of which TSTA is only one!!!!


34 posted on 07/05/2012 7:10:50 AM PDT by ontap
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To: ontap

dallas=Dallas


35 posted on 07/05/2012 7:11:37 AM PDT by ontap
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To: ontap

TSTA is not a union. It is indeed affiliated with the benighted NEA, and part of TSTA dues does go to NEA, but TSTA is not a union. TSTA teachers can’t strike, and union rules do not protect them.


36 posted on 07/05/2012 9:11:23 AM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: Clara Lou

TSTA is as union as any union can be in a right to work state....IT is a union they vote in national union elections!!!


37 posted on 07/05/2012 9:17:00 AM PDT by ontap
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The dummies are moving to California. Gov. Moonbeam promised them more money!


38 posted on 07/05/2012 4:06:56 PM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class!)
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To: Clara Lou

“[Trust me, I know about this, because I belonged to ATPE.”

That org. was mostly for the legal services wasn’t it.


39 posted on 07/05/2012 4:29:01 PM PDT by snarkybob (')
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To: A Strict Constructionist

“The schools are hamstrung by GW Bushes no child left behind kaka rules.”

I guess that I don’t know the rules, but if you’re referring to testing, I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve seen the tests here in Texas on math and if you can pass the test you know the subject. If teachers are “teaching to the test” then they are teaching math - which is a MAJOR IMPROVEMENT in education.


40 posted on 07/05/2012 4:34:25 PM PDT by BobL
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To: hoosiermama

“Dad hasn’t been well, so our trips are limited.”

Sorry to hear that...please get better.


41 posted on 07/05/2012 4:35:27 PM PDT by BobL
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To: BobL

“I guess that I don’t know the rules, but if you’re referring to testing, I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve seen the tests here in Texas on math and if you can pass the test you know the subject. If teachers are “teaching to the test” then they are teaching math - which is a MAJOR IMPROVEMENT in education.”

I believe there was a question of some students who didn’t test well being put into SE classes so their scores didn’t didn’t pull the average down.


42 posted on 07/05/2012 4:46:50 PM PDT by snarkybob (')
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To: snarkybob

“I believe there was a question of some students who didn’t test well being put into SE classes so their scores didn’t didn’t pull the average down.”

There is always a certain percentage of people that test well, and a certain percentage of people that don’t test well. There is NO REASON for that to vary from state to state or school district to school district.

The bottom-line is that if a particular school district doesn’t “test-well” then they’re ALMOST CERTAINLY being taught wrong.

Hopefully NCLB can smoke that out, since the states and locals don’t seem to be able to do anything but MAKE EXCUSES.


43 posted on 07/05/2012 5:42:01 PM PDT by BobL
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To: BobL

“There is always a certain percentage of people that test well, and a certain percentage of people that don’t test well. There is NO REASON for that to vary from state to state or school district to school district.The bottom-line is that if a particular school district doesn’t “test-well” then they’re ALMOST CERTAINLY being taught wrong.”

In some districts the kids who didn’t test well were then re-classified as special needs kids to keep their low scores from dragging down the districts average. Hence the spike in Special Ed students.
Under NCLB low test scores meant loss of ranking and other penalties.


44 posted on 07/05/2012 6:09:13 PM PDT by snarkybob (')
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To: snarkybob

“In some districts the kids who didn’t test well were then re-classified as special needs kids to keep their low scores from dragging down the districts average. Hence the spike in Special Ed students.”

Agree - and, apparently, here in Texas we’re cracking down a bit on that.


45 posted on 07/05/2012 6:12:48 PM PDT by BobL
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To: BobL

“Agree - and, apparently, here in Texas we’re cracking down a bit on that.”

That should make it easier on all concerned especially the teachers who can now concentrate on the kids who truly are special needs and the special needs kids as well.


46 posted on 07/05/2012 6:25:43 PM PDT by snarkybob (')
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To: hoosiermama

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.


That is the trick! For a student with a naturally disorganized thinking process, organizational systems and routines work.


47 posted on 07/06/2012 12:37:56 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: snarkybob

Yes, it was for services.


48 posted on 07/06/2012 5:36:34 AM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Women and minorities affected the most /s


49 posted on 07/06/2012 5:55:44 AM PDT by Kevmo ( FRINAGOPWIASS: Free Republic Is Not A GOP Website. It's A Socon Site.)
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To: Clara Lou

A lawyer I know used to work there. Was head of legal in fact.


50 posted on 07/06/2012 12:13:34 PM PDT by snarkybob (')
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