‘Smart, gutsy call’ on special ed funding

Districts can reduce special education funding without risking the loss of federal funds, the U.S. Department of Education declared this week.

“Smart and gutsy,” writes Rick Hess. Also sensible.

A district which provides special education services more cost-effectively has long been threatened with losing their federal aid unless they keep on spending at the same rate.

At a time when “districts are being asked to make tough choices about services for all other students,” it’s unfair to exempt special-ed funding from scrutiny, Hess argues.

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  1. Rather than cutting the services provided to special ed students, I’d like to see the “free” part of FAPE changed to a cost-sharing model. I’ve got a child with a developmental delay, and when we get services for her through our health insurance, we are subject to a 10% cost share up to an annual maximum. Why shouldn’t we have a similar cost-share for her Early Intervention preschool?

    Having families kick in a portion of the added costs would further serve as a deterrent to those parents who abuse the system. Ever since the College Board stopped noting which students received special accommodations for the SAT, there has been a high incentive for students to be labeled “ADHD” or some other LD.

  2. If Rick Hess is for it then it must be a truly bad idea.

    Another political scientist with all the education answers

  3. FAPE was the beginning of the end of public schools in this country. Public schools spend the vast majority of its education money on a small percentage of its students as a result. I understand its good intentions, but you know what they say about the road to Hell…

  4. I’m glad to see that special education funding are now under scrutiny–as are all funds for public education–and that schools are given more flexibility to provide services in smart ways. We can no longer allow the huge outlay for special education, some $110,000 billion per year, according to Fordham study, to be off limits and untouchable.

    Given the waste, bureaucratic stranglehold, and lack of research support for many procedures and services, it’s good that we are finally promoting effective programs and questioning the heretofore unquestioned endless spending in this entitlement program–the only one in our schools. I hope the new flexibility and questioning promotes wisdom and a focus on improved learning for all. students.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Now cometh endless discussions of “effective” and “results”. The only objective and indisputable measure is spending. That’s pretty cut and dried. Anything else can be argued until hell freezes over.
    But spending, results or not, cannot be argued. It’s spent or it’s not. It’s more, less, the same.
    Results? Hell, you can’t even define results.
    A high functioning aspie is taught to read other people better? Why isn’t he president of the local Toastmasters’ club?