Feds crack down on special ed efficiency

South Carolina has been hit by $36 million in U.S. Education Department penalties for “making tough but necessary cuts to all school spending in the midst of the Great Recession, special education included,” writes Education Gadfly. The “asinine” decision teaches states a perverse lesson:  “Finding ways to boost efficiency in special education literally may not be worth the trouble.”


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  1. The unpleasant reality is that, for the most severely disabled, little or nothing really can be accomplished. I recently read a comment from a spec ed teacher that she had been able to teach two of her 9-10 year olds their names – over the 2011-12 school year. Money won’t solve that problem.

    • That’s true but money does solve other problems.

      For instance, it mollifies parents who may know there’s not much hope for their kids.

      That’s not really the problem being solved. The reduction in complaints, lawsuits and unpleasant scenes to which administrators and school board members are subjected is a crucial consideration as well as the appearance of progress. Some kids may get a better shake then they otherwise would but that’s hardly a motivating force.

  2. All I can say is that special ed was there when my son needed it. Speech, a special ed classroom for 3 years, teachers that understood his learning differences have now produced a kid that is mainstreamed, getting good grades, and is motivated to do well at age 15. But back at age 6, he was a basket case. Luckily we live in a district with an awesome special ed program and he continues to get great support. Without the intervention, he could easily have been a casualty of the system.

  3. Okay… I followed all of those links. The stuff about finding more cost-effective methods, great. But the stuff about South Carolina? Your links tell us the outcome, but not the underlying facts. Kansas had a much smaller loss of federal funds because they sought and obtained a waiver. Did South Carolina seek a waiver? If not, why not? If so, why did Kansas get a waiver while S.C. did not? This is the product of multiple years of cuts – why didn’t S.C.’s legislatures figure out the consequences of their actions or, if they did, why did they forge ahead knowing that they would lose federal money?