Special ed advocate: Over 80 percent of special education students shouldn’t be there

By Rob Shimshock

Around 80 percent of students in special education do not belong there, a special education advocate said, according to a Sunday report.

Fewer than 20 percent of students in special education programs have severe autism, Down syndrome or other established conditions, two-time Baltimore school board member Kalman R. Hettleman noted in an interview with The Washington Post.

The others “are dumped into special education,” Hettleman told WaPo. “Reading experts estimate that, in the absence of timely interventions, between 50 and 75 percent of struggling readers wind up unnecessarily in special education.”

Hettleman has served as Maryland’s human resources secretary and Baltimore’s deputy mayor. He currently represents the interests of over 200 Maryland special education students in obtaining better services for free.

“Students don’t catch up,” the advocate explained, referring to students without medically established conditions who are placed in special education programs. “They almost invariably fall further behind. All the while, they are segregated to varying degrees from peers and suffer stigma.”

Only around a tenth of fourth and eighth-grade special education students met reading proficiency standards in 2017, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress.

“School systems conceal actual performance through grade inflation; social promotion from grade to grade, though the student is not close to meeting grade-level standards, bogus graduation diplomas, and other means,” Hettleman told WaPo.

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4 thoughts on “Special ed advocate: Over 80 percent of special education students shouldn’t be there

  1. Over 80 percent of ” special education” students shouldn’t be there, why of course not !!
    They are put in this program because it means ” more money” for the District that provides
    the service.

    It’s not fair for the kids and it surely isn’t fair for the taxpayers. In today’s school system
    if a kid needs a little extra attention or discipline it’s Special Ed to the rescue.

    It’s for the Kids remember, money has nothing to do with it ………………………….

  2. Jay
    “It’s the money! ”

    Bingo, we have a winner. What it amounts to is fraud and stealing federal tax dollars leaving less for the truly needy. The whole mob is in on the racket and should be charged under the RICO act which would result in billions of ill gotten gains taken away and sold at auction.

    There is a difference between taking advantage of the system, gaming the system and cheating the system. The ME Generation has proved they lack morals and anything goes for a dollar. Yuppism is a mental illness of greed and selfishness while being oblivious to the fact what they do is wrong. When does the FBI investigation start ?

    “it’s child abuse”

    That would also sum up even regular modern schooling.

    How many special educations students did the NEA fix ?

    How about a 10 year follow up and a study of how the class on 2008 is doing ? How are the special education students doing 10 years after finishing school ?

    The system was invented about 100 years ago by the Robber Barons to keep the peasant population in it’s place. It needs to be redesigned for the 21st Century as does society.

    3 days work week so each parent can work 1/2 the week and spend the other half taking care of the family and home while their partner works and than switch places the other half of the week. We used to live off one 40 hour job so 2 people each working 24 hours is 48 hours. No more child care needed, no need for 2 cars.

    We could have k-8 schools with half day kindergarten and high school set up like college. Apply to get in, customer pay with help for the poor and no more warehousing problem students in high schools which could all be 100% school choice like colleges are.

    Get all the sports, art & music stuff out of the schools and put them under parks & recreation.

    School 6 days a week year round 10am to 3pm, no home work. Have a morning class and a after lunch class and 3 semesters a year.

    America has turned into a dysfunctional Jerry Springer society and the status quo bunch defends clinging to a system that has mostly failed as is evident by the plight of the Millennial’s.

  3. When I served on one of our local school boards the Vermont Department of Ed. (now Agency of Ed.) conducted an audit of our school district’s special education department and found that 40% of the students coded as learning disabled were inappropriately labeled. What this article doesn’t tell you is the motiving factor. It’s not just an excuse for poor student performance. It’s the money!

    “Vermont utilizes a combination funding model for special education… consisting of a percentage reimbursement funding system.”
    https://rockefeller.dartmouth.edu/sites/rockefeller.drupalmulti-prod.dartmouth.edu/files/prsspeciaedfinal.pdf

    In other words, for every dollar a school district spends on a ‘disabled’ student it is reimbursed at least 60% of the expenditure through federal and state grants. Consider the financial incentives. Regular education programs receive little if any reimbursement.

    Not only do school administrators use SPED as an excuse for poor academic performance, they promote SPED programs to subsidize their budgets. In my opinion, it’s child abuse perpetrated by a treacherous monopoly and the only way to stop it is with School Choice tuition vouchers

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