ADSUP 721: School Law & Finance Nick DiSanto Prof. Becker Hunter College Spring 2012
Assumptions Xanadu is a diverse school district in Long Island and serves approximately 1000 students from grades K-12. There is a high level of parental and community involvement. The total percentage of students in special education is close to the national average: 10% All stakeholders who receive this presentation will be able to print out the slide handouts and listen to the audio.
Working Together to Meet the Needs of All Our Students Nick DiSanto, Superintendent Xanadu School District, New York
Essential Questions How do we use our limited resources to provide the best possible education for ALL of our students? Why are minority students and males disproportionately over-represented in the special education population? What can we do about this? What should we do?
Current District Data Total school district ethnicity is 40% minority & 60% white Special educational population is 75% minority and overwhelmingly male Average cost per pupil: $15,000 for general education $20,000 for special education NYSED defines disproportionate over-representation: Both the relative risk ratio and weighted relative risk ratio for any race/ethnic group is 2.5 or higher; or All students with disabilities in special education are of only one race/ethnic group regardless of the size of the relative risk ratio and weighted relative risk ratio. Possible reasons for disproportionality include: Poverty, test bias, classroom management, cultural & environmental factors
National Statistics Every year the number of classified students increases Twice as many males receive special education Approx.12% of students receive special education Autism rate of identification is 6x more than 10 years ago
IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Parent and student participation Appropriate evaluation Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Procedural Safeguards (Due Process)
FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education Board of Education v. Rowley (1982) IEPs must be "reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits.” Walczak v. Florida Union Free School District (1998) children are not entitled to the best education that money can buy; they are only entitled to an appropriate education
What are some ways to reduce spending on special education? Reduce the number of students who are eligible to receive special education services Decrease the quantity of the services that special education students receive Increase the class size for students in special education (within legal guidelines) Reduce educational services that are also available to all students
NCLB & ADA ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 NCLB: No Child Left Behind Statewide Assessment System Highly Qualified Teachers Local Control of Funding and Curricula Parent and Professional Partnerships
How can we improve instruction and student performance? Gather and analyze data about WHY students are being referred for special education services Review students’ IEPs to make sure that they are receiving appropriate services and accommodations Eliminate wasteful spending on accommodations that students do not need Collaborate with all stakeholders and utilize community resources to benefit our students
Community Involvement Peer tutoring Big Brother & Sister program Library & other community centers Back to School Night Cultural events Outreach for families who speak LOTE
How can we revise district plans in order to better utilize fiscal and human resources? Monitor new IEP referrals closely Review current IEPs Evaluate plans to make necessary adjustments Involve inquiry team in IEP work Provide professional development to general ed teachers Apply for grants Petition elected officials not to cut our budget
Potential Moral & Legal Issues RECOMMENDATIONPROCON Reduce the number of new IEPs The district will save money which can be used to improve other educational services Students who actually need services may not be classified Cut down some of the services that students with existing IEPs are not utilizing The district will save money which can be used to improve other educational services Students actually need services may not receive those services Use indirect special education services and/or increase class size, when feasible and legal The district will save money which can be used to improve other educational services Students who benefit from more individual attention will lose instructional time
We can do it, if we work together! Please contact me with any questions or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.501.1235. email@example.com
References and Resources School Law: Cases and Concepts, LaMorte, Michael. Allyn and Bacon Educational Leadership (2009). History of Special Education by Brent Daigle, Ph.D http://vimeo.com/24040778 NYSED