Lawmakers tasked with crafting the state budget are seeking more detail about why the number of Delaware’s special education students is growing so quickly.
The state’s special education student population has grown by 22 percent over the last five years to about 21,550 students – nearly four times the growth rate of the overall student population.
22% is a big jump! Are the health-risks living in Delaware ?
Yet state education officials on Thursday were unable to provide lawmakers with clear answers about the root causes of that growth or whether it will ever tail off.
“We don’t have reasons,” Education Secretary Susan Bunting said. “We have stats on the various factors.”
OMG ! Is this lady’s elevator stuck between floors ? I hope those stats aren’t based on Delaware’s standardize test the DEODE forces Special Ed student to take. Even for mainstream students Delaware standardized test results are skewed!
Some special education students are moving to Delaware from other states. Others are being reclassified as they get older. And, Bunting said, a growing awareness of certain special needs could be contributing to greater numbers of students being identified as having some form of learning disability.
Provide the data tracing as to what states these students are moving from.
“I would like to suggest the department undertake a formal study to see exactly what the reasons are,” state Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, told Bunting. “There’s a lot of conjecture and a lot of theorizing … but it would be helpful if we knew with some degree of certainty what the causes are.”
State Rep. Melanie George Smith, D-Bear, said she also would like to see more data projections of future growth in special education.
I am like WTF ! Are there environmental concerns in Delaware that could be associated with learning disabilities?
But nailing down the exact causes of the population growth and determining whether they will continue to be factors in the future might not be so simple, Deputy Education Secretary Karen Field Rogers said afterward.
Wonderful ! The left side of the DEDOE brain chimes in!
“We’re talking about data of students over 44 schools,” she said. “The overall enrollment is very fluid. We’ve got a graduating class that goes out, new students coming in for kindergarten. You’ve also got movement in every grade.”
LOL ! That clears it up!
Trends and aggregate data might be possible “but to really say we know what is driving the underlying special education growth right now would just be speculation,” Rogers said.
Code for clueless !
State Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, said she is less concerned with identifying root causes of the growth than making sure all special education students are being properly supported.
The most intelligent response of all! These kids and parents need help now! But for sure we do need to examine the root causes.
“I want to make sure the funding starts earlier,” Poore said. “Ultimately our job is to make sure our students get an education and we are providing what is needed to be successful.”
The Department of Education is requesting an additional $52 million for the coming fiscal year on top its current $1.4 billion budget.
More than $20 million of that increase would be used to add 190 new positions and extend another 52 currently being paid for with contingency funds from the state budget office.
Lets not forget the impact on local share.
Non-special education student enrollment grew by 240 as of September of this year. Meanwhile, Delaware schools recorded 930 additional special education students.
930 OMG !! Why? But so sad!
Gov. John Carney also has proposed providing Delaware’s roughly 12,340 public school educators with a 2-percent raise at a total cost of $12.6 million. Another $10.2 million that would be used to fully fund pay increases already promised based on years of experience.