I read this article with great anticipation. Alas, it provided no answers. It just called for more studies and some handwringing.
In my view, in order to ‘find efficiences’ in special ed, we need to first make special ed work for students. StudentsFirst, to quote Michelle Rhee’s new group. It should not be designed to work for adults, bureaucrats, lawyers, and others, adding ever more requirements and procedures. We don’t even know how much is spent in classrooms and how much in hearing and courtrooms, and departments of education. Let’s start there.
An informal study by a special ed director in Massachusetts several years ago found that special education teachers get to spend just 19% of their time actually teaching. The rest of the time is taken up with activities which do NOT improve results.
It makes no sense to ‘save’ money if we don’t first fix this broken system. There are far better ways to focus on educating students with disabilities and we need to work to implement them. Sure, it’s a long road ahead, but we must start.