As an avid reformer, I read the Education Commission of the States (ECS) report, “12 for 2012” with great interest. It deals with pre-K education, funding, Common Core, individualizing instruction, teacher quality, among other key issues. Interesting and quite comprehensive. Important and definitely worth reading. I’m sure it will be useful for educators and policy makers.
But if I may, I am a former teacher and currently, an attorney who represents school districts in special education. I read this report, searching for a 1/12 on fixing special education. As you can imagine, I was disappointed not to find it! How can that be? Special education needs fixing–it educates 14 % of students nationwide. To educate students with disabilities costs somewhere between 20 and 40% of school budgets. Special education, burdened by complex regulations and ever-present threats of litigation, seems often more focused on compliance than outcomes. We can no longer be silent on this mandated program. We need to tackle it. Surely it deserves 1/12 of the focus on critical areas of need in our schools.