Study questions whether schools fail to find held-back students eligible for special education

A recent study looked at students held back a year from kindergarten to third grade and concluded the schools are not properly identifying held back students as in need of special education.  Forbes on line reported on the matter ("Special Education Services Lacking for Kids Who Repeat a Grade").

The study found that 12.9 percent of the students had on IEP during the held-back year and that 18.2 percent received an IEP within five years of being held back.  To me, the study seems possibly flawed.  The study seems to operate with a presumption that a held-back student must be in need of special education, yet the reasons for holding back are many and varied. 

Moreover, the apparent presumption goes completely against the IDEA of 2004's effort to keep students out of special education through the use of Early Intervening Services (different than Early Intervention).

But like so much about special education, statistics reveal little.  These percentages not only do not tell us the reasons for holding back a particular child, the numbers say nothing of what efforts were made for each particular student.  More informative might be the percentage of students evaluated for special education eligibility, the numbers involved in non-special education intervention programs, like Title I or a hybrid classroom that many schools offer for students needing more development time. 

Ultimately, the real question, however, is individualized.  It seems quite a leap to question compliance with child find without a study that investigates a large number of individual cases.

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