Monday, September 10, 2012

Boosting the Quality and Efficiency of Special Education

Special education consumes a growing share of increasingly tight district budgets but academic achievement among students with special needs continues to lag. How are districts spending their special education dollars? Does spending more translate to better results for their students with special needs?

In this study, the District Management Council’s Nate Levenson uses the largest database of information on special education spending and staffing ever assembled to uncover significant variance in how districts staff for special education. Levenson concludes that if the high-spending districts studied reduce their staffing in this area to the national median the public could save $10 billion. He offers no proof, however, that he national median represents an adequate level of funding. Levenson does offer clear recommendations for improving special-education quality and efficiency.

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