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Five Questions to Ask: Special Education

  1. In your district or coverage area, ask how many students with disabilities they have, and what proportion receives special education services. How does that compare with your state’s numbers and the national numbers?
  2. Does your region use RTI? What does it look like in practice?

    Has the size of the population of students with specific learning disabilities in your area changed in recent years?

  3. Ask about which type of NCLB tests special education students take in the districts you cover and compare those numbers with state data. How different do these tests look? How do students with disabilities perform on the state assessments, and what proportion of students with disabilities take tests in the first place?
  4. Has your state applied for a federal waiver for the special education “maintenance of effort” budget requirements? If so, how would such a waiver affect student services? Have your districts used the revised U.S. Department of Education special education guidelines to change their budgets from year to year? If the numbers are changing, what services are changing?
  5. What is your state doing to prepare teachers, and students, for the new common standards and the associated exams?