Class Ratios: TEACHER TO STUDENT RATIOS IN SPECIAL ED CLASSROOMS

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Catherine:  Our high school just reduced the number of SPED classrooms, while cutting staff, and are adding more students. What is the legal limit for the amount of students they can put in a classroom, and how many adults do they need to have? I strongly believe they can’t meet FAPE with the way the classes are now arranged.

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14 Comments on "Class Ratios: TEACHER TO STUDENT RATIOS IN SPECIAL ED CLASSROOMS"

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What is the teacher-student ratio for Special Ed.classes in California? Is there a limit?

I have 37 students in 7th grade English with 17 special education students. Is that legal in Michigan?

I have 29 students and 14 of them are special ed, is that legal?

I have 33 kids in my class room an 5 special education kids with one paraprofessional is that legal

I am a special education teacher in a self contained life skills classroom. I have 10 students ages 12-20 in my room. Is that age difference legal??

It depends on your state rules, & who is making the determination. You can make an inquiry to your state education agency.

I am in a similar situation as Catherine. In graduate school, the idea of an inclusion classroom was 50% special-education students and 50% PLUS ONE regular-education students. Legally, the teachers seem to have no recourse — pointing this out to school-level administrators doesn’t get a teacher anywhere except a bad evaluation; complaining to the state level could jeopardize one’s job. Notifying the parents would be a violation of FERPA.

I’m teaching middle school in GA and I am the core teacher in an inclusion class. The total number of students is 23 with 17 students being SPED. Each student has 8-9 accommodations on average. My understanding was that the law limited the number of SPED students in an inclusion class to 10. However, after asking about this I was told that the school did not accept federal $$$ for the SPED program specifically so that it did not have to conform to the rules & regs. It’s just easier to schedule when you can shove lots of kids into one room, even when the majority of them are reading 4-5 years below grade level. It amazed me that this is legal.

In some states, teachers are paid extra if their classroom number size exceed their union contract. Some of my teacher friends, in situations similar to yours, use a type of teaching style to ALL in the classrooom They hit as many accommodations as possible so all students benefit and they can maintain their jobs and sanity. In other words, they do accommodations across the board if most of the class needs the same accommodations and so forth. For a reading class, book is read via tape to the entire class, study guides are given to everyone, –get the point!! My friend called it her own version of “universal design” as she had to maintain her sanity and her job. Students actually love her teaching style.

I am a sped self contained teacher in a 1:15 (max) classroom of K-5. Recently a meeting was held without me knowing which put me over my limit to 1:16. I have voiced my cornerns that this does not legally follow the program standards, and I still do not have an additional aide to accommodate the 10% variance. If my district is not being receptive to this, as it is the law, what steps (legally) can I take next? I haven’t even seen a proof of approval for a waiver. Things are not transparent and are not being handled appropriately and correctly. I have already voiced my concerns through all chain of commands. Nothing is being done.

You are dealing with a state rule. The state education agency can tell you what your options are, & you can make a complaint if you want to.

I am currently having the same problem with 15 ESE students for ELA. They range in age from 2nd to 5th grade. They are a mix of SLD, OHI, EBD, IND(Mild, and one OI. I was originally assigned 2 Student care attendants (paras) to help. This worked well. Now I find myself alone most of time with just “babysitting/management” going on. I cannot find any answers as to what the legal limit is for teacher to student ratio online. This is an injustice to the students and it is falling on deaf ears when I bring it up.

I am teaching a reading intervention class for 90 min per day. I currently have 18 students (all special education mild/moderate). I don’t have an instructional aide and I am working on my own. I agree with these numbers I can not give the individualized attention the students need to be successful.

There is no ratio set in federal rules. Some states have set a ratio. You can check the state website or with your state parent training & information center. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

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