Home > News > Report Cards & Stats > Feds Publish Incorrect Info on Graduation Rates for Disabled Students (10/12/04)

 


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Feds Publish Incorrect Info on Graduation Rates
for Disabled Students
by Dee Alpert, Publisher, The Special Ed Muckraker


The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) finally published "exiting data" for the 2002-2003 school year.
The news is not good.

Official Outcomes for Students with IEPs, ages 14-21 (2002-2003)

Graduated with a regular diploma or certificate: 39.4%
Moved, known to continue: 27.9%
Moved, not known to continue: 7.2%
Dropped Out: 13.2%

The problem? The Office of the Inspector General ordered the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to count students in the "moved, known to continue" and "moved, not known to continue" categories as "dropped out."
If OSEP had followed this directive, 48.5% of IEP students would be counted as "dropped out.

Although OSEP refused to fully comply with the order, they agreed to count students in the smaller "moved, not known to continue" group as dropouts. Thus, the official IEP student dropout figure is actually 20.5%. (Although OSEP's table doesn't say so!)

Why did the Office of the Inspector General direct that the U. S. Department of Education to count the "moved, known to continue" and "moved, not known to continue" groups as dropouts? In large-scale audits, they found that school districts and state departments of education were mis-reporting outcomes for IEP student by putting them in the "moved . . ." categories.

Revised Outcomes for Students with IEPs, ages 14-21 (2002-2003)

Graduated: 39.4%
Dropped out: 20.5% or 48.5%
(depending on whether you believe OSEP should have acted in accordance with its OIG's instructions or not.)
Obviously, we do.

No matter how you cut the cake, less than 40% of students with IEPs (ages 14-21) who stopped attending school in 2002-2003 did so because they graduated with a diploma or certificate.

IDEA Reauthorization

The offensive numbers game detracts from the credibility of the U. S. Department of Education's position on IDEA reauthorization. Nothing in the proposed bills to reauthorize the IDEA will improve this situation.

In fact, the 1997 amendments to the IDEA, which require school districts and state departments of education to use research-validated methodologies of remediation and instruction, have been ignored by the U.S. Department of Education. The Office of Special Education Programs does not even list research-validated methodologies of remediation and instruction on its web site!

Proposal

Any IDEA amendment should require the Office of Special Education Programs to list each research-validated methodology or remediation program of instruction for kids with disabilities on the first page of its web site . . . in 20 point type . . . or larger.

Dee Alpert, Publisher
The Special Education Muckraker
http://www.specialeducationmuckraker.com

About Dee Alpert, Esq.

Dee Alpert, Esq., is a retired New York City-based attorney who handled cases throughout New York State for over a decade, and acted as consulting counsel in special education cases nationally.

Currently, Ms. Alpert is focusing on systemic special education and education issues and tactics, including various inquiries into special education and public school district financial and related corruption. She collaborates with a retired Professor of Education Finance, and provides forensic special education consultation to legislators in a number of States.

Ms. Alpert publishes
The Special Education Muckraker. She conducted the Internet Survey of IEP Document Alteration, Falsification and Forgery and wrote 9.3% Drop in Graduation Rates for Kids with Disabilities in New York.

Note from Wrightslaw

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires the U. S. Department of Education to collect data about how the law is being implementation in different areas: child count (children served); number of personnel employed; children served by type of educational environment; students who exit special education and how they exited; children disciplined. Learn more about these Annual Reports.

The No Child Left Behind Act also requires the U. S. Department of Education to collect data.

More Report Cards and Statistics

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