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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Tina

I am a special education teacher in South Carolina. I can’t find the maximum number of special education students permitted by law in an inclusion class. I am very sure that anything which exceeds 70% special education to 30% regular education does not meet the inclusion guidelines. Can someone lead me to the law so that we are doing what is right for special education students?

Chuck

Your state parent training and information center should know. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Sabraa

I am currently a Pre-K teacher for an ECEAP program that is included in our School District. I currently have 6 students of 10 that are on IEP’s and 2 who are not on IEP’s but have severe behavior issues. 3 of the 6 that are on IEP’s are extremely high needs. I really only have 2 typical children in this class and I feel bad for them, as I feel that they are getting cheated out of what they need.
I have a para as well as an aide in my classroom. Is this enough coverage for this type of learning environment?

Marissa

Does anyone know what the student to teacher ratio is for colorado in generalized mild to moderate classrooms for special education students? Or where I could find this information? Thank you!

Chuck

Your state parent training and information project should know. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Mary

I have three K-1 students in my mild/moderate self contained special ed class. Do I have to have a Teacher Assistant? What are the ratios?

margie

i have 12 behavior kids 4 extremely servere need to know the ratio

Tim

I am a parent in GA, and in one county my son received wonderful service. He loved his para & she was with him all the time. My son is high functioning autistic, and the principal would allow him while in 2nd grade to attend the 5th grade Science Club and address them on volcanoes, earthquakes, and other subjects which he was well versed.
When we moved to another county, the experience was completely different. While trying to keep him in a full inclusion environment I began to get calls from the school almost on a daily basis that our son was having a meltdown. On nearly every occasion the para had just stepped out, and it was the classroom teacher left alone who was having the problem.

jeannie

I would question why the para is stepping out and is not with your son.

Momma K

The Para could have a break time scheduled in. They are permitted by law, 2- 15 minute breaks and 1- 30 minute linch per day.

Chuck

Requesting an IEP meeting to discuss this situation is certainly an option. Your state parent training & information center can be a source of help to you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Abel

How many special education students can be in a general education class?

Chuck

This depends on your state rules. Your state education website should have this. Your state parent training and information project should be able to assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Angela

I’m a regular ed teacher in Connecticut with class ratios of 40-50% sped students. My classes range from 22-27 students. There are no paras or co-teachers of any kind. I teach high school General Science and Biology. I cannot find information on the legal limit for the number/ratio of special education students in a classroom. I’ve gone to the state education website and the recommended parent resource websites. Why is it so difficult to find this information? I’m concerned for the safety of all my students–my courses are lab sciences! I feel as though I cannot do justice to either my regular education students or my special education students. I strongly believe that special ed students belong in a regular ed class. But not at these high ratios and with NO support staff.

Chuck

Your state parent training and information project should know. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

robyn

Unfortunately Chuck, there is no information on any of your suggested websites…….

Hi Robyn: Chuck is great about participating/responding on the blog – but he works in Texas, I’m not sure if he is available today. In the meantime, I’ll jump in.

I think you must be asking about the links that Chuck provided to the Center for Parent Information and Resources. https://www.parentcenterhub.org

This site has great information for parents and professionals, including the legacy resources from NICHCY. Check the resource page for articles and, if you have questions, be sure to use the search box to look for topics. https://www.parentcenterhub.org/resourcelibrary/

Re student/teacher ratios. I’m not sure you’ll find the specific answer on the CPIR website – because, as Chuck said, it depends on your own state rules. Your state Parent Training and Information Center can help you with questions that are specific to your state. That’s why Chuck always includes a link to “Find your Parent Center.”

https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/

Find your state information and contact someone at your state PTI for answers to your questions.

Another listing of PTIs is here: https://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/ptis.htm

I hope this clarifies some – and I hope you’re able to get the information you need about your state rules.

Chuck

Wrightslaw, Thanks for your comments. While PTIs have websites with great info, when I say “your PTI can assist you”, I am suggesting that you contact a person at the PTI. But often it depends on who you talk with. Many of our staff do not know the TX rules on this, so they contact me. Ask them where you can find the information they provide. Often the answer to people’s questions can be found in a district’s policy & procedures, if they can be located.

Yadi

I’m looking for similar information as I, too, have a gen ed class of 37 students in which I have no adult support and 1/3 of my class has IEPs/504 plans. I’m in California.

jeannie

Do the IEPs for these child state that they require specialized instruction in the subject you teach? If not, then there would be no need for a co-teacher or parapro in the classroom, but if their IEPs call for the support then you should have it. 504 plans typically do not come with an adult to support the child, they fall under general education and are the responsibility of the gen ed teacher to implement.

Olivia

Hi all,
After some research, it doesn’t look like my state (VA) has a max for a general ed classroom, though after reading some of your comments I noticed a few of mentioned current research saying more then 30% is ineffective. Can anyone link me to this research? Thanks!

Erica

What age ranges are allowed together in each SDC classroom. Is it true that kids must be within 36months apart to be in the same room in CA? Is this a federal law?

Joseph

What is maximum number of ID students with one teacher in a classroom at one time in DC?

Amber

I’m what state?

Christine

In the state of Illinois, is there a law stating that there is a limit to how many students can be in a self-contained classroom?

Chuck

Your state parent training & information project would know. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

malka

How many students with IEPs can be in a general education classroom in Maryland?

Chuck

Your state parent training and information project, http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center , or state education agency special ed webpage can tell you.

Allen

Can someone please send me a link describing SDC class ratios for California’s.. I’m looking through ca ed law and can’t find clear answers

Chuck

The CA parent training & information for your area can assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Brynn

In California, at what percentage in a preschool setting is the teacher required to be sped credentialed?

Samantha

I have a general education course with 34 students. Of the 34, 24 are on IEP. I have one co-teacher. Is this within AZ law?

SIDNEY

What is the ratio of teacher to student for EBD classrooms. self contained

joannie

Depends on your state and school system.

Rene

What is the teacher to student ratio for a preschool Special Day Class?
Is there a class size limit for a special education preschool class?

Marcus

That would depend on your state. I can give you the regular preschool from my state Pennsylvania. Preschool is a 10:1 ration. 10 students to 1 teacher. Contact your state education department and they should have an answer for you.

Marcus

You can also do a google search on preschool special education class ratios in your state.

Tia

I want to find research that proves that a ratio of 30% of special ed kids mixed with typically developing peers is the maximum limit for the program to be effective. I have 16 preschoolers, 9 have special needs or behaviors. (all 9 have IEPs). I do have 1 para, but it is almost impossible to meet the needs of each child with such a high ratio.

Monica

What is the ratio of students in a classroom who have IEP’s before a licensed SPED teacher is required? I have a class of 13, 12 of which have IEP’s and I am not a licensed SPED. Are there any laws talking about this?

Chuck

If there is any rule on this, it would be a state rule. Many states leave this up to the district, & IEP team to decide.

Pamela C

what about in massachusetts?

Marcus

Pamela,

I don’t know about Massachusetts but you could contact you state education offie and they should have the answer.

sadness

i hate IEP 🙁

Marcus

Sadness,

Why do you hate the IEP? Its designed to help students with disabilities succeed and be able to get an education. Its their lifeline as I like to think of it. I sincerely hope that you are not a teacher if you hate IEP’s because you are going to have to deal with them weather you like it or not.

Judithanne

Sometimes the iep becomes a label for life. Universal design language provides opportunities for all to learn. Yes it’s true that a plan is needed as a roadmap but in no way should it provide a wall between peers. The SPED label needs to be removed!

Theresa

Hell I am trying to find an answer hoping you all can help. I have sped preschool and am not clear on the ratio. Four days a week I have 8 students and myself(teacher) and an aide. One day a week I have 14 students with same amount of adults. My aide will take her break (lunch,15, and break to pump breast milk) and I am alone. I am not getting clear answers from my district. Help please……..

Chuck

The state education agency may have rules on class ratios for special education, or they may leave it up to the schools. Check their website or try googling “special education class ratios for (X state).”

Karen C.

At the elementary level I have 7 IEP students and 2 504 disabilities with 5 second language learners which puts my classroom at 70% non standard learners. Is this appropriate for the students with special needs? I am not ESE certified and only get two small amounts of time with ESE/’VE support. Is this within expected limits for least restrictive environment?

Jean

30% is the acceptable number of inclusion students for your class. It is when you have 60% inclusion with an aide who is too busy to show up that becomes unbearable and unfair to students. I always felt like I couldn’t give enough time to each SPED student and it was a detriment to my on-level students as well.

Dawn

I am looking for research to support a smaller ratio of classified students in an inclusive classroom. Do you have any resources I can explore?

Lauren

What is the maximum number of special ed students that can be included into a general education class? How many adults are required? What is the teacher-to-student ratio required for special ed students? As of today I have 19 special ed students with IEPs in a class of 23 students. The special ed students are 14 years old on average and the most proficient student is reading at the second grade level.

Alexis

i don’t know that’s what i’m trying to find out

Concerned

United Teachers of Los Angeles was able to bargain to have the SDC mild to moderate class size limit 15. You can also find a limit for Autism classes on their webpage. “Industry standard” (which I’m not sure who sets) says 15 to 1.

J

I am a self contained ED k-2 teacher. I currently have 9 students and am expecting another one. I have a 1:1 for a specific student so it is me to 9 other students at that point. At what point, are we out of ratio?

Chuck

This would depend on your state rules on size. Some states have no limit. Your state education website or state parent training and information center can help you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Julie

Is there research somewhere that helps specify ratios for sped teachers to students as well as ratios for students to related service providers, etc.?

Kristie

I teach a 12:1:1 self contained and the district add another student. They would have to put in a variance, however does that mean another paraprofessional has to be added? I live in New York State.

Antonio

I have 41 students in 1st through 5th. Is that too much to have in Washington state?

Sonya

Yes! Do you have parapros, if not this is way to much.

Roz

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

Concerned

Unfortunately there are no limits. Only for resource classrooms. It would be great if California Teachers Association can help get class size limits for SDC teachers. So far, I only know of the United Teachers of Los Angeles who has class size limits in their contract.

Judithanne

I definitely agree that the unions need to unite and make this a state-mandated number just like RSP has for their caseload. As part of a bargaining unit, the MM teachers approached our district to do the right thing. I am part of the EFT SPED State Committee and from what I heard, there are several districts with union contracts such as UTLA with numbers 14-16 for MM classes. I teach MM and have had up to 28 students in my class. Another time I had 4 MM with 7 SH. It just becomes a dumping ground when they do not have enough classes for our students. If anyone wants to take this state change on, I’d be more than happy to help.

Bridgette

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

lane

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

Paul

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

Jean

yes

Jackie

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??

Chuck

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

Daisy

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.

Barbara

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.

Morning

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.

Judithanne

congratulations to your friend!

Jessica

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.

Chuck

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.

concerned in FL

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.

marquise

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.

Chuck

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