Recently my OpEd critiquing the logic of tying federal special education reimbursement dollars was published in the Idaho Press Tribune. As with its publication in Idaho Education News it was generally well received.
However, I did receive several messages from special education advocates arguing that special education students are capable of performing at academic proficiency and thus schools should be held accountable via Duncan’s plan to withhold the purse-strings of federal coffers for districts who are not proficient under revised guidelines for special education reimbursement.
Recently National Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that the federal government will be changing the way in which it allocates federal money for special education services to states. Secretary Duncan wants to tie test scores for special education to the amount of money a state receives from the federal government for reimbursement of special education services.
The logic is simple: states that send back high special education student test scores will get more money, those with lower scores will get less or even no money. Surely this will improve student learning, right? Clearly No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) emphasis of tying student test scores to federal money was a major success! Cloning NCLB tools for special education students sounds like a real winner.