Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Disabilities Fight Grows as Taxes Pay for Tuition

"Disabilities Fight Grows as Taxes Pay for Tuition " is an interesting Oct. 27, 2007 New York Times Article. It is worth a read because it reminds us that special education law is not just about the law. It is about taxes and about children. It also explains how expensive special education is. As the article states: 

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guarantees a “free appropriate public education” for children with disabilities. Most of the nation’s nearly six million special-education students attend public school, but the law allows parents to seek public financing for private schools if they can show that the public schools cannot adequately serve their children.

As of 2005, more than 88,000 disabled students were educated in private settings at taxpayer expense, an increase of 34 percent over a decade, according to the National School Boards Association. Often school districts acknowledge that they cannot provide an adequate education, and willingly pay for private tuition.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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88,000/6,000,000 = .015. This is not an epidemic. Please read the following study on this topic:

Last week, I attended an open house for a local private school for children with learning disabilities. I was surprised to learn that out of the 140 students enrolled (Grades 5-12), only 14 students were placed privately by their parents. The other 90% were placed by the students' home districts. What we don't know about that 90% is how many students were *willingly* placed by their districts vs. how many students were placed *unwillingly* after mediation and/or an impartial hearing.

It is not always the parents who drive the times the schools actually agree to private placements.

Posted by: Mekei | Oct 29, 2007 12:54:36 PM

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