How special education resources actually work (2023)

Special education is one of the most complex and misunderstood aspects of America's sprawling K-12 landscape.

And there is more and more of it.

TheThe number of students eligible for special education is growing, thoughconstant shortage of qualified personnelIdramatically increased costsand continue to hinder school districts' efforts to provide these services to more than 7 million students.

Meanwhile, there is no data showing the total amount America spends each year to provide these services, depriving policymakers of a full picture of one of school districts' top performers. Thatthe last important studyfor the purpose of establishing that the data was published two decades ago. Work is carried out in countries such asOhioIArizonafill in the gaps in understanding, but the process can take years.

In the meantime, here's an overview of how special education works in the United States.

Are schools required by federal law to educate students with disabilities?

To. The official term for what students with disabilities arethe right to receiveit is a “free appropriate public education” or FAPE. This includes following every detail of the student's individual education program, or IEP—even when it means hiring staff, creating a specialized classroom, or sending the student to an outside provider.

The federal government pays part of these costs by sending annual grants to the states, which in turn send them to the counties. States and regions are then asked to cover the remaining costs with their own funds.

Is the federal government required to contribute 40 percent of the cost of educating students with disabilities?

Not really.

The federal government first mandated special education in K-12 schools in 1975, pAct on education for all children with disabilities.

Lawmakers promised at the time that federal funding for special education would cover some of the extra costs schools incur to provide additional specialized services to students with disabilities. This is because while most students with disabilitiesthey spend a large part of their school time in general education, all also receive different levels of additional services.

Lawmakers set a schedule for gradual increases in the federal government's annual investment: from 5 percent of the national average annual spending per pupil (or APPE) for public schools in 1978 to 40 percent of APPE in 1982.

When he signed the bill into law, President Gerald Ford said he believed in the federal governmentwill struggle to achieve this investment goalat the same time as the budget is balanced.

In fact, the federal government has never met this schedule (and has rarely achieved a balanced budget). Lawmakers later softened that language in the bill, approving a "maximum level of funding" for special education services without requiring it.

(Video) Education Resource Specialist | What I do & how much I make | Part 1 | Khan Academy

IN2004 reauthorizedof the law, sincerenamed the Act on the Education of Persons with Disabilities, included a federal funding plan that allowed an annual investment of $26 billion through 2012.

More than a decade later, IDEA is funded annually by the federal governmentonly half.

Advocates haveafter forcing the federal government to keep its original promise. Todd Swanson, superintendent of finance for the Southwest Metro School District in Minnesota, who wrote his master's thesis on special education in the 1990s, offers a powerful analogy for the current situation:

It's like saying, 'I'll give you $10 off that $100 restaurant bill, but I'm going to tell everybody what they can eat,'" Swanson said. "I might get the best meal and the rest of you get nothing."

How does the federal government cover 40 percent of special education costs?

Until 1999, the formula for IDEA aid at the district level was fairly simple: Take the total number of students with disabilities in the state and multiply that by 40 percent of the average spending per student. student in all elementary schools in the United States.

But after 20 years, the number of students receiving special education grew at a rate that worried lawmakers. They were concerned that the existing formula created incentives for schools to label students as needing special education.

They changed the type accordingly. States are now guaranteed to receive annually the amount of IDEA funds they received in 1999. If the product of the original formula (40 percent of APPE times the number of students with disabilities in the state) exceeds the 1999 total, the additional fundsadjusted for two factors:

  • The total number of K-12 students in the state.
  • Total number of K-12 students in the state living in poverty.

See also

A student visits the sensory room at Williams Elementary School in Topeka, Kan.

(Video) What is the role of the Special Education Resource Teacher?

Charlie Riedel/AP

Special education

The funding for special education is 'broken through', says researcher
Lauraine Langreo

,9. december 2022

3 minute reading

They are researchersrecently raised alarmthat this current formula dramatically undermines states with the largest total K-12 student population, states with the highest percentage of students in poverty, and states with the highest percentage of students with disabilities. INpaper last year, these researchers advocated revamping IDEA rather than simply adding additional funding.

Why did Congress choose 40 percent of APPE as the cap on federal funding for special education?

At the time the original law was passed, lawmakers assumed that educating a student with a disability would be the average cost of educating a traditional student, plus an additional 50 percent of that cost. They wanted the federal government to cover some of these additional costs as an incentive for states to honor the federal mandate to provide these services, according tothe story of 2018by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, an independent government agency.

In one sense, the plan succeeded: No state has ever denied IDEA funds from the federal government in exchange for freedom from regulations regarding the education of students with disabilities.

But recent data shows that percentage drastically understates the total cost of services. ONECalifornia Legislative Analyst's Office 2019-rapportfound, for example, that it costs $27,000 to educate the average student with a disability—nearly three times the cost of educating the average student without a disability in the state and double the current national average per student. students, according toCensus data from 2022.

Special educational needs can also vary dramatically from year to year. Carla Jentz, executive director of the Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education, said several districts in the state have reported significant increases in the number of students referred for special education services or deemed eligible for IEPs.

Diagnostic tools are becoming more sophisticated, and the pandemic has exacerbated challenges for some students with disabilities. Many counties don't have the staff to handle these growing cases, Jentz said.

"Mandatory services must always be provided," Jentz said. "If we have to take from Peter to pay Paul, what happens in the regions?"

(Video) Special Education: Everything You Need to Know

Should districts spend more on special education than last year?

To. With only a few exceptions, IDEA requires states to certify that districts spend at least the same amount of local resources, or the same amount of state and local funds, on special education from year to year. This arrangement of IDEA is called"Sustaining effort."

For IDEA critics like Swanson, the combination of this provision and insufficient federal funding is frustrating.

"A guy who's only paying $10 for a $100 meal is now saying, 'Oh, by the way, next year you're going to pay 92, and the year after that you're going to pay 93.'" Swanson said.

See also

Special education teacher Savannah Tucker works with Bode Jasper at the Early Childhood Education Center in Tupelo, Miss., on May 14, 2019. Special education costs are rising, especially as students' needs have become more complex since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic on May 19.

Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal skriver AP-a

Pedagogical questions, explanation

Delve deeper into important K-12 education with these research-based background explanations from Education Week.

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How special education resources actually work (3)
Mark Lieberman

Journalist, One week training

Mark Lieberman is a reporter for Education Week covering school finance.

(Video) Independent Work Ideas for the Special Education Resource Room


What are the disadvantages of a resource room? ›

In a resource room a student may not be as challenged and therefore may not master as much knowledge compared to being in an inclusion setting. Resource room teachers are responsible for planning daily lessons. A large amount of planning may be needed depending on the number of students and subjects taught.

What is the role of the resource teacher in special education? ›

Helps design and implement intervention and accommodation programs. Consults with administrators, staff, parents and students. Completes reports and other records or data as requested by the department head, director of special education, or building principal.

What is the resource room model in special education? ›

Resource rooms provide support individually and in small groups. Services depend on the student's individual need as outlined in their Individualized Education Program (IEP), and may range from reading, writing or math support to learning social skills, organizational skills and work completion.

What is the purpose of the resource room? ›

A resource room is a separate, remedial classroom in a school where students with educational disabilities, such as specific learning disabilities, are given direct, specialized instruction and academic remediation and assistance with homework, and related assignments as individuals or in groups.

What are the benefits of special education resource rooms? ›

Resource rooms provide a space for students to have time with a special educator to enhance concepts they are learning in the general education or inclusion classroom. Students have extra time for assessments, can ask clarifying questions and focus on IEP goals that might need a bit more TLC.

What are the disadvantages of an IEP? ›

Common IEP Shortcomings:
  • Sets low expectations and misrepresents the child's educational potential.
  • Does not target the fundamental cognitive, communicative, behavioral, sensory integrative, and social deficits of ASD students.
  • Does not capitalize on characteristic strengths of this population.

What is the difference between a special education teacher and a resource teacher? ›

Education resource specialists, also known as special education teachers, work with students with learning disabilities and behavioral issues. They serve as both teachers and advocates, ensuring that their students can access the curriculum and get the most out of their education.

What are the responsibilities of a resource teacher? ›

A Resource Teacher is responsible for providing curriculum support systems for students, teachers, and administrators. Another role of a Resource Teacher is to assist the class teacher and provide additional support for children with moderate learning difficulties. Take a few minutes to create or upgrade your resume.

What are the three roles of teacher in a resource based learning? ›

Role of the Teacher in Resource-Based Learning

Teachers act as coaches, facilitators or guides as their learners are sampling and manipulating information in multiple formats. The teaching of facts is replaced by teaching students how to learn.

How much time can a student spend in a resource room? ›

It is very rare for a child to spend more than 50% of their day in the resource room; however, they may indeed spend up to 50% of their time there. An example of allocated time could be a minimum of three hours a week in time increments of 45 minutes.

What is the difference between resource room and self-contained? ›

Resource room placements provide help where needed while letting the student generally remain with the mainstream, but they lack the structure and routine of a self-contained classroom.

What are the five models of special education? ›

There are six main types of special education within most public-school settings.
  • Push-in Services. ...
  • Pull-out Services. ...
  • Inclusive Classrooms. ...
  • Exclusive Education. ...
  • Specialty Schools. ...
  • Residential Programs.
Jul 24, 2018

What are the five functions of a resource center? ›

Role of Resource Center: (1) Provide information / information to schools (regular schools and special schools) regarding inclusive education; (2) Provide regular assessment assistance for children with special needs; (3) Providing educational services and guidance for children with special needs; (4) Become a ...

What are best practices in special education? ›

Advice on the Best Practices for Teaching Special Education
  • Create a positive, safe learning environment. ...
  • Understand behavioral assessment and intervention. ...
  • Learn multiple techniques to reward positive behavior. ...
  • Find the student's strengths. ...
  • Track each student's progress. ...
  • Know when it's time for evaluation.

What are the benefits of a resource center? ›

It enhances professionalism and credibility and encourages others to look to the organization for leadership. Maintaining a resource center demonstrates a commitment to best practices in your field. In a larger sense, the entire community philanthropy movement benefits from the quality of the work of its participants.

What is the impact of inclusion in special education resource rooms? ›

Kids with special education needs who are in inclusive classes are absent less often. They develop stronger skills in reading and math. They're also more likely to have jobs and pursue education after high school. The same research shows that their peers benefit, too.

What are disadvantages of special education? ›

Cons Special education students are sometimes separated from the rest of the class, which can be isolating. Pros Students receive a specialized approach to their education. Cons There's a potential for students to experience stigma. Pros Students receive access to resources they otherwise wouldn't have.

What are 3 benefits to having an inclusive classroom special needs children? ›

Some of the benefits of inclusion for children with (or without) disabilities are friendship skills, peer models, problem solving skills, positive self-image, and respect for others. This can trickle down to their families as well, teaching parents and families to be more accepting of differences.

What not to say in an IEP meeting? ›

7 Phrases you Never Want to Hear at an IEP Meeting.
  • “Let's just wait and see…” No, no, no. ...
  • “We don't do that here.” You've done your research and asked other parents. ...
  • “We've never seen him do that at school.” Just one of the many examples of either gaslighting or invalidating parent concerns.

What is generally the most challenging component for the IEP team? ›


But sometimes even getting everyone on the same page to start with about what the student can and can't do can be a challenge. Then add to that the fact that every member of the IEP team comes to the table with a different focus, and finding common ground can be especially tough.

What are the pros and cons of special education programs? ›

Special needs schools and programs are a great option for many kids. They offer tailored instruction, specialized support, and crucial resources and services. Sometimes, though, they can lead to a lack of integration, problems transitioning to a regular school, and negative stigmas.

What is the difference between special education and disability? ›

Disability is more about mental and physical inabilities while special needs are more about learning disabilities. It is easy to identify a child who is disabled because they are usually crippled or incapacitated but is not easy to identify a child with special needs unless you interact with them.

What is the difference between a special education teacher and an interventionist? ›

These two terms, “intervention specialist,” and “special education teacher,” refer to the same professional. In Ohio, the term intervention specialist is used. An intervention specialist is specifically trained to teach students with disabilities.

What is the difference between inclusion teacher and special education teacher? ›

In an inclusion classroom, students with disabilities and other special needs are taught alongside non-disabled students, instead of being segregated in a special education classroom. To help meet students' needs, a special education teacher may work alongside a general education teacher in an inclusion classroom.

What are the 3 most important roles of a special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers typically do the following: Assess students' skills and determine their educational needs. Adapt general lessons to meet students' needs. Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student.

What does the resource teacher do to enforce positive behaviors? ›

8. What does the Resource Teacher do to reinforce positive behaviors? (behavior strategies)  Address problems in a friendly manner. She doesn't scold them, instead talks to them calmly.  Celebrate achievements through praising them.

What is a SDC teacher? ›

Special Day Class Teacher (SDC)

Also, for pupils with mild mental retardation, provides a functional educational program that addresses basic learning skills, basic life/independence skills, and social/emotional issues.

What is the difference between resource teacher and classroom teacher? ›

The role of the resource teacher is to assist the class teacher and to provide additional one to one support for children with moderate learning difficulties. When a child is assessed to be at Stage 3 of the Three Stage Model, he/she is usually given extra help from the resource teacher.

How do you use learning resources effectively? ›

Effective educational resources:
  1. 1 have a clear instructional purpose.
  2. 2 make positive connections with learners' knowledge, experience, and identity.
  3. 3 build knowledge about what is required for achieving particular tasks.
  4. 4 are engaging.
  5. 5 support the use of assessment to enhance learning.

What is an example of resource teacher? ›

Resource Teachers work with special needs students in designated rooms. A typical example resume for Resource Teacher showcases duties like developing lesson plans, collaborating with other students, providing advice on how to instruct students with learning challenges, and reporting to counselors and parents.

What is the most restrictive environment for special education? ›

Home and Hospital is the most restrictive educational setting. It is provided for students who cannot attend school due to a medically documented medical or mental health reason.

What is the hallmark of special education? ›

Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. The hallmark of special education is that it is individualized for student needs. Special education is provided at no cost to parents or students.

What percentage of students with disabilities are educated in regular classrooms? ›

Ninety-five percent of school-age students served under IDEA in fall 2020 were enrolled in regular schools.

What is an autism classroom called? ›

Special Education

Autistic students are sometimes placed in a special or disability education classroom in their local public school.

What does a 6 1 1 classroom mean? ›

This is an 6:1:1 classroom (6 students, 1 teacher, and 1 aide) for students with mild to severe emotional disabilities. The child many have borderline to above average cognitive ability, a mental health diagnosis, and display intense challenging behaviors that interfere with learning.

What is full inclusion in special education? ›

Full inclusion is defined as placement in the general education classroom for all students with disabilities. Specifically, two large high schools located in suburban areas attempted to fully include over 300 students identified as needing special services.

What is a sped classroom called? ›

K-5 Self Contained – Classrooms catering to students who have special educational needs due to severe learning difficulties or physical disabilities. A classroom setting in which children with special needs are placed with other children with similar needs.

What are the 2 most prominent models of disability? ›

Two of the most common models of disability are Social and Medical.

What does CT mean in special education? ›

Consultant Teacher Services (CT) is specially designed and/or supplemental instruction provided by a special education teacher that can help your child stay in the general education classroom.

What is the goal of a resource center? ›

A resource centre should aim to: create a pleasant environment for learning. contain a relevant and accessible collection of resource materials (based on the actual needs of users) provide a range of information services.

What are the 3 main areas of resource management? ›

Planning and scheduling – Understanding what resources are available and when. Available and required skills – Assessing the skills of each person and whether additional skills (or people) need to be added. Resource utilization – Knowing where people are already committed and if those allocations are appropriate.

Why are learning resources important? ›

Learning materials can significantly increase learners' achievement by supporting learning. For example, an educational video may provide a learner with new insights and an appealing worksheet may provide the learner with new opportunities to practice a new skill gained in class.

What makes a good special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers should always motivate their students and appreciate every achievement of the students. They should always look at the problems from a student's perspective to remain calm and optimistic. The teacher's dedication to the betterment of the students serves as a huge confidence builder for them.

What are the three types of special education interventions? ›

What Is Intervention in Education?
  • Proactive: Deals with areas of need before they become a larger obstacle to education.
  • Intentional: Specifically addresses an observed weakness.
  • Formal: Uses targeted methods for addressing specific needs and tracks progress.
Oct 15, 2019

What are three benefits of using resources? ›

Benefits of Resource Management
  • Optimal Utilization of Resources. Resource Management aims to find a balance between maximizing the productivity of your available resources while avoiding over-utilization. ...
  • Avoid Unforeseen Challenges & Conflicts. ...
  • Improve Project Delivery. ...
  • Enhanced ROI. ...
  • Transparency.
Feb 17, 2021

What is the purpose of a resource room in a school? ›

Resource rooms provide support individually and in small groups. Services depend on the student's individual need as outlined in their Individualized Education Program (IEP), and may range from reading, writing or math support to learning social skills, organizational skills and work completion.

What is the strength of learning resource center? ›

Possibly the most important strength of the LRC programme is the way in which it embeds information skills and library use within the curriculum.

What are the disadvantages of resources? ›

  • Renewable resources are only available in certain parts of the world, eg sunny places.
  • Non renewable resources are scarce and will run out.
  • Non renewable resources cause pollution.
  • Renewable resources are expensive.
May 14, 2014

What is the disadvantage of resource based approach? ›

(1) The recourse-based view has no managerial implications, (2) the resource-based view implies infinite regress, (3) the resource-based view's applicability is too limited, (4) sustained competitive advantage is not achievable, (5) the value of a resource is too indeterminate to provide a useful theory, (6) the ...

What is the disadvantage of resource exploitation? ›

In short, raw material extraction and processing always impact on the environment, resulting as they do in soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss, damage to ecosystem functions and global warming exacerbation.

What are the disadvantages of learning centers? ›

  • The cost can run higher at superb learning centers. In general, learning centers costs more on average than private tutors. ...
  • Commute Required. During a typical year, many learning centers require students to travel in for their programs.
Aug 28, 2020

What is the major problem of resources? ›

Indiscriminate exploitation of resources has led to global ecological crises such as, global warming, ozone layer depletion, environmental pollution and land degradation.

What are the problems associated with resources? ›

Natural resources are not limitless, and the following consequences can arise from the careless and excessive consumption of these resources:
  • Deforestation.
  • Desertification.
  • Extinction of species.
  • Forced migration.
  • Soil erosion.
  • Oil depletion.
  • Ozone depletion.
  • Greenhouse gas increase.

What are the major criticisms of the resource-based view? ›

The critiques fall into eight categories: 1) The RBV has no managerial implications; 2) The RBV implies infinite regress; 3) The RBV's applicability is too limited; 4) SCA is not achievable; 5) The RBV is not a theory of the firm; 6) VRIN/O is neither necessary nor sufficient Page 7 The RBV: a Review and Assessment of ...

What is the primary concern of resource-based view? ›

The RBV focuses managerial attention on the firm's internal resources in an effort to identify those assets, capabilities and competencies with the potential to deliver superior competitive advantages.

What is the advantage of resource based learning? ›

Resource-based learning promotes problem-solving and higher-order thinking skills. Students no longer passively receive information; instead, they actively interact with it through engaging, relevant resources.

What is the most exploited resources? ›

Fossil fuels (oil, natural gas & coal) supply the vast majority of the world's energy demands and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

What are examples of exploited resources? ›

Minerals, oil, gas and coal are non-renewable resources: their use as materials and energy sources leads to depletion of the Earth's reserves.

How are resources being exploited? ›

Causes of Exploitation of Natural Resources

Overpopulation: an ever-increasing population (around 9 billion in the current day) demands more and more energy from natural resources. Deforestation: timber is an essential construction material, so forests worldwide are destroyed and left bare.

What are the 3 main disadvantages of elearning? ›

Disadvantages of Online Learning
  • Online Learning Requires Self-Discipline. ...
  • Online Learning Requires Additional Training for Instructors. ...
  • Online Classes Are Prone to Technical Issues. ...
  • Online Learning means more screen-time.
Apr 1, 2023

What is the main weakness of learner centered approach? ›

Instead of Being a successful approach to teaching, it too has some limitations which are as follows: Makes learning a time taking process. Difficult to achieve curriculum targets within time. Requires special skilled teachers for effective learning.

What are 5 disadvantages of co teaching? ›

Here's what students report as the disadvantages of Collaborative Learning
  • People need to go at different speeds. ...
  • Someone may try to take over the group. ...
  • Quiet people may not feel comfortable. ...
  • Sometimes people just don't get along. ...
  • People may not pull their weight. ...
  • It is not fair!


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