Oregon Department of Education
News Home News Announcements Announcements

News Releases For immediate release
Susanne B. Smith, (503) 947-5637

March 11, 2009

State Releases 2008-09 Special Education Child Count

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo has released the numbers for Oregon’s Special Education Child Count for the 2008-09 school year. The report shows that the total number of Oregon children, aged 0-21, in special education programs has increased to 81,988 – an increase from last year’s 80,826.

The number of school-age students in special education (aged K-21) is 72,846 – an increase from last year’s 72,068. This represents 13% of the school-age population in the state. Special education students are supported by federal, state and local resources, and funding for the 2008-09 school year is over $500 million.

Every child in Oregon identified as special education has at least one of the disabilities defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), shown below for the 2008-09 school year:

Developmental Delay (0-4 years)--4367
Emotional Disturbance--4708
Hearing Impairment--1114
Mental Retardation--4080
Other Health Impairment--9380
Orthopedic Impairment--1030
Specific Learning Disability--27664
Speech/Language Impairment--21314
Traumatic Brain Injury--284
Visual Impairment--452

Since 1975, the federal government has required that all children receive a free and appropriate public education and special services to meet their education needs. Today, IDEA governs special education and related services, provided at no cost to parents. Under Oregon law, IDEA applies to all eligible children with disabilities aged 0-21. A child is eligible for special education and related services if a team of professionals and the parent determines that the child has a disability (defined in the law) and needs special education services because of that disability.

“The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is vital to special education programs in Oregon. Special education students rely on these services to attain a quality education. In the past, schools educated only about one in five students with disabilities. Today, IDEA guarantees students with disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education,” Castillo said.

“The vast majority of special education students attend regular public schools for at least part of their school day, and we track and report their academic achievement along with the rest of the student population,” Castillo said.

Special education instruction can be provided in a number of settings: regular classrooms, special classrooms, regional programs through an Education Service District, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions.

For Oregon, the placement of school-age students in special education in 2008-09 is shown below:

Regular Class 80% or more of the day--51264
Regular Class 40-79% of the day--11523
Regular Class less than 40% of the day--7936
Public Separate School--736
Private Separate School--213
Public Residential Facility--80
Private Residential Facility--27
Correctional Facility*--294
Parentally Placed Private School*--400 Home School*--175
*These are new placement categories for 2007-08. In prior years, these counts were reflected in the other placements.

To see historical information and trends, please visit the Oregon Statewide Report Card online at http://www.ode.state.or.us/data/annreportcard/rptcard2008.pdf PDF.

The performance of students with disabilities is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the Oregon Department of Education is in its fourth year of two statewide initiatives to improve performance for students with disabilities: Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Supports (PBS). Response to Intervention (RTI) is the practice of providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals and applying child response data to important educational decisions. RTI should be applied to decisions in general, remedial and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction/intervention guided by child outcome data. (NASDSE, 2007)

From 2005 through 2009, twenty-nine Oregon school districts have received intensive training and support from the Oregon RTI project. These Districts demonstrate commitment to the RTI process, long-term goals for their district, and the resources needed to carry through a major systems change.

The twenty-nine Districts who participate in the Oregon RTI Initiative are: Astoria, Baker, Bethel, Canby, Central Curry, Crow-Applegate-Lorane, Echo, Fern Ridge, Grants Pass, Hermiston, Hood River, Ione, Klamath Falls City, LaGrande, Lowell, Nestucca Valley, North Clackamas, Nyssa, Ontario, Pendleton, Phoenix-Talent, Pilot Rock, Roseburg, Scio, Seaside, Sheridan, Sherwood, South Lane, and South Umpqua. Under a contract with the Department, Tigard-Tualatin School District is leading this effort and provides training and support to the participating districts. Tigard-Tualatin has implemented the key components of the RTI approach for close to eight years and has valuable experience that supports statewide capacity building for the Department.

The second statewide initiative is Positive Behavior Supports (PBS). The goal of the initiative is to provide districts with necessary skills to develop, implement, and sustain practices that create safe and effective learning environments for all students. For 2008-09, nine ESDs/ regional sites will receive funding to support implementation and sustainability of systems and practices they have implemented. The eight ESDs and one school district receiving funding: Clackamas ESD, High Desert ESD, Linn Benton Lincoln ESD, Malheur ESD, Multnomah ESD, Southern Oregon ESD, South Umpqua School District, and Umatilla-Morrow ESD.

The Department was awarded a five year federal grant to support districts in merging a behavior (PBS) and instructional (RTI) system into a single district wide model. Guidance and support will be offered to those selected school districts interested in adopting an Effective Behavior and Instructional Support Systems (EBISS) model with support over a period of 3-5 years. Selected districts will be provided training tools for implementation of an integrated model, consultation regarding practical considerations, and guiding the effectiveness of the district plan for implementation. More information on EBISS can be found on our website at http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=1389.

The Office of Student Learning & Partnerships supports and monitors programs that provide direct services to diverse learners and assists in the development of strategies to address unique learning differences. Units in this office manage programs that include special education, early childhood education, accountability and program compliance, and capacity building and partnerships with community stakeholders. This work is designed to ensure that multiple teaching and learning strategies encompass student needs derived from socio-economic, social emotional, linguistic, cultural, ethnic or other differences. This focus allows learners to demonstrate their performance skills and to benefit from participation in meaningful venues as they prepare to become contributing members of the adult community.

For more information, please visit http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=146 .

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Gene Evans, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5737

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

Contact Us

Oregon Department of Education
Voice: 503-947-5600
Fax: 503-378-5156
255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

Helpful Resources

ODE Accessibility Statement

Career Opportunities

Educator Effectiveness

School Report Cards

State Board

Site Map

About Oregon


State Directories

Agencies Listing


Privacy Policy

Supported Browsers