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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

April 2, 2014

State Releases Special Education Child Count and Report Cards

Strategic Initiative Funds Support Expansion of Proven Program

(Salem, Ore)
–Today, Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton released the 2013-14 Special Education Child Count which provides the current number of special education students, by disability, in Oregon. According to the report, the number of students receiving special education services has remained relatively steady since the 2012-13 school year, with an increase of 637 students or 0.75%. Special education students continue make up 13.3% of the student population in Oregon.

This year, the total number of Oregon children, ages 0-21, in special education programs increased to 86,015, up from 85,378 in 2012-13. The number of special education students in our K-12 schools is 75,374, up from 74,793 last year. Special education students are supported by federal, state, and local resources.

“Central to the intent of Oregon’s education reform efforts is that all students regardless of race, income, home language, or disability will have access to a rich, rewarding, and rigorous education that will prepare them for future success,” said Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “When I visit our schools and talk with our students, I see huge promise and potential. All of our students – including our students with special needs – are capable of so much. It is our job to ensure we are providing the high-quality, research-based instruction that will help all students succeed.”

Every Oregon child identified for special education services has at least one of the disabilities defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 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 most common disability categories in Oregon continue to be specific learning disability and speech/language impairment which represent 30% and 25% of identifications respectively. Click here PDF for special education counts by disability category.

Also released today were the 2012-13 Report Cards for Oregon School District Special Education and Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education programs. These report cards, required under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), provide information on how well local special education and early intervention programs are serving students and families.

The Special Education Report Cards provide information about school district and early intervention/early childhood programs including the academic achievement in math and English Language Arts of special education students, participation rates in state assessments, percentage of infants and toddlers with Individual Family Service Plans, and much more. Click here to access the Special Education Report Cards.

“One of the programs that has proven incredibly effective at improving student outcomes here in Oregon is Response to Intervention,” said Deputy Superintendent Saxton. “Thanks to additional funding provided through the Strategic Initiatives, we have been able to expand this program to 10 more school districts around the state. RTI not only helps students, and especially our special education students, be more successful, it is also shown to help reduce special education identification as students receive the early supports and interventions they need to be successful.”

The Oregon Department of Education is in its ninth year of the statewide Response to Intervention (RTI) initiative. RTI is the practice of providing high-quality, research-based academic instruction to all students and delivering increasingly intensive interventions which are matched to student need. The Oregon Legislature provided $2 million in Strategic Initiative funds to support the expansion of this program this year. There are currently a total of 70 school districts which have integrated this strategy into instruction. The Strategic Initiatives are designed to improve key student outcomes such as the percent of students reading at grade level by the end of third grade and the percent of students graduating from high school through targeted investments in proven programs and innovative approaches. For more on the Strategic Initiatives, click here.

Since 1975, the federal government has required that all children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education and special services to meet their education needs. Special education instruction can be provided in a number of settings: regular classrooms, special classrooms, through an Education Service District, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions. Over the years, an increasing number of students are being served, at least predominantly, in their regular classroom. Close to three quarters of special education students in Oregon now spend 80% or more of their day in a regular classroom. This is a positive trend which is in line with national research that has shown that students should receive instruction in the least restrictive environment possible. Click here PDF for student counts by placement type.

For more information on special education and early childhood programs in Oregon, please visit http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=146.

Special Education and Early Childhood report cards (in English and Spanish) are online at: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=1831.

For information on the Oregon State Performance Plan for Special Education, please visit http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1813.

Rob Saxton, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
Crystal Greene, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5650

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.

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Salem, OR 97310-0203

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