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Civic Report
No. 32 December 2002


Effects of Funding Incentives on Special Education Enrollment

WHAT THE PRESS SAID

Special ed inflates state school costs by Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster, Detroit News, 10-10-04
The Money Threat to Special Education by Jay P. Greene, New York Sun, 12-16-02

Minorities In Arizona Schools More Likely To Be Labeled Special ...
The Heartland Institute, IL, 5-28-04
Report targets special needs: Limits urged on enrollment
Boston Globe, 12-29-02
Editorial: Learning about special ed
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12-24-02
Special-ed enrollment is fueled by funding
The Washington Times, 12-16-02
Study criticizes labeling of pupils
Tallahassee Democrat, 12-12-02
Special needs or additional fees?
The Plain Dealer, 12-12-02
Money promotes special ed label, study says
Bradenton Herald, 12-12-02
State pads special-ed numbers, report concludes
Star Tribune, 12-11-02
Funding viewed as factor in special ed
Gainesville Sun, 12-11-02
Special needs growth probed
Florida Today, 12-10-02
Special education formula criticized
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12-10-02

 


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CR 32 PDF (64 kb)

WHAT THE PRESS SAID

SUMMARY:
This report examines the effect state funding methods have on the number of students enrolled in special education. It finds that states with “bounty” funding systems provide financial incentives to schools to increase the identification of students with special needs by paying schools more for each additional student in special education. The authors find that those incentives are responsible for 62% of the increase in special education enrollment in those states over the past decade. Nationally, the report shows that this has led to roughly 390,000 children wrongly placed in special education programs at an annual cost of $2.3 billion. The authors also find that high-stakes testing, which has been suggested as an alternative culprit for the increase, has no significant effect on special education enrollment.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Executive Summary

About the Authors

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Previous Research

Method

Results

Table 1: State Special Education Funding Systems

Figure 1: U.S. Special Education Enrollment, 1991–2000

Figure 2: Special Education Enrollments under Bounty and Lump-Sum Systems, 1991–2000

Figure 3: Average Special Education Enrollment in Lump-Sum and Bounty States, 1991–2000

Figure 4: Actual and Projected Special Education Enrollment in Bounty States, 1991–2000

Conclusion

References

Endnotes

 


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