Jan 24, 2020, Atlanta Journal Constitution: State to require APS to review special education policies https://www.ajc.com/news/local/state-require-aps-review-special-education-policies/4LK1g2la39NcUMjp9VIfgP/ Atlanta Public Schools must review its special education policies after the state determined the district’s black students are more likely to be identified as having intellectual disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders. The Georgia Department of Education sent a letter last month notifying the district of its determination based on data it reviews annually. The state said APS has disproportionate risk associated with black students in two areas. Black students are 3.5 times as likely as all other APS student groups to be identified as having an intellectual disability. They are 3.82 times as likely to be identified with an emotional and behavioral disorder, according to the state. “You want everyone to have the same risk,” said Zelphine Smith-Dixon, the state education department’s director of special education services and supports. “For kids, you want them to all have the same equal probability of being identified and getting a label.” … She said the district’s special education department is working to support school staff as they implement procedures to “prevent disproportionality.” “Additional strategies led by the department include thorough reviews of eligibility reports for students to ensure identification is appropriate, monitoring discipline processes, and providing behavior/mental health services and supports,” Carstarphen said.
Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.