April 17, 2017, Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle: Rochester school district looks to shrink special education enrollment http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2017/04/17/rochester-city-schools-special-education-enrollment-numbers/100566874/ The Rochester City School District is aiming to reduce its special education classification rate, saying many of those students could receive intervention services in a less onerous way. One in five Rochester children is classified as special education, a rate that stands out in Monroe County but not among similar districts statewide. Buffalo and New York City have higher classification rates, and Syracuse is equal to Rochester at 20 percent. … Rochester Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams did not name a target rate, but said the district has relied too heavily on special education classification to get students basic support like more reading instruction. "If you have a system that requires students to be classified to get that support, you'll create the need for unnecessary classification," she said. "If someone refers (a student) for classification, I want to know: Are you doing that because you need more information on how (the student) learns to read or do math? Or are you just trying to get the student placed (in special education)?"... Any explicit attempt to reduce special education enrollment, though, can be freighted with practical and political risk. It is hard to know the "true" level of disability needs among a given student body, but there are certainly some children in Rochester who require services yet don't receive them. … Special education rates in Rochester are not just high, but increasing. Initial referrals for special education placement have risen 72 percent since 2013-14, a time of declining district enrollment; placements have more than doubled.
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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.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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