U.S. DOE: East Orange Oversegregates Kids with Disabilities

EdWeek’s special education blog is reporting that the U.S. Department of Education has finished its investigation of the East Orange Public Schools District and determined that children with disabilities were unnecessarily segregated from typical-performing peers.

The district must now inform parents of the ruling, revise policies, train staff, and review all the placements of children placed in self-contained classrooms. EdWeek lists some examples of the violations:
•    A 4th grade student was placed in a self-contained setting because her teacher said the student was performing below grade level. The student's education plan found that curriculum modifications and accommodations were considered but were insufficient to meet the student's needs. It also didn't demonstrate any evidence that educators had discussed any other supplementary aids or services that might've enabled the student to attend integrated classes.
•    A 1st grader's education plan indicated his achievement level was average, he had difficulty with reading and writing, and he had a short attention span. But his education plan said that it "appeared" that he might need a different educational setting because the regular setting "was not meeting his needs." Nothing indicated the district had considered supplementary aids and services so the boy could attend integrated classes.
•    For a 3rd grader who was repeating 3rd grade but performing at the 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-grade level in some subjects, the district considered providing him with supplemental instruction in math and language arts but then rejected that idea because it would require individualized instruction. Nothing was cited to show the student couldn't receive individualized instruction in the regular classroom.