CADRE Report On the Number of Special Ed Cases: Post Script

Pie chart with preliminary results from the 20...Image via Wikipedia

I know. You're probably thinking, oh no, not more fun with numbers. But I must...

Last week we provided our readers with an exclusive scoop on the CADRE report. Well, it wasn't exclusive, CADRE had already released the document publicly. We just got there before the other education "press." Our goal at the special education law blog is to provide you with useful information on a timely basis. Sometimes these scoops cause some hard feelings, but we try to get stories while they are newsworthy. We often do not run the stories first because we have no paid staff or other mainstream news resources. When we do, it is quite an accomplishment.

Concerning the CADRE report, there has been a revision of the Part B tables which may be reviewed here. With this revision, you now have the current data.

A few observations from some readers who have more experience with data than I have. First, particularly given the big change of adding the resolution session in the 2004 statute, we have two years of one kind of data and three years of another kind. It is, therefore, difficult to make serious analysis or conclusions regarding the data. For those who know how to crunch numbers, this is not much time or much of a sample.

Another major caveat, as many of us in the trenches have observed, one family can file multiple state complaints, requests for mediation and due process complaints. This is the only area of the law that I am aware of where a party can exercise all four dispute resolution options for the same dispute. Also, there can be multiple disputes. For purposes of illustration, a previous study published in 2004 found that 35% of due process complaints in a one year period were filed by 16% of the students. Especially in the smaller states, a few active parents can account for a big change in the data.

Even with these caveats, you should check out the numbers of filings in your state. Is your state in the top ten? Are you in a low volume state? How about the complaints per 10,000 special ed kids?

OK so we again had some fun with numbers. To paraphrase Zapata, those who fail to study the numbers are bound to repeat the past numbers!