State Education Department

Oversight of School Districts’ Special Education Classification and Placement Processes for School-Age Children

Children with disabilities should receive a public education in the least restrictive environment. Children are to be classified as disabled and placed in appropriate educational programs by their local school districts. We examined how the districts’ classification and placement processes are overseen by the State Education Department for learning disabled and emotionally disturbed children.

We found that these processes are formally reviewed by the Department at selected school districts. However, districts are not selected for review on the basis of a formal risk assessment process to identify the districts that are least likely to comply with requirements. When we performed such an assessment, we found that 23 of the 39 districts with the greatest risk of non-compliance had not been selected for review. We recommended that all districts be analyzed for risk of non-compliance, and the formal reviews be scheduled on the basis of these assessments. We also recommended that the appropriateness of the districts’ classification and placement decisions be evaluated by the Department during the review process. When selected decisions were reviewed by our expert consultant, inconsistencies were identified in the classification and program placement of some students.

For a complete copy of Report 2000-S-46 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.