By several measures Georgia has a typical special education program, but this says less about the state and more about the inequities that our nation allows to proliferate within the education for students with disabilities. Any evaluation of the program is a practice of deciding just how different a state or nation would allow an education to be for a group of students that was not guaranteed full rights in the schoolhouse until the mid-1970s. If we begin, however, with the belief that every child is entitled to an inclusive and high-quality education, then there are changes the state of Georgia has to make within its treatment of special education programs. This report analyzes the public education of students with disabilities and suggests that the state of Georgia must:

  • Collect and present a robust, intersectional data reporting system for special education
  • Provide additional funding to educate students living in poverty, adjusted to child needs
  • Comprehensively evaluate special education funding weights

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that makes available a standard of publicly-financed education to eligible students with disabilities (SWD) and ensures special education and related services to those children. Examples of who might be served by IDEA are students with an intellectual disability, speech impairment or serious emotional disturbance.[1] The IDEA governs how Georgia provides services to the 215,000 eligible K-12 students (in the 2021-22 school year) in traditional public schools, charter schools, state schools as well as the departments of corrections and juvenile justice.[2]

Federal policymakers first passed IDEA (originally known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act) in 1975 to give clear guidance nationally as the quality of special education services varied greatly from state to state at the time.[3] The legislation requires that states and districts:

  • Provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all eligible children with disabilities,
  • In accordance with individualized education programs (IEPs) that are developed by teams that include not less than the child’s parents, a special educator, a representative of the school district, a regular educator, and the child with a disability as appropriate, and
  • To the maximum extent appropriate and in the least restrictive environment, which for most children means full participation in classes with children without disabilities.[4]

The IDEA includes required safeguards concerning the identification, evaluation, and placement of students in special education services that are intended to protect the rights of parents and SWDs.[5] Along with the stated rights and procedures, lawmakers also rationalized the sweeping bill as a way to provide state education agencies and school districts with some money to educate SWDs.[6] Using these rationales as an outline, this report represents an assessment of the adequacy and equity of the funding and policies in Georgia special education pertaining to: identification, evaluation, placement and services.

Identification and Evaluation

Before a child can receive special education and related services for the first time, they must be identified for an initial evaluation to see if the child has an eligible disability.[7] Identification data bears out a SWD population that does not represent the rest of the student body when disaggregated by gender, race, income and language proficiency, calling into question the objectivity of the process. Misidentification and the failure to identify students with a learning disability leads to incompatible or lacking services for children. For this reason, many stakeholders see disproportionate identification of students for evaluation as one of the central concerns for special education.[8] The 1997 reauthorization of the IDEA attempted to control for these issues by mandating that special education eligibility is not determined by a child’s language proficiency or discriminatory “…on a racial or cultural basis.”[9]

Compared to other states, Georgia has a lower portion of the school-age population that have been identified as having a disability and eligible for special education services.[10] The median state has 9.6 percent, while Georgia ranked 36th in the nation with 8.7 percent of the population served by the IDEA.

Fewer of Georgia Students are Identified for Special Education Services@2x

Within this state population, special education identification shows discrepancies based on race and gender that resemble disproportionality nationwide. In 2016, for instance, the percent of Asian Americans 3-21 years old nationwide identified as having a disability (7 percent) was roughly half of white (14 percent) and Black students (16 percent).[11] Georgia displays similar disparities, as evidenced by the chart below. The differences in identification by race may be explained by differences in socioeconomic status—generations of white supremacist policies have led to wealth disparities between racial and ethnic subgroups.[12] Research suggests that schools may have a difficult time differentiating learning disabilities from poor school performance associated with living in poverty, for example.[13] Between Fiscal Years (FY) 2018 and 2022 the rate of disability identification in Georgia has grown in every student group but fastest among Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI)—21.9 percent increase compared to 14.7 percent increase for all SWDs.

Students with Disabilities as Percentage of Enrollment, By Race (FY 2018 and FY 2022)

The disproportionality in identification by gender is more dramatic, and regional differences in the different rates suggests that cultural norms play into how children are identified for services. More plainly: the way schools define “good behavior” might lead to fewer girls being identified for special education and more boys.[14] Of the 214,734 children with disabilities statewide in FY 2022, nearly two-thirds are boys (142,224).[15] Currently states are not required to report data for transgender or non-binary students.

Finally, the enrollment of SWDs looks markedly different in charter schools compared to traditional public schools in Georgia. In FY 21 fewer than 10 percent of students in charter schools were identified as SWDs, while over 13 percent of traditional public school enrollment were the same.[16] In the same year 12.8 percent of the charter schools had SWDs make up less than 5 percent of their student body, compared to 2 percent of traditional public schools.[17]

Traditional Public Schools Educate Larger Portions of Students with Disabilities

Placement

The U.S. Department of Education dictates that SWDs are educated in an environment best suited to meet their needs with a preference for the classroom where the rest of the class is taught.[18] To monitor state education agencies’ and individual districts’ compliance with these regulations, the federal government requires reporting categories that show the type of education environment, including how often the child is present in “regular education” (note: this is a category name used in federal data reporting and not a normative claim on what is regular or irregular). In FY 21, 62 percent of SWDs in Georgia spent more than 80 percent of their time in regular education, compared to 68.4 percent nationwide.[19]

If Georgia served the national average of students in the regular classroom, it would represent 8,020 more students each year taught next to their classmates without disabilities.[20]

White children with disabilities in Georgia are more likely to be educated in the regular classroom setting than children of color. Although 2.2 percent of the SWD population identified as AAPI in FY 22, these children represent only 1.6 percent of those educated in the general education environment–a 24.4 percent decrease.[21] English language learners share a similar underrepresentation in these settings as they have 22 percent fewer students in the regular classroom compared to the total share of students with disabilities that are learning English.

Children of Color Less Likely to be Educated in Regular Classroom

Even if a child is taught in the correct setting, SWDs are disciplined in (or removed from) the classroom at higher rates than the rest of the school. In 2014 SWDs represented less than 13 percent of the average enrollment of Georgia’s public schools, but 21.3 percent of the “disciplined population” or those students who the school assigned in- or out-of-school suspension, expelled or gave detention.[22] SWD representation in the disciplined population has increased every year since, as shown on the chart below.

Students With Disabilities Make Up Growing Share of Disciplined Population

The IDEA holds provisions to protect SWDs from certain disciplinary decisions if the behavior in question was a result of a child’s disability or the result of the school’s failure to implement the agreed-upon education plan for the child (IEP). This “manifestation determination” meeting is only triggered, however, if the SWD:

  • Has been suspended (or had a change in placement) for ten days in a row,
  • Has been suspended for more than ten total days in the same school year for similar behaviors, or
  • If the school district is considering expulsion.[23]

Short of such drastic measures, SWDs can remain in a situation where they are punished for actions more attributable to their specific disabilities than individual decisions and their education placement suffers as a result.

Services

School-aged children with disabilities in Georgia receive special education inside the school, but the IDEA also covers additional services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy; and supplementary accommodations like adaptive equipment or special communication systems.[24] Covering and recognizing needs are different than providing them, however. Many students are limited in the opportunities provided to them based on where they live in the state. A team out of the Georgia Institute of Technology built a tool showing where autism services are offered statewide and displayed the difficulty of accessing these supports for rural Georgians specifically.[25]

Rural Inequality: Many Georgia Counties Lack Autism Service Providers

In Georgia, 4 counties hold 49 percent of all the autism service providers, according to the team’s data. Further, 25 counties only have a single provider while 111 counties don’t have one available at all. Interviews with stakeholders and prior research suggest that rural families face similar challenges with other disability services.[26]

Rural school leaders were more likely to report difficulties recruiting and retaining special education teachers after the No Child Left Behind Act (federal reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) raised the issue of “high quality” teachers.[27] Based on the best available data Georgia’s most rural schools have not faced the same issues—school districts in the most rural parts of the state employed special education teachers with more years’ experience than their higher-density peers (15.7 years’ experience compared to 13 years for the rest of the state).[28]

Experience is not the only metric that signals quality of instruction. Special education teachers across the state do not adequately reflect Georgia’s racial and ethnic diversity. More than 62 percent of the special education population are children of color, while 34.3 percent of teachers are. Children who identify as ethnically Hispanic experience the least representation: Hispanic people represent 16.3 percent of SWDs but fewer than 2 percent of the instructors.

Special Education Teachers Don’t Resemble Classroom

Salaries might contribute to the racial and ethnic makeup in the teacher workforce. Black teachers on average hold higher student loans than their white counterparts and the teaching profession’s relatively high reward for graduate degrees may explain why Hispanic teachers make less annually, as Hispanic teachers are less likely to have a professional degree than white or Black teachers.[29] One can see differences in salary based on student demographics as well. Special education teachers on average are paid less in school districts with higher portions of students living in poverty than in wealthier districts.[30]

Special Education Teachers Paid Less in Districts with More Students in Poverty

The relationship between general education teacher salaries and percentage of students living in poverty is much weaker than that evidenced in the special education program.[31]

Student poverty shows up across the data analyzing special education services. In 2021 SWDs had significantly higher portions of students score the lowest rating (“beginning”) on the Georgia Milestones, the state’s federally-mandated standardized tests. Sixty-one percent of SWDs earned the beginning rating across all Milestones that year while 20.6 percent of students without disabilities scored the same.[32] These averages belie a disparity of scores based on the number of students each school had living in poverty. The graph below shows a tight relationship between the number of students a school has that are living in poverty and how SWDs perform on the English Milestone assessment.

Poverty Evident in SWD Test Scores

Results like these shed a light on the differences in the quality of education provided within special education based on the income levels of students. It is notable that while 45 states and the District of Columbia have created grants to provide additional funding specifically to educate students living in poverty, Georgia schools have no such support.[33]

Funding

California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan fiscal policy advisor to the state’s lawmakers, developed a helpful framework to evaluate state special education funding models based on the body of literature on the topic.[34] Using their three criteria—1) fiscal incentive appropriateness, 2) funding and costs alignment and 3) transparency and ease of implementation—this paper will assess Georgia’s funding system to meeting the needs of SWDs in schools.

Fiscal Incentives

Funding models can reflect state priorities for special education. States can incentivize higher identification by attaching greater funding to the number of services for SWDs. Conversely state models can prioritize cost effectiveness through such policies as providing money based on measures outside of a school leader’s discretion.[35] Georgia’s funding for special education sits inside the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act, which provides specific “weights” for various programs ostensibly based on student need. QBE assigns ninth through twelfth grade general education a weight of 1, so if a program has a weight of 2, that program will receive twice the funding per child. The law assigns each program (e.g., Kindergarten, gifted) weights to pay for the appropriate number of staff and accommodations.

Georgia schools only generate additional special education funding if children are identified for services. The table below shows each special education category, the teacher/student ratio, funding weight and total cost to the state per full-time equivalent student for FY 22. For comparison, gifted education is assigned a funding weight of 1.6790 with a 1:12 teacher to student ratio.

Special Education Funding, by Category

Category[36] Teacher/Student Ratio Funding Weight Total Per FTE Cost
Special Education I 8 2.4111 $6,726.08
Special Education II 6.5 2.839 $7,919.86
Special Education III 5 3.6173 $10,090.94
Special Education IV 3 5.8684 $16,370.71
Special Education V 8 2.4733 $6,899.54

Source: Georgia Department of Education. (2022). Weights for FTE funding formula.

Weighted formulae like Georgia’s can incentivize “over-identification” or misclassification to increase funding.[37] Schools with less money per child overall could have leaders tempted to identify students for special education or identify students for higher-funded programs than they might require easing budget constraints elsewhere, the thinking goes. Based on most recent data, however, there is no statistical relationship between how much a district receives in local funding (a stand-in for how “fiscally restrained” a district is) and the number of children in special education in Georgia.[38] Similarly, there’s no evidence that students are being misidentified for financial gain: the amount of local funding has no statistical relationship to number of students in each special education category.[39] The overall identification rate in Georgia runs counter to any narrative of over-identification as well. If school leaders were “gaming” the system to earn more state money, you would expect to see higher rates of SWDs compared to other states. Instead, as previously noted, Georgia identification rates are in the bottom third of states’ nationally (36th overall).

Funding/Cost Alignment

The IDEA covers thirteen categories of disability that “adversely affect a child’s educational performance.”[40] Within each of these categories there exists a wide range of costs by setting, region of the state, or abilities of the child. School funding models are strongest when they tightly align these costs to the state financing provided.[41] Georgia’s weighted model is better suited to meet these needs equitably since schools have varying levels of programmatic (and financial) support.

Some SWD’s need (and are entitled to) intensive services that don’t easily fit into existing formulas. By one measure five percent of special education students require services with a cost greater than three times that of a general education student.[42] While the federal government provides states money to support these students (High Cost Fund Grant) some states, like Georgia, have set up an additional pool of money to meet these costs. The Tuition for Multiple Disability Students program partially reimburses districts for private residential placements if the district cannot provide an adequate educational program.[43] Georgia allotment for this program in FY 2023 is $1,551,946–$106,913 less than the state spent 17 years prior.[44]

Transparency and Ease of Implementation

State funding mechanisms need to be easy to understand so that there is less clerical burden and, therefore, more efficient use of state dollars.[45] Compared to states that require districts to make purchases that may or may not be eligible for reimbursement, or states with specific, complex funding requirements, Georgia’s weighted model is easier to digest and implement.[46] This model does require regular maintenance to make sure that the weights reflect relative cost. If, for instance, the cost to serve a child with autism spectrum disorder increases relative to the cost of a general education teacher, then Georgia’s formula might not be adequate to educate these students as QBE is based on a funding weight for high school general education students. The table below shows the special education weights for different points over the last two decades in Georgia.

Special Education Funding Weights, by Year

Category[47] Funding Weights
FY 2022 2013-2019 2010 2006
Special Education I 2.4118 2.3798 2.3940 2.3706
Special Education II 2.8402 2.7883 2.8156 2.7773
Special Education III 3.6188 3.5493 3.5868 3.5356
Special Education IV 5.8710 5.7509 5.8176 5.7294
Special Education V 2.4737 2.4511 2.4583 2.4421

Source: O.C.G.A. (2022; 2019; 2013; 2010; 2006). 20-2-161.

Over this time the student-teacher ratios have gone unchanged.

Considerations on Test Scores

For the last few decades policymakers have, unfairly, singled out standardized test scores as the most important measure of a child’s education. Although a child’s value cannot be measured in one test, on the aggregate these assessments can give a broad picture of the disparate educations offered to students. Taken together, SWDs in Georgia perform on average or slightly above their peers in other states on key metrics. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), few states perform significantly higher than Georgia based on performance of SWDs (significance being determined by statistical differences). Georgia’s eighth grade reading scores in 2019 show a state’s SWDs achieving similar levels to “high-performing” states with only six states performing higher, for example.[48] On the same assessment Georgia’s SWDs also score closer to students without disabilities than most states—no state has a significantly smaller difference between the two student groups (those with and without disabilities) than Georgia; 26 states had a significantly larger difference.[49]

These findings show the promise and peril of using test scores as a stand-in for quality. On one hand it could be argued that Georgia’s special education program is on par with the best in the nation. Even if that is the case, however, it ignores the question on whether our nation’s special education program is properly serving children. Relative high performance is not the same as high quality: SWDs in every state perform significantly lower on the NAEP tests than students without disabilities on average. For many this difference is a given: identification for special education services is based on whether a child’s disability adversely affects educational outcomes. There are, however, other factors in a child’s life that policymakers have committed to refuse to allow to affect a child’s education. A child’s gender, race, income or geography ought not, presumably, dictate the quality of schooling and performance. What would happen if the state of Georgia were to consider a child’s physical, mental and emotional ability through the same lens? The following section will offer policy implications to begin such an endeavor.

Policy Implications

Georgia has an opportunity to show other states how to best serve students with disabilities inside its public education system. The state needs to begin with a robust investment in the publicly-available special education data. Simply labeling children as either “with a disability” or “without a disability” glosses over a wealth of diversity in children’s experiences. Georgia ought to recognize the many intersections and differences within the disability school community through data reporting. Advocates, policymakers and communities need to have crosstabs showing the discipline rates of Black children with dyslexia, 3rd grade reading scores of English-learners with Down syndrome, and the exit-rates for children whose families make less than the federal poverty level, just to name a few. This data is necessary to better understand the varying experiences within and outside special education. This paper outlined a program with large differences in the identification for evaluation, placement and services based on a child’s race, income and geography. Honest and transparent data will further show the scope of the problem as well as who is being affected the most.[50]

Even as Georgia’s special education program educates hundreds of thousands of children with different experiences, contexts and gifts, the role of income inequality can be seen and felt in every corner of the public education system. Georgia remains one of only six states without additional funding to educate students living in poverty.[51] Children with disabilities that live in poverty deserve every educational opportunity that every other student is given. The tight relationship of SWD test scores to parental income demands that Georgia provide additional funding to educate students in poverty, and this funding must be adjusted based on the needs that a SWD has.

Higher funding for SWDs currently in poverty would allow districts to address issues such as the lack of racial diversity within the special education teaching profession. Research has shown that higher concentrations of Black and Latinx teachers can, among other benefits, reduce exclusionary discipline incidents.[52] Schools could raise salaries for special education and remove aforementioned barriers for people of color to enter the classroom. Further, the tight connection between race and wealth in Georgia because of generations of white supremacist policies make additional funding for students living in poverty a potential tool for racial justice. Funding for districts serving higher portions of students living in poverty could also assist districts hire in-school service providers instead of relying on community providers which are less likely to exist in rural areas.

Finally, Georgia lawmakers need to begin a comprehensive review of the funding associated with special education. Although the funding weights have seen small tweaks over the years, there is no assurance that the state is providing schools enough to adequately educate SWDs. The aforementioned funding amount for the Tuition for Multiple Disability Students program here is telling—this line item has not changed since FY 2006 except for a small decrease.

Any attempt to reevaluate this program cannot happen divorced from the everyday experiences of SWDs and their families. A state serious about serving these communities must be ready to understand the needs in every phase of the program, from IEP meetings to out-of-school service providers. The true evidence of commitment in this area would be to set concrete goals for public schooling for SWDs, and then be willing to pay the amount necessary to meet those goals. Anything short of that is an implicit admission that these students do not deserve a quality education.

Endnotes

[1] U.S. Department of Education. (2018). IDEA Sec. 300.8 Child with a disability. https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/a/300.8

[2] Georgia Department of Education (2021). FY22 Federal Child Count (Data source: October 2021 FTE Count). https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Special-Education-Services/Documents/Federal%20Data%20Reports/FY22/B_FY22%20LEA%20Child%20Count%20Totals%20Ages%203-21.pdf

[3] Griffith, M. (2015). A look at funding for Students with Disabilities. Education Commission of the States. https://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/17/72/11772.pdf

[4] U.S. Department of Education. (2021). Fiscal Year 2022 budget summary. https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget22/summary/22summary.pdf

[5] Dragoo, K. E. (2017). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B: Key statutory and regulatory provisions. Congressional Research Service. https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R41833.pdf

[6] Griffith, M. (2015). A look at funding for Students with Disabilities. Education Commission of the States. https://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/17/72/11772.pdf

[7] Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (2019). Section 1414 (a). https://sites.ed.gov/idea/statute-chapter-33/subchapter-ii/1414/a

[8] Shifrer, D., Muller, C. and Callahan, R. (2011). Disproportionality and learning disabilities: Parsing apart race, socioeconomic status, and language. Journal of learning disabilities. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133990/

[9] Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (2019). Section 1414 (b). https://sites.ed.gov/idea/statute-chapter-33/subchapter-ii/1414/b

[10] U.S. Department of Education. (2021). ED Facts Data Warehouse (EDW): IDEA Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Collection, 2020-21.

[11] National Center for Education Statistics. Indicator 9: Students with Disabilities. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/raceindicators/indicator_rbd.asp#:~:text=In%20school%20year%202015%E2%80%9316,13%20percent)%2C%20Hispanic%20and%20Pacific

[12] Shifrer, D., Muller, C. and Callahan, R. (2011). Disproportionality and learning disabilities: Parsing apart race, socioeconomic status, and language. Journal of learning disabilities. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133990/

[13] Ibid.

[14] Shifrer, D., Muller, C. and Callahan, R. (2011). Disproportionality and learning disabilities: Parsing apart race, socioeconomic status, and language. Journal of learning disabilities. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133990/; Coutinho, M. J., Oswald, D. P. (2005). State variation in gender disproportionality in special education findings and recommendations. Remedial and Special Education.

[15] Georgia Department of Education (2021). FY22 federal child count data, count by gender. https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Special-Education-Services/Documents/Federal%20Data%20Reports/FY22/A_FY22%20Child%20Count_Gender.pdf

[16] Based on a GBPI analysis of Georgia Department of Education. (2021). Enrollment by subgroups programs.

[17] Based on a GBPI analysis of approved local charter schools (https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools/Pages/Approved-Charter-Schools.aspx_) and state charter schools (https://scsc.georgia.gov/locations/school/approved-charter-contracts).

[18] U.S. Department of Education. (2017). Sec. 300.116 Placements. https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/b/300.116

[19] U.S. Department of Education. (2021). IDEA Section 618 State Part B Child Count and Educational Environments. https://data.ed.gov/dataset/idea-section-618-state-part-b-child-count-and-educational-environments/resources

[20] Based on a GBPI analysis of U.S. Department of Education. (2021). IDEA Section 618 State Part B Child Count and Educational Environments. https://data.ed.gov/dataset/idea-section-618-state-part-b-child-count-and-educational-environments/resources

[21] Georgia Department of Education. (2022). Federal Data Reports. https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Special-Education-Services/Documents/Federal%20Data%20Reports/FY22/D_FY22%20Child%20Count_Environment%20x%20Race-Ethnicity_School%20age.pdf

[22] Governors Office of Student Achievement. (2021). K-12 Student Discipline Dashboard. https://public.gosa.ga.gov/noauth/extensions/DisciplineDashV1/DisciplineDashV1.html

[23] PACER Center. (2020). Manifestation determination meeting: Special education students. https://www.pacer.org/parent/php/PHP-c285.pdf

[24] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Services. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/treatment.html

[25] Georgia Tech. (2021). Interactive autism services map shows inequality, helps Georgians find the services they need. Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. https://iac.gatech.edu/news/item/650277/interactive-autism-services-shows-inequality-helps-georgians-find-services

[26] Bailey, T. R., and Zumeta, R. (2015). How states can help rural LEAs meet the needs of special populations. Uncovering the productivity promise of rural education. The SEA of the Future. https://compcenternetwork.org/sites/default/files/archive/SEAF_Vol4_ProdPromiseOfRuralEdu.pdf#page=45

[27] Hodge, C. L., and Krumm, B. L. (2009). NCLB: A study of its effect on rural schools—school administrators rate service options for students with disabilities. Rural Special Education Quarterly.

[28] Based on a GBPI analysis of Georgia Department of Education. (2022). System- and state-level certified personnel data. Special education teacher data.

[29] Hansen, M. and Quintero, D. (2017). How extra pay for graduate degrees may influence the teacher diversity gap. Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2017/09/14/how-extra-pay-for-graduate-degrees-may-influence-the-teacher-diversity-gap/

[30] Georgia Department of Education. (2022). System- and state-level certified personnel data. Special education teacher data.; Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. (2021). Direct Certification (District Level).

[31] Georgia Department of Education. (2022). System- and state-level certified personnel data. Teacher data.; Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. (2021). Direct Certification (District Level).

[32] Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. (2021). Georgia Milestones Assessments.

[33] Education Commission of the States. (2021). K-12 and special education funding: Funding for students from low-income backgrounds. https://reports.ecs.org/comparisons/k-12-and-special-education-funding-06

[34] Petek, G. (2021). Overview of special education funding models. Legislative Analyst’s Office. https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4486

[35] Ibid.

[36] Note, based on State Board of Education Rules: Category 1 – Self-contained specific learning disabled and self-contained speech-language disordered. Category 2 – Mildly mentally disabled. Category 3 – Behavior disordered, moderately mentally disabled, severely mentally disabled, resourced specific learning disabled, resourced speech-language disordered, self-contained hearing impaired and deaf, self-contained orthopedically disabled, and self-contained other health impaired. Category 4 – Deaf-blind, profoundly mentally disabled, visually impaired and blind, resourced hearing impaired and deaf, resourced orthopedically disabled, and resourced other health impaired. Category 5 – Those special education students classified as being in Categories 1 through 4 whose Individualized Educational Programs specify specially designed instruction or supplementary aids or services in alternative placements, in the least restrictive environment, including the regular classroom and who receive such services from personnel such as paraprofessionals, interpreters, job coaches, and other assistive personnel.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Based on a GBPI analysis of Georgia Department of Education. (2022). QBE FTE for FY 2022.

[39] Ibid.

[40] U.S. Department of Education. (2018). IDEA Sec. 300.8 Child with a disability. https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/a/300.8

[41] Petek, G. (2021). Overview of special education funding models. Legislative Analyst’s Office. https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4486

[42] Richmond, M. and Fairchild, D. (2013). Financing the education of high-need students. Thomas B. Fordham Institute. https://fordhaminstitute.org/sites/default/files/publication/pdfs/financing-education-high-need-students-final.pdf

[43] The Governor’s Budget Report. (2022). Amended Fiscal Year 2022 and Fiscal Year 2023.

[44] The Governor’s Budget Report. (2007). FY 2007.; The Governor’s Budget Report. (2022). Amended Fiscal Year 2022 and Fiscal Year 2023.

[45] Petek, G. (2021). Overview of special education funding models. Legislative Analyst’s Office. https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4486

[46] Ibid.

[47] Note, for an explanation of category description see endnote 36

[48] National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2022). NAEP Data Explorer. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ndecore/landing

[49] Ibid.

[50] National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2020). Significant disproportionality in special education: Current trends and actions for impact. https://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2020-NCLD-Disproportionality_Trends-and-Actions-for-Impact_FINAL-1.pdf

[51] Education Commission of the States. (2021). K-12 and special education funding: Funding for students from low-income backgrounds. https://reports.ecs.org/comparisons/k-12-and-special-education-funding-06

[52] Lindsay, C. A. (2016). Teacher race and school discipline. Education Next. https://www.educationnext.org/teacher-race-and-school-discipline-suspensions-research/

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