Financing the Education of High-Need Students
America’s approach to the education of children with disabilities is antiquated, costly, and ineffective. Far too many children emerge from our special-ed system without the skills, knowledge, and competencies that they need for a successful life that fully capitalizes on their abilities. This ineffectual system is also very, very expensive. This paper does not purport to revamp national special-education policy or to solve all of its financial problems. Instead, it focuses on three specific challenges that are often encountered when districts, especially small districts, grapple with the costs of their highest-need special-education students, and it makes three recommendations that districts and states could put into practice today, without waiting for reforms or help from Washington, as they seek ways to mitigate those problems.