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Segregated Special Education in Palo Alto – a long way to go

“when students are included, they have more access to the general curriculum
and effective instruction, they achieve at higher rates of academic
performance, and they acquire better social and behavioral outcomes.”

According to the latest report under IDEA for Palo Alto, 7.75% of students spend less than 40% of
their day in general education (reports from 2021).

Compared to California, this is good as California’s average is 18.2%.

However, California is the second worst state (for segregated special education) in the US (only ahead of New York).
There are 11 states that average better than Palo Alto.

  • West Virginia 7.4
  • Alabama 7.2
  • Iowa 7.2
  • Kansas†† 7
  • Connecticut†† 6.6
  • North Dakota 6.4
  • BIE schools 5.5
  • Nebraska 5.4
  • South Dakota 5.4
  • Wyoming†† 5.4
  • Colorado 5.3
  • Vermont 4.5

“..when educated in inclusive classrooms, peers without disabilities experience
either a positive academic and social impact or at least no negative impact on
academic achievement”


If you include students at separate schools, we perform even worse. We have 3.23% of students in
separate schools, worse than California’s average of 2.3% and worse than all but 15 states.


If you combine these numbers, there is a total of 10.98% of students in highly segregated settings –
worse than 16 states.

  • Puerto Rico 10.6
  • Vermont 9.8
  • Idaho 9.6
  • Indiana 9.2
  • Kentucky 9.2
  • Kansas†† 8.9
  • Alabama 8.5
  • Iowa 8.1
  • Oklahoma 7.9
  • West Virginia 7.6
  • Nebraska 7.2
  • Colorado 7.2
  • North Dakota 7
  • South Dakota 6.4
  • Wyoming†† 6
  • BIE schools 5.6

“..in special education classes, 58 percent of the time was not devoted
to instruction, in contrast with only 35 percent of non-instructional time in
general education.”


For general education, fundraising by PIE, and most other areas, Palo Alto Unified School District
benchmarks its performance and targets being one of the best in the USA.

Why not special education?

California Special Education Reports by LEA – https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ds/leadatarpts.asp

Palo Alto Unified Report Volumbe in California IDEA Report for 2021
https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ds/documents/indrptlea2021pr.docx (page 43)

43rd Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act, 2021
– https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/43rd-arc-for-idea.pdf – see pages 150-151.

The Segregation of Students with Disability – 7 February 2018 – National Council on Disability –
https://ncd.gov/sites/default/files/NCD_Segregation-SWD_508.pdf

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