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Detroit Hit With Rare Special Education Fine

Special education in Detroit is in run so poorly that Michigan plans to withhold $5 million in federal special education funds meant for the district, according to an article in The Detroit News.

From the article:

According to White, the district has failed to monitor the 7,000 disabled students' progress in the public schools; failed to produce a plan that moves appropriate students into a general classroom setting; failed to offer proof that sufficient and appropriate staff has been trained; failed to provide a list of qualified instructors, therapists and social workers; and failed to compile a list of students who did not receive evaluations or services.

The problems were first identified in a July 2008 report. Because of a lack of progress, the state put the district on increased supervision in July 2009, more than four months after [Emergency Financial Manager Robert] Bobb arrived. More than a year later, the district still had failed to comply, the state said.

The writers over at IDEA Money Watch bring up an excellent point: the federal government requires states to monitor districts for compliance with federal special education law. Just over a year ago, Michigan said Detroit "meets requirements" under that monitoring framework. Obviously, the monitoring system is not working well.

(I've written about the evaluation process in more detail in this article.)

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