Day 23–Wednesday, Aug. 31

Trish Boland testified today. She’s Title 1 coordinator for CDE (state dept. of education).

She said:

  • No state turns down federal funds.
  • Title 1 funds for “neediest” students.
  • 100 percent proficiency is a federal goal—that was the initial intention of the legislation.
  •  A “few” districts turn down federal funds.
  • State does not have a role in local school district decision to not accept federal funds.
  • Federal government requires that fed. employees track their time and effort on federal programs.
  • $23 million finding by US Dept. of Ed. against CDE because time not tracked correctly.
  • CDE hired for-profit WestED and D.C. law firm to help fix problem.
  • CDE needed 9 additional employees to comply with No Child Left Behind. “Theoretically.”
  • CDE needed 19 additional employees to comply with federal special education requirements.
  • State does not know how much it costs for districts to comply with federal requirements.
  • There is a federal requirement to supplement, not supplant local spending.
  • Decision on what schools to serve with federal dollars is a local decision.
  • Few CDE resources are “authentically flexible” (report from WestEd).
  • State and/or private resource increases needed (report from WestEd).
  • OMNI report (study) looked at variety of schools and how much Title 1 dollars they received.
  • The group with highest dollar amount had the highest growth rates for achievement.
  • Nothing in law prohibits the state from supplementing federal programs.
  • When more resources are added to a school, better results are seen.
  • The per-pupil amount may have a relationship to outcomes in Title I schools.
  • Districts decide whether to concentrate funds. Local control allows for flexibility with federal Title I funds.
  • It’s “always a hard decision” for local districts about how to apply federal Title I dollars.

Ed Steinberg also testified today. He’s an assistant commissioner at the state department of education (CDE) overseeing special education, among other areas.

He said:

  • Outcome rates more important that compliance for special education students.
  • Wishes federal government would focus on performance of the programs.
  • 84,300 studentsidentified in Colorado as needing special education services.
  • Autism a growing concern. Colorado state legislature has earmarked $4 million for “high cost students” and their needs.
  • There is a nationwide shortage of educators trained to serve special education students.
  • Just because state doesn’t pay all the costs, doesn’t mean students aren’t having their needs met.
  • Gifted education programs are for students who show high potential.
  • Colorado provides funding for gifted education; one of 30 or 35 states that do.
  • Achievement in reading and math across the state is flat and shows signs of declining for students needing special education services.
  • As a state, we need general ed. classroom teachers and special ed. classroom teachers who know how to teach reading.
  • We don’t need additional resources to fix literacy training for teachers.
  • We need to shift teacher colleges and their training. Need to move away from whole language approach.
  • We need to re-allocate existing resources.
  • We can’t mandate curriculum or a particular reading program. Local control issue.
  • Proficiency rates down in math and science.
  • State performance plan targets were lowered because of poor performance.
  • Wide achievement gap exists for students with disabilities
  • Have concerns about ability of special education teachers and their ability to remediate students who aren’t reading on grade level.
  • It’s the state’s obligation to ensure districts are compliant with special education regulations.
  • As recently as June 2011, federal programs determined Colorado “needs assistance” (below “meets requirements”) level.
  • 70 percent of staff time at CDE is spent on compliance.
  • CDE time is spent on compliance, not student achievement.
  • “Frustrating” CDE can’t spent time on student achievement.
  • CDE has not analyzed whether implementing RTI (Response to Intervention) is cost-efficient.
  •  RTI requires professional development to implement.
  • Charter schools serve a smaller percentage of students with disabilities than non-charters.
  • Some charters discourage enrollment for high-needs special education students.
  • Rural salaries are not high enough to retain teachers
  • In 1992-1993, state paid only 31.6 percent of approved costs for special education needs.
  •  At that time (92-93), legislative council recommended reimbursing local districts for 80 percent of approved costs.
  •  A 2000 survey, of special education directors, 74 percent of respondents said state is under-funding special education.
  • From same study, 93 percent urged more state funding for special education.
  • “I believe districts could benefit from more state funding.”
  • Colorado is the lowest or second or third-lowest in terms of identified students with disabilities. Districts are concerned about funding 60 percent of special education costs.
  • Colorado ranks low for its contribution to special education (including all states and D.C.)
  • No reason to dispute one finding that ranked Colorado 51st among all states and D.C. in special education contribution.
  • State does not provide all the funding needed for high-cost special education students.
  • CDE does not have data for the costs of educating all special education students in the state.




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