Area special education receives mixed reviews

POLK COUNTY - The majority of special education students in Dallas graduated with a diploma in 2006-07, but the district still fell short of standards set by the state.

POLK COUNTY - The majority of special education students in Dallas graduated with a diploma in 2006-07, but the district still fell short of standards set by the state.

The dropout rate for Dallas students in the special education subgroup, however, was 1.4 percent, far lower than Oregon's overall 5.4 percent benchmark.

Those were among the data included in a report released by the Oregon Department of Education last week.

There are 72,068 students in special ed programs in Oregon - about 13 percent of total enrollment. Youths in these categories typically have physical or learning disabilities, or speech and hearing impairments.

Benchmarks set by the state require at least 72 percent of the students earn regular diplomas and that no more than 5.4 percent drop out per year.

Another target says 10.1 percent or less of a district's students should be removed from regular classes for most of their day - 60 percent or more - to spend in special education courses.

There are about 470 special ed students in Dallas. Nearly 67 percent of high school students who were on individualized education programs in 2006-07 received regular diplomas.

Only 3.6 percent spent the majority of their day away from regular class settings. Dallas students also met or exceeded state standards in mathematics and language arts.

Almost 14 percent of Central School District's 395 special ed students were removed from regular classes for 60 percent or more of their day.

"We have several large scale special education programs under review and are analyzing this data as part of that review," Central Superintendent Joseph Hunter said. "We have a new special ed director coming to Central starting next week and this will be one of her first tasks."

Thirty-seven percent and 35 percent of students did not meet academic standards in English and math, respectively.

Hunter also said the district will be working with ODE to clarify some incorrect graduation and dropout data that appeared in the report.

Falls City fell short of dropout and academic achievement benchmarks, though the district's small enrollment often skews data.

Perrydale School District had too few special education students in 2006-07 to merit scores on the report card.

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