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Research shows that, for most students, being educated in the regular classroom with students who do not have disabilities has the best academic and social outcomes. Indeed, numerous studies indicate that students with disabilities who are educated in classes with their typical peers are more successful than those educated in non-inclusive settings.
Furthermore, students in these placements spend many hours being transported to and from their out-of-district placement and have little or no opportunity to interact with students who do not have disabilities. They also do not learn how to navigate their home community and do not develop friendships or relationships that will allow them to have a meaningful, productive employment and social life after high school. For student with disabilities as well as typical students, the benefits of inclusion include gains in social competence, increased tolerance, acceptance, and respect for diversity. Finally, integrated classes are also more cost effective.
Is this increase in out-of-district placements occurring by chance? One way to determine whether this is occurring by chance is to do a statistical test. In this instance, I ran a fairly standard Student's t-test making the proper assumptions of the two samples.
Here are the results:
|P value and statistical significance:|
The two-tailed P value equals 0.0003
By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be extremely statistically significant.
The mean of Prior to Kids First minus Kids First equals -13.00
95% confidence interval of this difference: From -17.35 to -8.65
Intermediate values used in calculations:
t = 7.3054
df = 6
standard error of difference = 1.780
|Group||Prior to Kids First||Kids First|
The data shows there is a statistically significant difference between private placements under Kids First and that there is less than a 1/1000 chance that this difference is due to randomness.
Clearly, there are situations and circumstances where the decision for out-of-district placement is correct and appropriate. But this sharp increase over the past 4 years is not occurring due to chance and at least warrants a discussion and explanation for what is actually going on concerning out-of-district placements.
Correlations do not necessarily mean causation and there are certainly multiple factors at play. Nonetheless, there has been little to no discussion on the circumstances leading to the relatively rapid rise of out of district placements and possible policies or circumstances underlying the increase.