Dec. 11, 2001 --
"One measure of your State's commitment to integrating people with disabilities into the community is how well integrated our children with disabilities are in schools," writes attorney Steve Gold. Nationally, less than half of those students whose disability is "orthopedic" are in integrated, "mainstream" classroom settings, according to data in the most recent report to Congress on state implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
While Vermont shows that it integrates almost 9 out of 10 children with only orthopedic impairments, in California fewer than 3 of every 10 children with primarily orthopedic disabilities are in integrated classrooms. The report is available for download at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/OSEP/Products/OSEP2000AnlRpt/index.html -- information as to rates of integration can be found in the appendix. There one can look at the state-by-state breakdown of the percentage of children classified with only "orthopedic impairments" who are integrated in their schools and educational programs for 80 percent or more of the school day. Some of the data include Delaware (25%), Florida (43%), Illinois (32%), Mississippi (14%), Nebraska (55%) and Texas (18%); for a complete state list, email us at email@example.com.
The San Jose Mercury News reported last month that disabled children in the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto were still segregated ("East P.A. Schools Given Goals; Judge Outlines Steps To Avoid Takeover," by Sara Neufield, Nov. 22, available from the Mercury-News archives at http://www0.mercurycenter.com/resources/search/). In October, a federal judge gave Ravenswood a final six months to improve its special education program before ordering a state takeover of the district (story online at http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/drn/drn101101eastpalo.htm)
"Advocates should demand to know why their state educational departments are permitting local school districts to segregate any child with a disability, but particularly a child whom the school district acknowledges has only an "orthopedic impairment,' " says Gold.