@info on on Special Ed –
You started a thread on Palo Alto Online asking of ways to find info about Special Ed (link #1). I am responding to you here in the hope that you will see my response since I cannot post online. My IP address is blocked and anything I post from another place noting “my name” vanishes.
The California Department of Education (CDE) maintains a site that may have some answers to the questions you asked. I do not know if you are familiar with this site – dataquest (link #2) below.
You can find all sorts of info about Special Ed, Enrollment by disability, enrollment by race, dropouts, etc., and you can compare district level, school level, etc. (not all info is available in all levels).
As an example – I just saw that PAUSD had on 2015/2016 118 white students and 20 Asian students who have been diagnosed to have “Specific Learning Disorder.”
Having written the above, I would take the info with a grain of salt. I say this because PAUSD was under investigation by the CDE. This investigation was not reported to the public when Special Ed successes were presented to the school board three years ago. I refer to this meeting (link #3 below) when I wrote an open letter to Ms. Gaona Mendosa. I must admit that I did not follow the resulting investigation closely – the random comments I read during the past three years indicate that Superintendent reported to the public only after the investigation ended and all issues were corrected. You may want to also check Edmond Burke’s blog (no longer active), which also referred to the CDE investigation.
And a few additional notes/questions (bearing in mind that I did not research current situation):
– You may see references to “specific learning disorder.” This used to be the biggest % of diagnosed disabilities. Last I checked, California’s students are shortchanged on the National level compared to Vermont, for example. Meaning that, in order to qualify in California, a student has to have a “bigger difficulty” than a student who attends school in Vermont. Students in other states may get the support they need early, while California students will not qualify. This inequity will have long term impacts not only the lack of support, but inequity (on a national level) where other states may have accommodations for SAT impacting college admissions, etc.
– Private placements: Way back I heard of students attending Charles Armstrong school at PAUSD expense. Those who shared this with me and were interested in exploring this issue told me that private lawyers were apparently involved in some placements and the info about the settlement between the student’s family and PAUSD was to be kept confidential. I do not know if this info is correct. If it was correct, I do not know if the students were part of Dataquest’s statistics, nor how to see this expense. I do not know if there is a way to see how much $ PAUSD spent on legal settlements. Also – if this info was correct, I am wondering if any underrepresented minority student was ever sent to such school.
– If the bit I mentioned above about Charles Armstrong school is accurate, it may be part of the explanation (along other similar bits) why many thought that PAUSD’s Special Ed was better years ago, as those who had the means to hire private lawyers got what they wanted.
Link #2 – http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/