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26837 Tanic Drive
Wesley Chapel
United States


Effective Education?

Kerri Milyko, Ph.D. BCBA

This last month, parents of Precision Teaching Learning Center's students  shared some great news.  One of our students with an Autism diagnosis was transitioned back into his regular classroom!  Further, two of our students who were supposed to be held back made the honor roll!  However, this is not the typical report for students who only receive help from the public school system.  According to the Data Accountability Center*, only 2% of children qualifying for special services transition back to “regular education.”

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that all students (particularly those with a disability) receive free, appropriate public education to prepare them for future education, employment and independent living.  Students who require special services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and those who have been diagnosed with various learning disorders or developmental disorders qualify to receive services through the public school system.  There are 368,808 children (3-21 years old) in the state of Florida receiving services under IDEA as of 2010*.  Florida is the fourth ranked state with respect to total number of children qualifying for services under IDEA. 

With over 350,000 students requiring services beyond those of the typical classroom, schools employ social workers, reading specialists, speech therapists, and other service providers to work with the students.  Some students are in a self-contained classroom with other students of similar diagnoses while other students are pulled from a regular classroom to receive services for as little as 30 minutes a week. 

The education system even developed a systematic approach for teachers and other service providers to assist IDEA students called Response to Intervention (RtI).  Data from assessments regarding intensity and complexity of the student’s needs guide teachers and service providers on how to further help the student. 

The IDEA and RtI systems are great with their intention to help the overwhelmingly large number of students who require extra educational services beyond those that are provided in the typical classroom.   Florida even takes it a step further by bestowing families with money (amounts equivalent to what the system spends on extra services for a student) via the McKay Scholarship to seek further help at a private school if they are unhappy with a public school.  Again, all of these things are steps in the right direction.

However, the trouble lies in the outcome data.  Of the 130,873 students ages 14-21 under IDEA, only 2,631 qualified as a “typical” student and re-entered “regular” education*.  You may think these are the severly challenged students.  Yet only approximately 28,000 students fit into that category.   Students with speech problems, dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, etc. are the ones who account for the majority of the 128,242 students* who cannot be separated from their label. 

Therefore, 98% of students do not advance from special education or still require special services.  Florida only rehabilitates 2% of the students who need help.  Is 2% even a statistically significant amount to say, “This treatment works”?  Not in our book.  If you really want to help your student, enroll him/her at Precision TLC to go beyond the most intensive treatment that the public school system can offer your child.  Even at their best, your student is more likely not to improve based on those services.  Invest in your child’s future and tip the scales towards success by calling us today.

*Statistics can be found at the Data Accountability Center: