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“when students are included, they have more access to the general curriculum
and effective instruction, they achieve at higher rates of academic
performance, and they acquire better social and behavioral outcomes.”
According to the latest report under IDEA for Palo Alto, 7.75% of students spend less than 40% of
their day in general education (reports from 2021).
Compared to California, this is good as California’s average is 18.2%.
However, California is the second worst state (for segregated special education) in the US (only ahead of New York).
There are 11 states that average better than Palo Alto.
- West Virginia 7.4
- Alabama 7.2
- Iowa 7.2
- Kansas†† 7
- Connecticut†† 6.6
- North Dakota 6.4
- BIE schools 5.5
- Nebraska 5.4
- South Dakota 5.4
- Wyoming†† 5.4
- Colorado 5.3
- Vermont 4.5
“..when educated in inclusive classrooms, peers without disabilities experience
either a positive academic and social impact or at least no negative impact on
If you include students at separate schools, we perform even worse. We have 3.23% of students in
separate schools, worse than California’s average of 2.3% and worse than all but 15 states.
If you combine these numbers, there is a total of 10.98% of students in highly segregated settings –
worse than 16 states.
- Puerto Rico 10.6
- Vermont 9.8
- Idaho 9.6
- Indiana 9.2
- Kentucky 9.2
- Kansas†† 8.9
- Alabama 8.5
- Iowa 8.1
- Oklahoma 7.9
- West Virginia 7.6
- Nebraska 7.2
- Colorado 7.2
- North Dakota 7
- South Dakota 6.4
- Wyoming†† 6
- BIE schools 5.6
“..in special education classes, 58 percent of the time was not devoted
to instruction, in contrast with only 35 percent of non-instructional time in
For general education, fundraising by PIE, and most other areas, Palo Alto Unified School District
benchmarks its performance and targets being one of the best in the USA.
Why not special education?
California Special Education Reports by LEA – https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ds/leadatarpts.asp
Palo Alto Unified Report Volumbe in California IDEA Report for 2021 –
https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ds/documents/indrptlea2021pr.docx (page 43)
43rd Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act, 2021 – https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/43rd-arc-for-idea.pdf – see pages 150-151.
The Segregation of Students with Disability – 7 February 2018 – National Council on Disability –
- We have to address the lack of representation of people with disabilities in arts, music, dance, cinema, theater, and media.
- We are not visible and when we are featured, we are often shown negatively stereotyped.
- We are depicted as objects of pity or as superheroes who have achieved great successes.
Both of these scenarios are not what represents the majority of disabled people. Due to lack of awareness, there is a stigma attached to disabilities and certainly, there are misconceptions around how we are supposed to live our lives.
There is a need for a balanced portrayal of disabled people as individuals and disability as part of everyday lives. Different modes of media can play a more constructive role in making society inclusive for all and successfully integrating disabled people in all aspects of societal lives.
Through humor, retrospection and empathy, we can address the most difficult questions around disability and initiate conversations we as a society generally avoid.
- Our goal is to create a more empathetic and patient society which is only possible by spreading awareness and sensitizing people on everyday challenges disabled people face.
- We want to strongly imply that disability doesn’t mean less abled.
- We have to change the perceptions of disabled and non-disabled towards disability for thorough and real inclusion
Puneet Singh Singhal is the neurodivergent founder of 123ssstartmore
How inclusive are our schools for Students with Disabilities?
According to the latest Department of Education Report for 2021, 15.5% of all disabled students in the US are in highly segregated settings (either in a separate classroom for more than 60% of the day or a separate school).
Top 5 inclusive States
Bottom 5 Inclusive States
How do we compute the Education Inclusion Index?
2021 Annual Report to Congress on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Keep up to date (and your comments)
This video shows an excellent example of Proactive Inclusion for a disabled student, in this case an autistic girl. Proactive inclusion is not merely physically including a child in a classroom or other environment, but working to ensure that they are as fully incorporated into the educational, social, and other aspects of the program as possible.
Thaysa from Dan Habib on Vimeo.