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Having Child Evaluated for Learning Disability at EGRPS? Good Luck.

Barriers to Learning Disabilities EligibilityPlanning on having your child evaluated for a specific learning disability in East Grand Rapids Public Schools? The odds are against you. Once again, based on fall 2012 student counts, East Grand Rapids Public Schools has among the lowest specific learning disability identification rates in Michigan.

We analyzed the specific learning disability (SLD) identification rates of all Michigan public school districts with more than 1000 K-12 students (352 districts). While the average (mean) SLD identification rate among these districts was 4.56%, the SLD identification rate of East Grand Rapids Public Schools was only 1.45%. That’s less than 32% of the average identification rate. The numbers show EGR Public Schools identification rate for specific learning disabilities is a full two standard deviations below the mean, a huge statistical difference from similar districts in the state.

Now, we know learning disabilities don’t somehow magically stop at the district borders, as if there is some barrier that prevents learning disabilities from affecting East Grand Rapids residents. So why are the identification rates so low?

This brings up questions as to whether the eligibility criteria for specific learning disabilities for East Grand Rapids Public Schools are substantially different from other districts or from the federal regulations and State rules governing SLD eligibility.

If you’re concerned about the district’s eligibility determination as to whether your child qualifies as having a specific learning disability, the best advice is this: At the meeting discussing the results of your child’s evaluation, have the district sign off on their determination. They need to complete their evaluation within 30 school days (R 340.1721b of MARSE). However, this appears to be their deadline, not yours. Then, without agreeing or disagreeing with their findings, have an independent special education advocate review the district’s findings and eligibility determination. It’s unrealistic to expect parents to review all of the information regarding their child and, in 60-90 minutes, agree or disagree with the information and their findings. It’s not reasonable, and it’s not in the best interest of your child.

The district will want you to sign off on its eligibility determination at the first meeting with you after the evaluation is complete; in fact, they may even tell you you have to agree or disagree at that meeting. Be smart. Thank them for their efforts, and tell them you will review the information and give them your decision once your review is complete. If they refuse to sign their determination until you sign, that’s a problem. They should be confident in their determination, and they need to render their determination in writing within 30 school days from the time you give the district consent to evaluate your child and within 7 school days of the individualized education program team meeting (R 340.1721b of MARSE). If the district doesn’t give you a signed determination within 30 school days and within 7 school days after the meeting, you should file a State Complaint or Due Process Complaint against the district.

If the district does notify you it has determined your child eligible, it appears you have 10 school days within which to give your consent for them to provide services in accordance with the IEP developed by the team (R 340.1721b of MARSE).

What are your thoughts? What has been your experience in evaluations for specific learning disabilities?

Below are the fall 2012 identification rates for specific learning disabilities.

Fall 2012 Identification Rates
for Specific Learning Disabilities

Population: Michigan public school districts with more than 1000 K-12 students (n=352)
Mean 4.56% | Standard Deviation: 1.58%
DistrictFall 2012 Specific
Learning Disabilities
Identification Rate
(All Students)
from Mean
Mean SLD Identification Rate (n=352)4.56%
Novi Community School District1.12%<2.2>
Northville Public Schools1.21%<2.1>
East Grand Rapids Public Schools1.45%<2.0>
DeWitt Public Schools1.52%<1.9>
East Lansing School District1.53%<1.9>
School District of the City of Birmingham1.80%<1.7>
South Lake Schools2.00%<1.6>
Rockford Public Schools2.02%<1.6>
Berkley School District2.04%<1.6>
Berrien Springs Public Schools2.08%<1.6>
Byron Center Public Schools2.10%<1.6>
Vicksburg Community Schools2.14%<1.5>
Grosse Ile Township Schools2.16%<1.5>
Grosse Pointe Public Schools2.22%<1.5>
Ferndale Public Schools2.24%<1.5>
Plymouth-Canton Community Schools2.27%<1.5>
Dearborn City School District2.30%<1.4>
Bath Community Schools2.31%<1.4>
Hartland Consolidated Schools2.32%<1.4>
St. Joseph Public Schools2.36%<1.4>
Gull Lake Community Schools2.40%<1.4>
Armada Area Schools2.42%<1.4>
Blissfield Community Schools2.44%<1.3>
Hopkins Public Schools2.47%<1.3>
Flint, School District of the City of2.52%<1.3>
Ovid-Elsie Area Schools2.54%<1.3>
Allendale Public Schools2.59%<1.2>
Schoolcraft Community Schools2.61%<1.2>
Hudsonville Public School District2.65%<1.2>
Ida Public School District2.67%<1.2>
Mona Shores Public School District2.69%<1.2>
Grand Blanc Community Schools2.71%<1.2>
Ann Arbor Public Schools2.75%<1.1>
Dexter Community School District2.76%<1.1>
Sturgis Public Schools2.78%<1.1>
Hamtramck, School District of the City of2.79%<1.1>
Godwin Heights Public Schools2.80%<1.1>
Parchment School District2.85%<1.1>
Portage Public Schools2.87%<1.1>
Goodrich Area Schools2.88%<1.1>
School District of the City of Royal Oak2.89%<1.1>
Flushing Community Schools2.90%<1.1>
Lakeview Public Schools (Macomb)2.90%<1.0>
Lakeshore School District (Berrien)2.91%<1.0>
Kalkaska Public Schools2.92%<1.0>
Kingsley Area Schools2.93%<1.0>
Warren Consolidated Schools2.94%<1.0>
Ravenna Public Schools2.94%<1.0>
Cheboygan Area Schools2.98%<1.0>
Farmington Public School District3.01%<1.0>
Otsego Public Schools3.02%<1.0>
Mason Consolidated Schools (Monroe)3.05%<1.0>
St. Johns Public Schools3.06%<1.0>
Okemos Public Schools3.06%<0.9>
McBain Rural Agricultural Schools3.09%<0.9>
Bangor Public Schools (Van Buren)3.11%<0.9>
Oxford Community Schools3.11%<0.9>
Fennville Public Schools3.12%<0.9>
Plainwell Community Schools3.14%<0.9>
Allegan Public Schools3.14%<0.9>
Almont Community Schools3.16%<0.9>
Whitehall District Schools3.16%<0.9>
Bendle Public Schools3.17%<0.9>
Houghton-Portage Township School District3.17%<0.9>
Sault Ste. Marie Area Schools3.18%<0.9>
Laingsburg Community Schools3.19%<0.9>
Bedford Public Schools3.20%<0.9>
Troy School District3.21%<0.9>
Riverview Community School District3.21%<0.9>
Thornapple Kellogg School District3.23%<0.8>
Niles Community Schools3.24%<0.8>
Avondale School District3.26%<0.8>
Negaunee Public Schools3.27%<0.8>
Richmond Community Schools3.27%<0.8>
Forest Hills Public Schools3.30%<0.8>
Kalamazoo Public Schools3.32%<0.8>
Williamston Community Schools3.33%<0.8>
Fenton Area Public Schools3.36%<0.8>
Dearborn Heights School District #73.36%<0.8>
Brighton Area Schools3.36%<0.8>
Clare Public Schools3.38%<0.7>
West Ottawa Public School District3.38%<0.7>
Clinton Community Schools3.39%<0.7>
Grand Haven Area Public Schools3.39%<0.7>
Melvindale-North Allen Park Schools3.39%<0.7>
Holland City School District3.39%<0.7>
Crestwood School District3.41%<0.7>
Grandville Public Schools3.41%<0.7>
Livonia Public Schools School District3.41%<0.7>
Spring Lake Public Schools3.41%<0.7>
Portland Public Schools3.42%<0.7>
Elk Rapids Schools3.42%<0.7>
Jenison Public Schools3.45%<0.7>
Olivet Community Schools3.45%<0.7>
Grand Rapids Public Schools3.45%<0.7>
Clio Area School District3.48%<0.7>
Kelloggsville Public Schools3.50%<0.7>
Dundee Community Schools3.52%<0.7>
Godfrey-Lee Public Schools3.53%<0.7>
Reeths-Puffer Schools3.54%<0.6>
Coldwater Community Schools3.54%<0.6>
Traverse City Area Public Schools3.56%<0.6>
Bad Axe Public Schools3.56%<0.6>
Warren Woods Public Schools3.57%<0.6>
Fraser Public Schools3.57%<0.6>
Lake Fenton Community Schools3.59%<0.6>
Mattawan Consolidated School3.60%<0.6>
Davison Community Schools3.61%<0.6>
Tri County Area Schools3.62%<0.6>
Zeeland Public Schools3.63%<0.6>
Oakridge Public Schools3.63%<0.6>
Comstock Park Public Schools3.65%<0.6>
East China School District3.65%<0.6>
Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools3.68%<0.6>
L'Anse Creuse Public Schools3.68%<0.6>
Sandusky Community School District3.72%<0.5>
Clarkston Community School District3.72%<0.5>
Mason County Central Schools3.73%<0.5>
Hazel Park, School District of the City of3.73%<0.5>
Oak Park, School District of the City of3.74%<0.5>
Kentwood Public Schools3.78%<0.5>
Bloomfield Hills Schools3.79%<0.5>
Hillsdale Community Schools3.80%<0.5>
Manchester Community Schools3.82%<0.5>
Manistee Area Public Schools3.83%<0.5>
Buchanan Community Schools3.83%<0.5>
Swartz Creek Community Schools3.84%<0.5>
Woodhaven-Brownstown School District3.85%<0.4>
Hamilton Community Schools3.88%<0.4>
Lake Orion Community Schools3.89%<0.4>
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools3.89%<0.4>
Lowell Area Schools3.91%<0.4>
Wayland Union Schools3.91%<0.4>
Ecorse Public Schools3.93%<0.4>
Saline Area Schools3.94%<0.4>
Clintondale Community Schools3.94%<0.4>
Airport Community Schools3.95%<0.4>
Rochester Community School District3.95%<0.4>
Charlotte Public Schools3.97%<0.4>
Howell Public Schools3.98%<0.4>
Imlay City Community Schools3.99%<0.4>
Coloma Community Schools3.99%<0.4>
St. Louis Public Schools4.00%<0.4>
Chesaning Union Schools4.00%<0.4>
Wyandotte, School District of the City of4.01%<0.3>
Kent City Community Schools4.02%<0.3>
West Bloomfield School District4.02%<0.3>
Brandon School District in the Counties of Oakland and Lapeer4.02%<0.3>
Holt Public Schools4.05%<0.3>
Gaylord Community Schools4.06%<0.3>
Utica Community Schools4.09%<0.3>
Tecumseh Public Schools4.13%<0.3>
Stockbridge Community Schools4.14%<0.3>
Hanover-Horton School District4.15%<0.3>
Frankenmuth School District4.17%<0.2>
Adrian, School District of the City of4.17%<0.2>
Pinckney Community Schools4.20%<0.2>
Caledonia Community Schools4.20%<0.2>
Center Line Public Schools4.20%<0.2>
Northview Public Schools4.22%<0.2>
Romeo Community Schools4.24%<0.2>
Freeland Community School District4.24%<0.2>
Chippewa Valley Schools4.24%<0.2>
Mason Public Schools (Ingham)4.26%<0.2>
Essexville-Hampton Public Schools4.26%<0.2>
Flat Rock Community Schools4.27%<0.2>
Waterford School District4.29%<0.2>
Madison School District (Lenawee)4.30%<0.2>
Central Montcalm Public Schools4.33%<0.1>
Lake Shore Public Schools (Macomb)4.33%<0.1>
Alpena Public Schools4.34%<0.1>
Huron School District4.35%<0.1>
Comstock Public Schools4.36%<0.1>
Allen Park Public Schools4.38%<0.1>
Chelsea School District4.39%<0.1>
Fowlerville Community Schools4.39%<0.1>
Port Huron Area School District4.41%<0.1>
Coopersville Area Public School District4.41%<0.1>
Tawas Area Schools4.42%<0.1>
Three Rivers Community Schools4.43%<0.1>
Onsted Community Schools4.44%<0.1>
Milan Area Schools4.44%<0.1>
Benton Harbor Area Schools4.46%<0.1>
Lake City Area School District4.49%0.0
Saranac Community Schools4.50%0.0
Garden City Public Schools4.51%0.0
Napoleon Community Schools4.51%0.0
Cassopolis Public Schools4.52%0.0
Pennfield Schools4.53%0.0
Kenowa Hills Public Schools4.53%0.0
Lakeview Sch. District (Calhoun)4.53%0.0
Public Schools of Petoskey4.54%0.0
Linden Community Schools4.54%0.0
Public Schools of Calumet4.55%0.0
Fitzgerald Public Schools4.55%0.0
Marysville Public Schools4.57%0.0
Grant Public School District4.59%0.0
Standish-Sterling Community Schools4.60%0.0
Cass City Public Schools4.61%0.0
Watervliet School District4.62%0.0
Western School District4.64%0.0
Sparta Area Schools4.64%0.1
Leslie Public Schools4.66%0.1
Muskegon, Public Schools of the City of4.66%0.1
Birch Run Area Schools4.66%0.1
Haslett Public Schools4.68%0.1
Jackson Public Schools4.68%0.1
Cadillac Area Public Schools4.70%0.1
Paw Paw Public School District4.70%0.1
Maple Valley Schools4.71%0.1
Beecher Community School District4.73%0.1
Newaygo Public School District4.73%0.1
Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools4.75%0.1
Southfield Public School District4.76%0.1
Edwardsburg Public Schools4.76%0.1
Lakeview Community Schools (Montcalm)4.76%0.1
Yale Public Schools4.78%0.1
Hesperia Community Schools4.79%0.1
Trenton Public Schools4.81%0.2
Charlevoix Public Schools4.82%0.2
South Lyon Community Schools4.83%0.2
Saginaw Township Community Schools4.84%0.2
Lapeer Community Schools4.84%0.2
Pine River Area Schools4.86%0.2
Grass Lake Community Schools4.87%0.2
Croswell-Lexington Community Schools4.87%0.2
Brandywine Community Schools4.88%0.2
Anchor Bay School District4.88%0.2
Wyoming Public Schools4.89%0.2
Midland Public Schools4.89%0.2
Lamphere Public Schools4.95%0.2
Pinconning Area Schools4.97%0.3
Algonac Community School District4.99%0.3
Taylor School District5.01%0.3
Benzie County Central Schools5.01%0.3
Lincoln Park, School District of the City of5.05%0.3
Escanaba Area Public Schools5.05%0.3
Holly Area School District5.06%0.3
Fruitport Community Schools5.08%0.3
Huron Valley Schools5.09%0.3
Wayne-Westland Community School District5.10%0.3
Hemlock Public School District5.10%0.3
Fremont Public School District5.15%0.4
Jefferson Schools (Monroe)5.26%0.4
Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools5.30%0.5
Cedar Springs Public Schools5.30%0.5
Lakewood Public Schools5.30%0.5
Constantine Public School District5.37%0.5
Menominee Area Public Schools5.37%0.5
Van Buren Public Schools5.38%0.5
Lansing Public School District5.40%0.5
New Haven Community Schools5.41%0.5
Vandercook Lake Public Schools5.41%0.5
Dowagiac Union School District5.42%0.5
Eaton Rapids Public Schools5.43%0.5
Alma Public Schools5.43%0.5
Gladstone Area Schools5.44%0.6
Montague Area Public Schools5.44%0.6
Southgate Community School District5.46%0.6
Belding Area School District5.49%0.6
Mt. Pleasant City School District5.49%0.6
Bullock Creek School District5.49%0.6
Hastings Area School District5.50%0.6
North Branch Area Schools5.50%0.6
Greenville Public Schools5.51%0.6
Boyne City Public Schools5.53%0.6
Meridian Public Schools5.54%0.6
Waverly Community Schools5.54%0.6
Farwell Area Schools5.57%0.6
Jonesville Community Schools5.57%0.6
Grand Ledge Public Schools5.58%0.6
Union City Community Schools5.58%0.6
South Redford School District5.58%0.6
Ludington Area School District5.59%0.6
West Branch-Rose City Area Schools5.59%0.7
Clawson Public Schools5.60%0.7
Romulus Community Schools5.61%0.7
Owosso Public Schools5.62%0.7
School District of Ypsilanti5.64%0.7
Harper Woods, The School District of the City of5.65%0.7
Kearsley Community School District5.66%0.7
Monroe Public Schools5.66%0.7
Gibraltar School District5.71%0.7
Detroit City School District5.71%0.7
Saginaw, School District of the City of5.73%0.7
Pontiac City School District5.74%0.7
Millington Community Schools5.76%0.8
St. Charles Community Schools5.78%0.8
Delton Kellogg Schools5.80%0.8
Battle Creek Public Schools5.81%0.8
Durand Area Schools5.82%0.8
NICE Community School District5.87%0.8
Iron Mountain Public Schools5.91%0.9
Swan Valley School District5.91%0.9
Whitmore Lake Public School District5.97%0.9
South Haven Public Schools5.99%0.9
Clarenceville School District6.00%0.9
Byron Area Schools6.01%0.9
Ionia Public Schools6.02%0.9
Corunna Public Schools6.07%1.0
LakeVille Community School District6.12%1.0
School District of the City of Inkster6.14%1.0
Ithaca Public Schools6.17%1.0
Montrose Community Schools6.18%1.0
Marquette Area Public Schools6.19%1.0
White Cloud Public Schools6.23%1.1
Harper Creek Community Schools6.25%1.1
Shepherd Public Schools6.25%1.1
Van Dyke Public Schools6.32%1.1
Reed City Area Public Schools6.36%1.1
Gladwin Community Schools6.41%1.2
Marshall Public Schools6.43%1.2
Bangor Township Schools6.44%1.2
Willow Run Community Schools6.46%1.2
Caro Community Schools6.50%1.2
Chippewa Hills School District6.50%1.2
Roseville Community Schools6.55%1.3
Northwest Community Schools6.56%1.3
Madison District Public Schools6.70%1.4
Redford Union Schools, District No. 16.73%1.4
Bloomingdale Public School District6.87%1.5
Homer Community School District6.94%1.5
Westwood Community School District7.01%1.5
Mount Clemens Community School District7.03%1.6
Big Rapids Public Schools7.10%1.6
Michigan Center School District7.14%1.6
Crawford AuSable Schools7.16%1.6
Capac Community Schools7.16%1.6
Columbia School District7.26%1.7
Hartford Public Schools7.27%1.7
Harrison Community Schools7.27%1.7
Morley Stanwood Community Schools7.35%1.8
Hart Public School District7.48%1.8
Gwinn Area Community Schools7.56%1.9
Springport Public Schools7.59%1.9
Shelby Public Schools7.65%2.0
Houghton Lake Community Schools7.69%2.0
Lincoln Consolidated School District7.75%2.0
Orchard View Schools7.81%2.1
Bay City School District7.82%2.1
Perry Public Schools7.86%2.1
River Rouge, School District of the City of8.09%2.2
Oscoda Area Schools8.15%2.3
Carrollton Public Schools8.30%2.4
Beaverton Rural Schools8.45%2.5
East Detroit Public Schools8.53%2.5
East Jackson Community Schools8.64%2.6
Roscommon Area Public Schools8.76%2.7
Breitung Township School District9.30%3.0
Bridgeport-Spaulding Community School District9.58%3.2
Vassar Public Schools10.38%3.7
Education Achievement System-EAS10.52%3.8

Omitted Districts

  • Bronson Community Schools was omitted from the above above analysis because of likely errors in its special education reporting. Its special education counts for fall 2009, 2010, and 2011 were 121, 112, and 93, respectively. In fall 2012, Bronson Community Schools apparently reported only 23 K-12 special education students, a decrease of 75% from the prior year. It is unlikely a decrease of this magnitude is accurate, and the reported number of 23 special education students in fall 2012 is likely an error, given the historical identification rates of the district.
  • Quincy Community Schools was omitted from the above above analysis because of likely errors in its special education reporting. Its special education counts for fall 2009, 2010, and 2011 were 122, 127, and 121, respectively. In fall 2012, Quincy Community Schools apparently reported only 59 K-12 special education students, a decrease of 51% from the prior year. It is unlikely a decrease of this magnitude is accurate, and the reported number of 59 special education students in fall 2012 is likely an error, given the historical identification rates of the district. However, even with the likely errors in overall reporting, Quincy Community Schools shows an SLD identification rate of 2.6%, 1.4 standard deviations below the mean.


  • District Identification Rate All Students: Michigan Student Data System (MSDS) Special Education – Oct 3. Count Public Data via CEPI
  • District K-12 Fall Count: Public Student Counts (Headcount Data) Fall 1012, via CEPI
  • Standard deviations and standard deviations from mean were calculated based on the above data

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