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Our Kids Deserve Better

Playing with the Numbers

A couple weeks ago, we had a post that showed East Grand Rapids Schools, in the first five years of the Shubel Administration, slashed the percentage of K-12 special ed kids 45% to the lowest level of any public K-12 district in the state, 5.38%. The numbers show 291 K-12 special ed kids in the year ended 2006 and 160 in the year ended 2011. The K-12 total student count for both of these years is 2,974.

Playing with the Numbers

If you talk to someone at the District, they may likely tell you they had more than 160 special ed kids in the year ended 2011, and more than 291 in the year ended 2006. They may also tell you that their special education percentage for the year ended 2011 was not 5.38%, but rather 6.29%. That’s because they’re not comparing apples to apples. If you’re going to play with the numbers, you have to make sure you’re comparing similar information.

Comparing Apples to Apples

It’s important to know what’s going on at the K-12 level, and to isolate those figures from other special education figures.

EGRPS runs an Early Childhood program. A special education program for kids who are younger than school-age. One hundred percent of the kids in the Early Childhood program are special education kids. Including Early Childhood special ed kids skews East’s numbers significantly.

The majority of districts don’t have an Early Childhood program. Rather, these districts may refer Early Childhood kids to their ISD, which may run a regional Early Childhood program. In doing so, those districts would not reflect any Early Childhood kids in their special ed counts.

That’s why our comparative analysis of the public districts in Michigan only looks at what’s happening at K-12 level. We want to make sure we’re comparing all Michigan public school districts on an equal basis.

Here’s the data for EGRPS. That way, if you call the District or get a letter from them trying to explain things, you’ll know the difference between an apple and an orange.

2006 Special
Ed Count
2011 Special
Ed Count
2011 Total
Head Count
2011 Special
Ed Percentage
Change
in SE %
K-1229116029745.38%<45.0%>
Early Childhood262929100%11.5%
K-12 + EC31718930036.29%<40.5%>
FYI, here’s the data for the year ended 2012:
2012 Special
Ed Count
2012 Total
Head Count
2012 Special
Ed Percentage
K-1216429845.50%
Early Childhood1414100%
K-12 + EC17829985.93%
Data Sources

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