Following the Money in Special Ed

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Here's a nice public choice economics moment in action: The Washington Times reports on a new study from the Manhattan Institute that found that special ed enrollments rose faster in states that gave money based on the number of special ed students than in places that gave a lump sum to cover the costs. Sez researcher Jay Greeene:

"It's quite striking that the growth in the states where these financial incentives operate is much higher than the growth in the states where they don't pay in this way."

Striking, yes. And predictable.

Lisa Snell took a long, depressing look in Reason's December issue at how many schools use special ed to cover up their own failures.

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  1. Is it possible to add a link to the Washington Times piece?

  2. D’oh. I’ve put it in the entry and here it is again:

    http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021216-12599304.htm

  3. One of the unintended side effects of the IDEA Act has been sort of a backhanded amount of “choice” in the public school system for parents with special needs children. Districts are almost falling over themselves to allow out of district kids into their settings, if the kids have some sort of special needs. Obviously, this is only true in suburban settings since parents in rural districts really don’t have the option of driving 100 miles each way to take their kids to school.

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