Testing declines for Denver students with learning disabilities
Evaluations for students with disabilities have plummeted throughout the pandemic, raising concerns that children aren't getting the help they need.
Why it matters: If kids aren't tested in a "timely manner," they can fall behind, lowering their self-esteem, our education reporting partners at Chalkbeat report.
Driving the news: The number of initial evaluations for special education services among Denver Public Schools students ages 3-21 fell by more than a third between the 2018-19 academic year and the pandemic-interrupted 2019-20. The figure remained low the following year.
- Initial evaluations fell statewide by about 15% and have yet to recover. That means 4,200 fewer children across Colorado were evaluated in 2019-20 than the year prior.
What's happening: District administrators and special education teachers cite a host of challenges: staffing shortages, increased paperwork, new demands related to remote learning, and a hesitation to designate kids as having learning disabilities when they may be suffering the effects of remote learning and pandemic-related family trauma instead.
The big picture: It's not just a Colorado issue. Districts across the country, including those in Chicago and New York City, have experienced a decrease in students getting referred or evaluated for special education services.
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