From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

State task force begins looking at special education teacher caseload

Posted by: Kim McGuire Updated: September 24, 2013 - 12:08 PM

A newly appointed state task force is set to begin examining the number of special education students assigned to Minnesota teachers.

The task force, which is made up of special education directors, parents and disability advocates, will convene Tuesday to begin examining special education teachers' caseload. Caseload refers to the number of special education students assigned to a teacher and the ensuing paperwork.

State and federal law requires teams of teachers to evaluate students, come up with an individualized education plan, write regular progress and incident reports, and routinely update those plans.

Special education teachers have long complained that many of the state paperwork requirements are excessive, going beyond what federal law requires.

Disability advocates, however, counter that paperwork helps to hold schools accountable for properly educating students with special needs.

The Minnesota Department of Education has adopted several initiatives aimed at reducing special education paperwork, but department officials have conceded that those efforts don't do much to help the average teacher.

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