Stop the inclusion of the permissive use of Pay for Success in the ESEA reauthorization.
As we just passed its 40th birthday, special education faces perhaps its greatest threat since the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA), now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), was signed into law.
The new No Child Left Behind bill, S. 1177, as reported by the Conference Committee between the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House includes the permissive use of Federal funds by States and by local school districts of Pay for Success.
Title I, Part D
‘‘(A) may include—
‘‘(i) the acquisition of equipment;
‘‘(ii) pay-for-success initiatives;”
Funded by Goldman Sachs, Pay for Success in Utah denied special education to over 99 percent of the students that were in the early childhood Pay for Success program.
Goldman Sachs has received a first payment of over $250,000 based on over 99 percent of students NOT being identified for special education.
Based on these results, Goldman Sachs may receive an over 100 percent return on its investment as it will receive yearly payments based on students continuing to NOT be identified for special education (multiple yearly payments for one student).
“If special education is reduced to less than 1 percent of students, for all practical purposes it will cease to exist,” says Bev Johns, Chair of the Illinois Special Education Coalition.
Goldman Sachs has also funded a Pay for Success program for the Chicago Public Schools based on paying Goldman $9,100 for each student, each year NOT identified for special education, but results for Chicago from that program are not yet available.
“Success is not the elimination of special education. Success is not failing to identify students as needing the specialized and individualized instruction required by IDEA,” states Johns.
“We simply cannot expect the general education teacher to do it all, to know it all, and to achieve academic excellence for each and every student,” says Johns.
“Pretending we can eliminate disability, pretending that almost every student with a disability and their parents will benefit WITHOUT the legal rights of IDEA which are only granted when a student is identified for special education, is to turn us back over 40 years to the time before we had State laws and then the Federal law requiring special education for each and every student with a disability,” states Johns.
Although Illinois Senator Mark Kirk was a member of the Conference Committee, he was not willing to take any action on Pay for Success, despite being contacted by hundreds of Illinois parents and teachers.
His staff person for ESEA left a telephone message saying Sen. Kirk wanted a “clean bill.”
It is possible that is also in other parts of the 1,059 page S. 1177. The section quoted above is in SEC. 1020 of S. 1177, PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH WHO ARE NEGLECTED, DELINQUENT, AT-RISK which amends Part D of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Section 1415.