Reducing Special Education (SPED) paperwork for SPED teachers was a focus of a series of presentations to the Senate E-12 Education Policy Committee. The effort is designed to increase the time teachers are directly instructing students.

“The goal is not to reduce the services to kids, but to make kids the focus of the services they receive,” Senate E-12 Education Policy Chair Eric Pratt said

While this separate E-12 Education Policy Committee will not be a committee in the 2019-‘20 Senate, instead there will be one E-12 Education Policy and Finance Committee, Chair Pratt led four hearings and allowed testifiers sufficient time to explore this complex issue from a variety of perspectives.

In separate testimony, two school districts, Anoka-Hennepin, and New Ulm, independently reported on studies they conducted on the use of time for their regular education staff and their special education staff.  They both concluded:

  • Regular education teachers spent roughly 80 percent of the time in direct instruction with students.
  • Special education teachers directly instructed students only 50 percent of the time.
  • Paperwork, meetings, and communications absorbed the other 50 percent of their special education teachers’ time.
  • That 30 percent difference is nearly 11 weeks of instruction every year.

IEP Process

Jamie Nord, St. Croix River Ed District (SCRED*) Director and Nicole Woodward, Director of Special Education for SCRED, in September reviewed the steps in Identification and IEP Process in a comparison of two students to demonstrate the effectiveness of effective pre-interventions to prevent special education identification.

Immediately following the SCRED presentation, Don McNeil, a parent and lawyer working with PACER, gave a history of recent efforts to reduce requirements, the results, and difficulties in such efforts.

View all documents from Sept. 15 Hearing

View video of Sept. 25, Committee meeting

Reducing Paperwork

On Nov. 1, Jeff Bertang, Superintendent, and Irina Soboleva, SPED Director, of New Ulm Public Schools* highlight six specific paperwork requirements that if modified can reduce the time SPED teachers spend on paper work and increase their time in direct instruction with students. View SPED Paperwork Reduction presentation.

In the November hearing, leaders also discussed the effect of open enrollment and charter schools, with  a variety of testifiers and data.

View handouts from Nov. 1 Hearing

View video of Nov. 1 Committee meeting  (unfortunately the video picks up the Q and A for New Ulm, not the initial presentation)

Learn more on the two hearings during the summer of 2018

*MREA Members