Remedial Ed–Little Bang for the Buck

Published February 1, 1999

Despite congressionally funded assessments documenting that the two programs have been failures from the beginning, some 1.2 million Title I and Special Education teachers, aides, and professional supporters are providing remedial reading, math, and language arts lessons to 16 million allegedly disadvantaged and disabled students–36 percent of the nation’s 45 million public school students.

Title I Growth Since 1988

  • Spending has increased from $4 billion in 1988 to about $10 billion today–largely paid with federal tax dollars.
  • Enrollment has more than doubled, from 5 million to 10.5 million.
  • The number of teachers and support staff has also more than doubled, from 150,000 to an estimated 350,000.
  • The number of participating schools has grown from 2,773 in 1993, to 14,000 in 1997, to an estimated 16,000 in 1998.
  • Nearly 20 percent of the nation’s public schools are now “school-wide Title I schools” whose curriculum is controlled by federal administrators.

Special Ed Growth Since 1988

  • Spending has tripled, from $19 billion in 1988 to an estimated $55 million in 1998–largely paid by state and local tax dollars.
  • Enrollment is up, from 4.3 million to 5.5 million–but only 1 million special ed students have physical or mental handicaps.
  • The number of Special Ed employees has increased from 500,000 in 1988 to and estimated 850,000 in 1998.