Michigan special education students lag behind children with disabilities in other states and the system is badly underfunded, forcing schools to divert nearly $700 million annually from their operating budgets to fill the shortfall.
That's the main takeaway from a new report issued this past week at the request of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. The study says Michigan should do more to improve special education funding systems and programs.
About 13 percent of the state's 1.5 million public students receive special education services.
The experts say Michigan is unique in not allocating a state earmark for special education from birth to age 3, despite research showing early intervention in the first 1,000 days of life is an effective strategy to help young children with delays and disabilities.
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