Originally Posted by YelloJeep
More specifically, I believe RedJeep is referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted around 1990 which did increase the expenses for pretty much everyone (including schools) to accomodate the needs of those with disabilities.
(Not saying it is a bad thing...)
well beyond simple facilities needs, if for example a deaf student is attending classes you cannot send them to a single school in the area, each school must then hire someone to perform sign language.
Same for mentally handicapped students, they are moved through the grades even though mentally they may still be at a elementary school level but each locations still needs all the special needs teachers/equipment etc which can get quite expensive to have student teacher ratios of 6 to 1 or often even lower for those students.
not bashing the special education system or those that need it, just saying if you look at numbers over the past ~30 years and do not account for those additional needs then your comparison is pointless as throwing money into a few students for special needs is not going to improve the overall scores for the school system