In “City Pushes Shift for Special Education,” New York Times reporter Jennifer Medina made the same mistake that many reporters before her have made. She used “learning disabilities” as a synonym for “students with disabilities.” I wonder what Ms. Medina’s editor thinks the term “learning disabilities” means.
Here’s a snippet from the article, showing how Ms. Medina lumps autism in with Learning Disabilities:
Enrollment in special education programs has climbed to some 177,000 students, or more than 17 percent of the system, up from roughly 13 percent in 2003. Experts in special education say it is difficult to know what has caused the increase. Theories include better identification of students with learning disabilities, particularly autism….
If readers read the entire story—which is interesting in its own right, despite the error in reporting—they’ll see the mistake in the lede, too. It’s the first time I’ve gotten to use the “Not LD” category in quite a while.