As the educational needs of the student population have grown more diverse, educators have responded by creating specialized programs to serve students. For purposes of this report, we will examine private-sector educational programs for the following three student groups.1 Because students may fall under more than one category, considerable overlap exists among the programs serving difficult-to-educate students. For example, many programs serving adjudicated youth also provide special education because a large portion of juvenile offenders have been identified with learning and emotional disabilities (see Figure 1). The three groups examined in this study are

  • students with disabilities, including students with mental, physical, emotional, and learning disabilities;

  • students demonstrating at-risk behavior, including dropouts, expelled students, teen parents, substance abusers, homeless youth, and students with poor academic performance; and

  • adjudicated youth, including juveniles who have committed offenses against individuals, property, and the public order. This category also includes status offenders such as truants, runaways, and underage drinkers, and violators of drug laws.