California special ed to get federal intervention

Jun 27, 2014 by

The U.S. Department of Education said Tuesday that California special education programs need federal intervention, citing the lack of significant academic progress for students with special needs. California is one of three states, along with Texas and Delaware, designated for a one-year program of intervention.

The designation comes as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a new accountability system aimed at strongly encouraging states to provide research-proven academic interventions so that children with learning disabilities or speech and language impairments – the vast majority of students in special education – and students with other special needs can excel.

“This is a significant and frankly long-overdue raising of the bar in special education,” Duncan said in a telephone press briefing. The federal intervention will increase monitoring and oversight to ensure the state is meeting the new accountability standards.

Using a new framework called Results-Driven Accountability, the department for the first time is holding states accountable for test scores and other performance indicators for students with special needs. In California, test scores for students with disabilities are generally the lowest of any subgroup. Duncan called the push to include academic measures “a major shift” in how the federal government oversees special education.

If student test scores hadn’t been included in federal evaluations this year, California would have been in compliance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which in prior years was primarily determined by whether states had met procedural requirements for students with special needs, such as timelines for assessments and filing complaints. “Basic compliance does not transform student lives,” Duncan said.

by Education News
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via California special ed to get federal intervention | EdSource.

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