The U.S. Department of Education announced that it will change the way it assesses whether states are meeting the needs of students with disabilities. The department will begin using test scores, graduation rates and other academic information to measure states’ special education performance. The previous system focused on procedural standards, including timelines for due process hearings and evaluations.
According to the department, a change was needed because students with disabilities had lower math and reading scores and lower graduation rates than their peers. Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, said that when special education students are held to high standards, they can excel.
Under the new standards, states that fail to meet certain benchmarks for more than two years could lose some federal funding.
The new standards would be much more stringent. Last year, when the department measured performance by compliance with procedural standards, a total of 41 states and territories were able to meet requirements. This year, when the department included data on student performance, only 18 states and territories met requirements.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the department to classify states annually as either meeting requirements, needing assistance, needing intervention or needing substantial intervention.
Under the new Results-Driven Accountability standards, New York State was classified as needing assistance, based on data from 2012-2013.
Littman Krooks assists special needs students and their parents with our special education advocacy services. Visit our website, www.specialneedsnewyork.com to learn more.