Federal education officials are looking to reshape the way they evaluate each state’s compliance with special education law to put a heavier focus on student performance.
The U.S. Department of Education reviews how well states perform under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act annually, determining whether the state “meets requirements,” “needs assistance,” “needs intervention” or “needs substantial intervention.”
The evaluations take into account a variety of factors including dropout and graduation rates, whether or not students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended or representative of certain racial groups and post-high school outcomes.
Now, in a new proposal, the Education Department says it plans to make changes to the way compliance is assessed.
The existing system is “heavily focused on compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, with limited focus on how the requirements (impact) results for students with disabilities,” the department indicated.
Under the proposal — which is up for public comment through June 14 — the agency said it plans to balance “the focus on improved educational results and functional outcomes for students with disabilities while considering compliance as it relates to those results and outcomes.”