News articles interest for the MAC community.
Less than half of the 50 states in America meet their obligations to disabled students under the IDEA. The annual U.S. DOE review found only 22 states met IDEA standards, whereas last year 24 states met those standards. Those states are Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. All other states fell into the “needs assistance” category.
Betsy DeVos, current head of the Department of Education, presented hew views on special education at the OSEP Leadership Conference, emphasizing the most recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. Special education must give more than minimal services and have the options that all families have, she said. “Parents of children with disabilities know best. They should be the ones to decide where and how their children are educated”.
40% of all school-age children in special education are classified as LD. The National Assessment of Educational Progress noted that students with LD get worse scores than students with disabilities overall. For example, in 4th grade reading, 69% with any disability scored “below basic” compared to a score of 85% of students with LD. For students without disability, the score was 27%.
Parents who accept vouchers must inquire as to whether or not they are giving up their rights under IDEA. They appear to lose most of the rights guaranteed to them under IDEA. Public schools sometimes transfer children they cannot serve into voucher programs because of the drain on their budgets. Private school choice options that require waiver of IDEA rights are in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin. In addition to loss of rights, parents may be responsible for any additional fees a private school charges that are not covered by the voucher. In addition, students with behavior problems can be suspended and not asked to return. Parents are largely unaware that their children are not protected by state or federal law in these programs.