Nancy Zuckerbrod, Associated
Press, June 20, 2007
Four-fifths of the states are falling short of federal
requirements for educating students with disabilities, the
Education Department says.
The states got their first-ever federal report cards this week
judging them on how well they are implementing the nation's main
special education law. The state-by-state results were posted on
the Education Department's Web site Wednesday.
The requirements are outlined in the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act, as the law is called. The largest
part of the act is a $10.5 billion program providing students
aged 3 to 21 with specialized programs to fit their educational
Only nine states were found to be fully meeting the requirements
of that part of the program. Those states are: Alaska,
Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee,
Virginia and Wyoming.
The rest of the states were labeled as “needs assistance” or,
worse, “needs intervention.” If they don't improve within a few
years, they could face sanctions such as the loss of federal
One common trouble spot for states was ensuring that students
with disabilities have a smooth transition from the public
school setting to college or into the work force. The law says
16-year-old special-ed students are supposed to receive help
developing plans for life after public school. Much more thought
and work needs to go into those plans, according to the
Another weak spot is state oversight regarding how well local
school districts' are complying with the special-ed law.
The reviews are based on information the states submitted to the
federal government as well as monitoring visits and other
publicly available data, according to the Education Department.
The states also were judged on a smaller part of the
special-education law that involves services provided to infants
and toddlers with disabilities. More states were judged to be
meeting the requirements of the law in this category.
On the Net:
Letters to states:
Education Department fact sheet:
back to the top ~
back to Breaking News
~ back to