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Last Updated: 03/12/2018


Education Department Says States Aren't Meeting Special-ed Law's Requirements

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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 needs.

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 aid.

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 department.

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:


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