Friday, June 27, 2014

Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses -

Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses - Fewer than a third of states and territories now comply with federal disability law under a change announced Tuesday in the way the Department of Education evaluates how well public schools educate students with disabilities.

Under the old system, nearly three-quarters of states and territories met the standards.

Until recently, the Education Department looked at requirements such as whether school districts had filed the appropriate paperwork or met timelines for the 6.5 million children who qualify for special education services under federal law. Now the department will compare the test scores of students with disabilities with those of students not designated as having special needs.

Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, said the shift was driven by the fact that far too few students with disabilities were reaching academic proficiency benchmarks. “In too many states the outcomes for students with disabilities are simply too low,” Mr. Duncan said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “We can and we must do better.”