The U.S. Education Department said it will boost oversight of special education to improve the academic success of students with disabilities.
Only 15 states meet the new special-education requirements, which track academic progress as well as compliance, the department said today in a statement. California, Texas and the District of Columbia need intervention to provide adequate services, the department said.
While special-needs students are more likely to participate in mainstream classrooms than they were decades ago, they still lag behind their peers in reading and math and in graduation rates. Previously, the department focused on compliance with procedural requirements such as timelines for evaluations and due process hearings for about 6.5 million children in the U.S. with disabilities.
“Every child, regardless of income, race, background or disability, can succeed if provided the opportunity to learn,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in the statement. “We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to the general curriculum in the regular classroom, they excel.”