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Positive strides are being made in special education

We frequently write about many of the challenges that students with special needs and parents of those children face in the pursuit of a proper education. Thankfully, not all news regarding the state of special education in America is challenging. Several positive strides have been made recently towards the goal of ensuring a proper education for children with special educational needs.

First, academic studies have been supporting the conclusion that many special needs students significantly benefit from learning primarily within a mainstream setting. For example, a 2014 study authored by experts at Ohio State University concludes that special needs and disabled preschoolers learn more broadly and effectively if they spend at least some of their educational hours within a mainstream setting. This study and others like it will almost certainly aid parents, teachers, administrators and education attorneys in arguing for more mainstream access for special needs students.

Second, the federal Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights is currently making efforts to clarify protections for special needs students in an anti-bullying context. Efforts made last year have helped to clarify that anti-bullying protections extend to basically all students who are entitled to special education services as governed by numerous federal laws.

Finally, the U.S. Department of Education is currently working to revise and refine the ways that it evaluates state performance tied to meeting the needs of special education students. This shift in evaluation criteria will ultimately ensure that special education is held to higher standards than ever before. And that is a most welcome shift in policy as it is designed to directly benefit students with special needs.

Source: The Huffington Post, “3 Big Wins for Special Education in 2014,” Matthew Lynch, Jan. 5, 2015

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