Each year, states must report to the U.S. Department of Education regarding their progress in providing special education services. This allows the Department of Education to evaluate how well states comply with and implement the elements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The 2020 report determined that several states failed to meet the standards IDEA establishes.
Annual report finds more than half of states need assistance under IDEA
According to the recent report from the Department of Education:
- Only 21 states meet the requirements of IDEA;
- 27 states and Washington D.C. need assistance to meet the requirements; and
- Two states need intervention.
While no state received a score of “needs substantial intervention,” the findings indicate that many states are falling short when it comes to special education services.
What does this mean?
The findings of this report mean that 27 states – including California – are not doing everything they should under IDEA, and they require assistance to do so. This could mean that public schools require assistance in fulfilling their responsibilities and upholding the six pillars of IDEA, which include:
- Ensuring students receive a free and appropriate education;
- Providing proper evaluation of students with disabilities;
- Establishing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs);
- Providing the least restrictive environment for children to learn;
- Protecting parents’ rights to participate in the IEP and the placement of their children; and
- Establishing IDEA’s safeguards to protect students’ and parents’ rights.
The Department of Education has yet to release the individual findings for each state, but California’s rating under the annual report means the state will need assistance in upholding one or more of these responsibilities.
Should California parents be worried?
Parents of students with disabilities might be concerned about the findings of this report. However, there is not necessarily reason to worry.
The annual evaluation is a good thing. And the point of the evaluation is to ensure public schools get the assistance they need to meet the requirements of IDEA – and therefore students’ needs. As long as parents understand their rights, their child’s rights and how to protect them, then they can take steps to ensure their child receives the education they need – regardless of the annual report.