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Feds: California no longer ‘needs intervention’ on special education

Craig Clough | July 9, 2015

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SpecialEdAfter receiving one of the worst rankings over four years, California moved up a notch this year in the federal government’s evaluation of its special education efforts.

As one of three states in 2014 that received a “needs intervention” ranking in special education from the U.S. Department of Education, California this year jumped one level, to “needs assistance.”

The report, which has been issued every year since 2004, ranks states on how well they meet certain criteria of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This year’s rankings are based on 2013-14 data. Last year was also the first that used more stringent requirements, including performance on standardized tests.

Nineteen states this year earned the highest ranking, “meets requirements.” California and 29 other states received the “needs assistance” ranking, down from 32 last year. Texas and the District of Columbia remain in the “needs intervention” category. No state has ever receiving the lowest “needs special intervention” category, according to Ed Week.

The rankings come with potential consequences. For example, if a state “needs intervention” for three consecutive years, the Department of Education must take one or more enforcement actions, which could include requiring a corrective action plan or compliance agreement, or withholding further federal payments to the state.

The feds have so far only released this years rankings, and not individual reports on where states are achieving or failing, but they are expected later this month. The report comes in the form of a letter to each state’s superintendent of education.

Last year, California was dinged for a proficiency gap between children with disabilities and all children in the state, as well the poor performance of children with disabilities on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test.


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