On Friday, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) announced that it will revamp IDEA’s compliance system to better emphasize student outcomes, such as academic performance and graduation rates for students with disabilities.
CEC along with others in special education have argued that the current system, known as the State Performance Plans/Annual Performance Report focuses too much on procedural requirements and not enough on student outcomes. The current system is comprised of 20 indicators that states and local school districts must track and report to the federal government. CEC has been engaging in a process with other organizations and the U.S. Department of Education to streamline this process, recognizing the paperwork burden it has on educators and administrators while still focusing on upholding rights of children and youth with disabilities. While this work continues, the Department noted that streamlining these indicators still may not result in having a system that emphasizes student outcomes. For this reason, the Department has decided to overhaul the system.
“For too long we've been a compliance-driven bureaucracy when it comes to educating students with disabilities," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We have to expect the very best from our students—and tell the truth about student performance—so that we can give all students the supports and services they need. The best way to do that is by focusing on results," Duncan said.
The Department will solicit feedback from stakeholder on the development of this new system. As a result of this shift, the Department also announced that it will suspend verification visits to states for the 2012-2013 school year. CEC will continue to provide updates as the process unfolds.