Arne Duncan announced that, shockingly, students with disabilities do poorly in school. They perform below level in both English and math. No, there aren't any qualifiers attached to that. Arne is bothered that students with very low IQs, students with low function, students who have processing problems, students who have any number of impairments-- these students are performing below grade level.
"We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel," Duncan said. (per NPR coverage)
And I'm pretty sure we don't know any such thing. I'm pretty sure that the special needs students in schools across the country are special needs precisely because they have trouble meeting the usual expectations.
And yet, Duncan said, most states are doing exactly what the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has required until now. School districts are required to create an "individualized education plan," or IEP, tailored to a student's needs.
School officials must show that these children are getting instructional support in a timely manner and that they have full access to the curriculum and everything else that goes on in school.
Under the new guidelines, Duncan says he'll require proof that these kids aren't just being served but are actually making academic progress.
Um aren''t just being served but are actually making academic progress, I guess my magic wand and fairy dust will be arriving any moment now.