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California among states failing to meet IDEA requirements again

If your child has special needs and should receive tailored education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, you probably know that just because your child should receive educational opportunities doesn't mean he or she is receiving them.

Across California, schools are failing to provide specialized services to students with disabilities. And according to a recent assessment by the U.S. Department of Education, California is one of over two dozen states that have failed to meet IDEA requirements for at least two consecutive years.

As discussed more fully in this article, the ratings are based on multiple factors, including compliance and results data. Compliance data refers to the level at which the state complies with special education laws. 

Results data refers to how disabled students actually perform. To measure this, the Education Department looks at:

  • Drop-out rates for students with disabilities
  • The number of students with disabilities who graduate with a regular diploma
  • How many students with disabilities perform participate in state assessments, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress
  • Scores on the NAEP

Based on this and other data, the Department of Education determines how much assistance each state needs from the federal government.

Because California has failed to meet requirements for two consecutive years, the Education Department must take at least one enforcement action. That could include actions like enforcing requirements for funding or denoting California as a high-risk grantee. 

This information can serve as an important acknowledgment for parents of students with disabilities that many students are not receiving the educational services they deserve. As such, more work is often needed to get students the tools and support to which they are entitled. In some cases, this can involve discussing with an attorney legal options for obtaining and accessing services in an Individualized Education Program.

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