The Education Department issues intervention notices to California, Texas and Delaware, citing a lack of significant academic progress for students with special needs and designating all three states for a special one-year program of federal intercession.
The designation comes as ED Secy. Arne Duncan announces a new accountability system aimed at strongly encouraging states to provide research-proven academic interventions to help children with learning disabilities or speech and language impairments. Previously, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) focus was to determine whether states were meeting procedural requirements such as timelines for evaluations. The new priorities are on student achievement.
California was cited for federal intervention based on factors that included the proficiency gap between children with disabilities and all children on statewide assessments and the poor performance of children with disabilities on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, ED said in a letter to state Ed Superintendent Tom Torlakson.
California officials said that they are working with ED to resolve the issues. ED also said the California Health and Human Services Agency Department will receive four years of federal intervention to improve the early identification of infants and toddlers with disabilities and enhance programs to assist young children in meeting developmental goals.
New Grants Competition
To help states improve outcomes for students with special needs, ED has launched an $8.8 million grants competition for creation of an IDEA technical-assistance center. The center will help increase use of evidence-based practices for teaching reading, math and other subjects to students with a range of learning, physical and/or emotional disabilities. That deadline is Aug. 18.