Virginia's public schools earn top rating for special education

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- For the seventh year in a row, Virginia has earned the highest rating for improving outcomes for students with disabilities and for compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The U.S. Department of Education gave Virginia the "meets requirements" designation on its 2019 IDEA report card.

According to a release, the Commonwealth earned the maximum number of possible points on all ten compliance indicators and 13 of 14 achievement-related indicators. Virginia's total score, based on data from the 2016-2017 school year, was 95.83.

"A key measure of the quality of a state's public schools is found in the supports and services provided for students with disabilities and in outcomes for these students," said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. "I congratulate Virginia's special educators, including teachers, administrators and support services professionals, for their commitment to equity for students with disabilities and the passion they show every day for helping every student achieve his or her fullest potential."

The annual report card scores states on the participation and performance of students with disabilities on state and national tests for reading and math as well as the success of states in improving graduation rates for this subset of students.

It also including information related to discipline, the identification of minority students for special education services, evaluating students for services and the development of individual education programs, and the resolution of disputes between parents and local school divisions.

Of the 60 state, territorial and federal school systems evaluated, 20 received the highest designation.

Meanwhile, 37 others were classified as needing assistance from the U.S. DOE, and three systems were identified as needing federal intervention to improve services and outcomes for students with disabilities.

The IDEA Act was reauthorized in 2004 and requires states and school divisions to ensure that children with disabilities get the education services they need to meet their educational needs and prepare them for the future.

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