Friday, September 14, 2012

Why transition services are a bit of a mess in many states

From HuffPo (emphases mine)

Special Education Services After High School Uncoordinated, Unmonitored, GAO Finds

... At a recent leadership conference for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Melody Musgrove, director of the U.S Education Department's special education initiatives, said she wants to make services focus on the needs of students rather than the law's technical requirements, according to Education Week. While compliance has been key, the test scores of special ed students haven't improved. So the department decided in March that it would cancel expensive compliance visits to 16 states next school year.

Transitioning out of high school is part of that picture. The current compliance model looks at what students want to do after high school, but not what actually happens. A September 2011 report from the National Center for Special Education Research found that slightly over half of teenagers with disabilities pursued post-secondary education, compared with 62 percent of their peers.

Laura Kaloi, who directs public policy for the National Center for Learning Disabilities said transition planning can help get kids with disabilities on an equal footing with their peers.

As you can tell from the excerpt, the article is a bit choppy. That might just reflect the incoherence of the Federal effort. "Compliance has been key" and "cancel compliance visits"? Looks at what students want to do (play professional soccer) but not what happens (watch TV)?

More importantly, exactly how is any program going to put a young adult with an IQ of 65 on an "equal footing" with someone who has an IQ of 100?

I hope the incoherence is in the journalism, but I fear it's in the policy.

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