Report shows Virginia special education students aren’t getting the services they need

Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WDVM) — On Monday, the Superintendent of the Virginia Department of Education announced a new approach to support students with disabilities by monitoring school divisions for compliance with federal and state special education laws.

This announcement comes after a two-year study completed by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to examine special education services in Virginia public schools statewide.

The study found many issues in school districts, including special education students not receiving the services they need, and their educators not having the proper training to teach and support them.

In one finding, JLARC asked special education directors if teachers in their division had skills to teach disabled students. The directors felt that half or fewer general education teachers in their district were equipped to teach and support special education students.

After JLARC’s presentation, Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane responded to the findings, “We are absolutely committed to making the enhancements in this report. We have been waiting for some time for this report so that we could begin enacting new policies at the DOE.”

Lane said the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) previously took a needs-based approach to issues with special education compliance in schools, and then stated, “It’s clear from this JLARC report we need to be working in every school division and we’re going to do that.”

VDOE plans to announce more improvements and reforms next year as they implement additional recommendations from JLARC, according to a release.

To read the full report from JLARC, click here.

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