Tennessee Education Officials Back Federal Special-Education Overhaul

Jun 25, 2014

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American special-needs students are performing much lower academically than their peers. Tennessee education officials are throwing their weight behind a new federal overhaul for special education programs.

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan unveiled the overhaul yesterday. The plan would keep goals like meeting timelines for evaluations, due-process hearings, and transitioning children into preschool.

But the Tennessean newspaper reports education officials want to add reviews of special-education student participation in state assessments, proficiency gaps among students with disabilities and other students, and reading and math performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Fewer than 10 percent of 8th-graders with disabilities got proficient marks last year in NAEP reading tests.

Secretary Duncan says Tennessee is not among the states meeting benchmarks, but it is the fastest-improving state in virtually every measure.