Michigan the only state that 'needs intervention' with special ed programs, feds say

Michigan the only state that 'needs intervention' with special ed programs, feds say
Posted at 1:17 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 13:45:13-04

The State of Michigan is the only state that "needs intervention" with special education programs after failing to meet federal requirements, according to a federal report dated earlier this month.

The report from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services took a look at how states were doing with implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for the 2016-17 school year.

The determinations were broken down into two parts: IDEA Part B serves students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21, while IDEA Part C serves infants and toddlers birth through age 2.

According to the report, Michigan is the only state in the U.S. that "needs intervention" for Part B programs. Other places the report said also need intervention include the District of Columbia, Palau and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. For Part C, the state meets requirements.

Thirteen percent of students in the state are in special needs programs, according to the MI School Data website. Of those, 97.21 percent fall into the age rage for IDEA Part B, which is equal to 201,558 students.

2018 determination letters on state implementation of IDEA by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

If a state is in the "needs intervention" category for three consecutive years, the Education Department "must take one or more enforcement actions, including among others, requiring a corrective action plan or compliance agreement, or withholding further payments to the state."

A letter from Ruth E. Ryder, the acting director of the Office of Special Education Programs, was sent June 28 to State Interim Superintendent Sheila Alles, advising Alles of the "needs intervention" classification for IDEA Part B programs.

"OSEP appreciates the State's efforts to improve results for children and youth with disabilities and looks forward to working with your State over the next year as we continue our important work of improving the lives of children with disabilities and their families," the letter reads.

According to a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education, the department is still looking over and analyzing the report that was sent to the state. The spokesperson added that they are looking into ways that local school districts can meet the needs of those in special education programs.

The department's website lists several IDEA grant-funded initiatives, which are funded by IDEA Part B and awarded through the state's office of special education. 

"IDEA Grant Funded initiatives provide statewide assistance in advancing evidence-based practices to support diverse learners," the website reads. "Each initiative addresses different needs identified through state or federal mandates and stakeholder-based concerns."

The initiatives "support a variety of stakeholders, including school districts and families of students with disabilities," the website reads. Examples of support include:

  • Providing professional development and training.
  • Implementing proven programs in schools.
  • Producing or loaning materials for students.
  • Disseminating critical guidance and information.

In all, the state awarded $366.4 million in IDEA Part B grants across the state for fiscal year 2016-17. Of those, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties received the most money in grants. The Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency received more than $68.5 million in grants, Oakland Schools got $42.1 million and Macomb Intermediate School District received just over $30 million.

To read the entire Michigan Part B State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report, click here.