Each year, the Iowa Department of Education releases its Condition of Education report. Here are 7 facts about Iowa schools from its 2016 report.
Des Moines Register

The Register’s editorial board missed the mark on Iowa’s approach to special education eligibility [Special education is a right, not a privilege, July 31].

Iowa considers a student’s performance in the classroom along with a disability diagnosis in deciding whether special education services are needed. Special education may not always be necessary for students with disabilities who have demonstrated adequate progress in school.

This is about setting appropriate expectations for all students, including children with disabilities, and providing a learning environment that is right for them. The approach has no limiting effect on the number of students who receive special education services. In fact, Iowa’s special education identification rate is at the national average.

The U.S. Department of Education recently affirmed Iowa’s approach is in line with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The Iowa Department of Education seeks a similar state-level finding through our appeal of an administrative law judge’s decision.

For our agency, however, this issue goes beyond compliance with the law. Iowa’s approach to special education is in line with research and best practice. In other words, it’s about doing what’s best for kids.

— Ryan Wise, director, Iowa Department of Education

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