« Ky. Education Chief to Review Restraint, Seclusion in State's Largest District | Main | Ed. Dept. Releases ADHD Guidance to Commemorate ADA Anniversary »

Nevada District's Special Education Program Under Scrutiny

In case you missed it, the Reno Gazette-Journal's Siobhan McAndrew did a masterfully complete job exploring the problems with special education in Washoe schools, Nevada's second-largest district, in a series that ran earlier this month. 

McAndrew spent two years on the project, and it shows. It's difficult to pull out just one element to highlight, but the overall package shows a 64,000-student district that is struggling to educate some of its most vulnerable students. Nevada has one of the largest gaps nationwide between the graduation rates of students with disabilities and typically developing students: 29 percent compared to 75 percent in the 2014-15 school year.

The school system has also held students with disabilities to a lower standard than their typically developing students. One student profiled was academically strong enough to earn a B in a history class, but that was one of the few general education classes he was able to take in his high school career. The rest of the time, he was enrolled in job training and life skills courses where he was told how to brush his teeth. 

"I really wanted to be part of high school," the 19-year-old told the reporter. "I already knew how to brush my teeth." 

Such investigations should be measured not only in what they bring to light, but what they're able to change. On this front, the district has acknowledged that the newspaper's work accurately showed that students with disabilities had been underserved for years. 

"We recognize that the issues with special education did not come into existence overnight, and unfortunately will not be fixed overnight. They will take continued focus and effort to solidify the cultural and structural changes that have begun to take hold," said a district statement

Don't miss another On Special Education post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.


Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments