News Briefs

Kansas special education council approves new target metrics for children with disabilities

By: - September 16, 2021 5:51 pm

The Kansas State Special Education Advisory Council solicited stakeholder input to finalize new target metrics for the state performance plan. The council voted without opposition to approve new graduation rates, dropout rates and parental involvement goals, among other indicators. (Screenshot of Kansas State Department of Education YouTube)

TOPEKA — The Kansas council providing special education policy guidance to the state board of education approved Thursday a target high school graduation rate of 80.5% for children with disabilities in 2020, increasing by 0.5% each year through 2025.

The Kansas State Special Education Advisory Council is entering a new cycle of the state performance plan, which runs from 2020 to 2025. Because of reporting delays, data for several target metrics for 2020 will not be available until February.

The council considered stakeholder feedback to determine if new targets set by the Kansas State Department of Education were appropriate. Nearly 75% of stakeholders responding to a survey conducted by KSDE said the graduation target was a reasonable goal.

KSDE also proposed a target dropout rate of 17.95%, with the target decreasing 1.35% by 2025. Dropout data indicates statewide rates have ranged between 14% and 20%.

“That’s not as much as any of us would like, but we just felt that that was what was realistic based on our historical data,” said Laura Jurgensen, an assistant director on the special education and title services team. “Of our survey respondents, about 61% of them said that’s appropriate. … 33% of them said it is not rigorous enough and just over 5% that it is too vigorous.”

The advisory council voted without opposition to approve these new targets for the state performance plan.

Since 2014, an average of 65.16% of parents of children with disabilities on an individualized education plan, or IEP, surveyed said their school facilitated their involvement as a way to improve services and results for their children. The council agreed to the new goal set by KSDE of 66.5% for 2020, with the target increasing by 0.1% each year.

The council also approved new metrics for post-secondary success, least restrictive environments, and preschool children with IEPs who show improvement, among other measured indicators.

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Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.