Federal report faults Virginia Dept. of Ed. over special education oversight
The report centers on Virginia’s enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — better known as IDEA — a 1975 federal law that ensures a “free appropriate public education” to students with disabilities and guarantees special education services. The second part of the law tasks VDOE with supervising educational programs in the state and ensuring that local school divisions are meeting IDEA requirements.
“As the state educational agency, the buck really stops at VDOE,” said Rachael Deane, director of the Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren program. But the federal report, authored by DOE’s Office of Special Education Programs, found that the state agency consistently failed to supervise local school districts and establish adequate processes for addressing complaints.
DOE conducted site visits in Virginia after OSEP fielded an “unusually high number of customer service communications from parents, advocates, and other stakeholders” relating to the state’s process of resolving complaints against local school districts, according to the report.