VDOE Excels at Complying with Federal Bureaucratic Guidelines

by James A. Bacon

For the 10th consecutive year, Virginia has earned the federal government’s “highest rating” for improving outcomes for students with disabilities and for complying with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Virginia Department of Education said in a press release yesterday.

Only five states and state-level education systems have earned the “Meets Requirements” designation for ten consecutive years.

Go the U.S. Department of Education website, and you’ll find that Virginia, 21 other states, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands earned the “meets requirements” rating. That’s a heck of a distinction!

Three other categories are listed:

  • Needs assistance (one year). Nine school systems including the Bureau of Indian Education and the Pacific island state of Palau earned this rating.
  • Needs assistance (two or more consecutive years). This rating included 28 school systems, including American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federates States of Micronesia, and Puerto Rico.
  • Needs intervention. No school system received this classification.

Granted, Virginia earned the rating 10 years running. I’d put that accomplishment in the “beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick” category.

But Superintendent of Instruction James Lane uses the achievement, such as it is, to tout a “new model” implemented in December of 2020 for supporting students with disabilities.

States the VDOE press release: “The approach includes more frequent and comprehensive monitoring of local special education programs, a comprehensive verification and review process for a sample of school divisions selected randomly every year, expanded criteria for the investigation of complaints, and a new procedures for confirming implementation of required corrective action.”

Sounds pretty bureaucratic to me. How’s all this activity actually working out for students with disabilities?

According to the VDOE’s Standards of Learning database, here are the pass rates for students across the state who are classified as “disabled” in the 2020-21 school year:

English reading — 40.5%
English writing — 35.4%
History and social science — 31.8%
Mathematics — 31.3%
Science — 30.6%

Bacon’s bottom line: There is a world of difference between making federal bureaucrats happy and ensuring that students actually learn something.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


One response to “VDOE Excels at Complying with Federal Bureaucratic Guidelines”

  1. At least they excel at something…

Leave a Reply