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Michigan's Special Education Performance Improves on Federal Ranking

June 27, 2019

LANSING – Michigan’s performance on key special education factors improved over last year and the U.S. Department of Education has lifted the state from its “needs intervention” determination to “needs assistance,” the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) reported today.

Michigan received the federal determination for its annual performance rating on meeting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, Part B for the 2017-18 school year. Michigan’s score increased from 59.17 percent to 65.28 percent, an increase of over six percent.

“This is the highest score Michigan has received since 2014, when the federal government moved to Results Driven Accountability,” said Deputy State Superintendent Scott Koenigsknecht. “We are pleased with the trajectory of the growth and will continue to work to improve outcomes for every Michigan student. There still is much work to do around the areas of graduation rate, dropout rate, research based best practices, and inclusion.”

Koenigsknecht said a lot of work is being done in the school districts across the state, and at MDE, to improve compliance and results outcomes. A steering committee and four work groups have been working since December 2018 to generate recommendations that would lead to continued improvements for graduation rates, dropout rates, M-STEP participation, and NAEP results and participation.

“We appreciate the commitment from our partners across the education landscape in Michigan and look forward to continued growth and improvement,” Koenigsknecht said. “To become a Top 10 education state in 10 years, we need to provide a quality education and growth for all students, including those with special needs.”

Last year, the Michigan Department of Education was in full compliance with meeting the reporting and submitting of timely and accurate data of specific indicators required by the U.S. Department of Education. However, outcomes for students with disabilities for graduation and dropout rates are below the 80 percent target. Also, a greater percentage of students with disabilities needed to participate in the appropriate state and national assessments and show improved proficiency rates in reading and math. Those were the under-performing factors identified in the U.S. Department of Education’s report last year.

Federal officials use both compliance and results data for a “letter of determination” on whether a state "meets requirements," "needs assistance" or "needs intervention."

The Michigan Department of Education’s work to become a Top 10 education state in 10 years is designed to better support Intermediate School Districts to address local school district improvements. This evolving partnership between MDE and each ISD as a subrecipient of the federal Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant funds further ensures the alignment and coordination that evidence-based practices are implemented and supported in local districts.