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Michigan's Special Education Performance Improves Again on Federal Rating

July 7, 2020

LANSING – Michigan’s performance on key special education factors associated with the U.S. Department of Education improved for the second straight year, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) reported today.

Michigan received a score of 72.5 percent for its federal determination annual performance rating on meeting the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B for the 2019-20 school year. In 2017-18, Michigan scored 59.17 percent. In 2018-19, the score improved to 65.28 percent, an increase of over six percentage points. This year’s increase was more than seven percentage points, which brings the two-year growth to 13.33 percentage points.

“Our statewide progress is welcome news and reflects strengthening partnerships among local school districts, intermediate school districts, the Michigan Department of Education, and groups that advocate for our children with special needs,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.

“This is the highest score Michigan has received since 2014, when the federal government moved to results-driven accountability,” said Deputy State Superintendent Dr. Scott Koenigsknecht. “We are pleased with the trajectory of the growth and will continue to work to improve outcomes for every Michigan student. There is still much work to do around the areas of graduation and dropout rate, research-based best practices, and inclusion as we are still in the ‘Needs Assistance’ category.”

Dr. 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. MDE formed a steering committee and four work groups in December 2018 to generate and implement recommendations designed to lead to continued improvements in graduation and dropout rates, M-STEP test participation, and national NAEP test results and participation.

“We appreciate the commitment from our partners across the education landscape in Michigan and look forward to continued growth and improvement,” Dr. Koenigsknecht said. “To become a top education state, 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 the reporting and submission 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 were below the federal targets.

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