Special Education Federal File

Disabilities No Bar to Higher Classes, OCR Tells Schools

By Christina A. Samuels — January 04, 2008 1 min read

The Department of Education’s office for civil rights has written to school district leaders, reminding them that students with disabilities are eligible to take part in advanced academic programs and do not forfeit their right to special education services by enrolling in such classes.

The Dec. 26 “Dear Colleague” letter refers to students with disabilities who want to enroll in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or other accelerated classes.

Without citing specifics, the OCR says that some schools and districts have refused to allow qualified students with disabilities to enroll in advanced classes. In other cases, students have been allowed to enroll as long as they give up services designed to meet their needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Such conditions violate federal law, which requires individual determinations of student needs, said Stephanie J. Monroe, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights.

The letter adds that “if a qualified student with a disability requires related aids and services to participate in a regular education class or program, then a school cannot deny that student the needed related aids and services in an accelerated class or program.”

Department spokesman Jim Bradshaw said the letter was issued in response to informal technical-assistance requests and complaints.

Some educators may be unaware that gifted students may also have learning disabilities, but that mind-set is changing, said Susan K. Johnsen, the president of the Association for the Gifted, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children, located in Arlington, Va.

The special education community is much more sensitive to students with disabilities who may be able to handle accelerated work, said Ms. Johnsen, who is also a professor in the department of educational psychology at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

The Education Department’s letter helps make such knowledge “explicit, rather than assuming everyone knows it,” she said.

A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Special Education Whitepaper
A Comprehensive Guide to the IEP Process
Download this guide to learn strategies for bringing together all stakeholders to plan an IEP that addresses the whole child; using relia...
Content provided by n2y
Special Education What Biden's Pick for Ed. Secretary Discussed With Disability Rights Advocates
Advocates for students with disabilities want Biden to address discipline and the effects of COVID-19 on special education.
2 min read
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Education, speaks after being introduced at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, as Biden, right, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, look on.
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Education, speaks after being introduced at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 23, 2020, as Biden, right, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, left, look on.
Carolyn Kaster/AP
Special Education Schools Struggled to Serve Students With Disabilities, English-Learners During Shutdowns
The needs of students with IEPs and English-language learners were not often met after the pandemic struck, says a federal report.
3 min read
Young boy wearing a mask shown sheltering at home looking out a window with a stuffed animal.
Getty
Special Education How Will Schools Pay for Compensatory Services for Special Ed. Students?
States’ efforts so far suggest there won’t be enough money to go around for all the learning losses of students with disabilities from COVID-19 school shutdowns.
8 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
iStock/Getty