To the Editor:
I was disappointed to read that only 22 states met the requirements for IDEA during the 2022-23 school year (“Do More to Ensure Schools Meet Obligations to Students With Disabilities, Feds Tell States,” July 27, 2023). As a former special education teacher, I understand that students’ individualized education programs are legally binding documents that must be adhered to. It is shocking to hear that over half of the states in the country are not following through on this law.
It is even more shocking to hear that parents do not feel confident about filing complaints related to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act violations. I am currently obtaining my master’s degree in social work with the intention of becoming a school social worker in Virginia. I intend to help advocate for parents of children with IEPs to ensure that their children’s needs are being met.
Valerie Williams’ “Dear Colleague” letter referenced in the article is a call to action for states to step up and ensure school divisions are following the requirements of IDEA for students with IEPs. I hope that state leaders will take this letter seriously and follow through on her guidance.
Master of Social Work Student
Virginia Commonwealth University
A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2023 edition of Education Week as Schools Must Do Better to Meet IDEA Requirements