GAO: States Vary Widely in K-12 Students Who Get Special Education Services

THE PERCENTAGE OF K-12 students who receive special education services in states across the U.S. can vary anywhere from 6% to 15% because of wide inconsistencies in how officials determine eligibility criteria and the difficulty in identifying children suspected of having a disability, a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows.

A child eligible for services in one state, for example, might be ineligible in another, and states are having a difficult time evaluating the increasing numbers of students entering the public school system whose first language is not English.

“The GAO’s report reveals how the combination of inconsistent state policies and inadequate federal oversight continues to allow thousands of young people with disabilities to fall through the cracks,” Rep. Bobby Scott, Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, said in a statement.

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