November 8, 2023, I included a request for volunteers in the article below. I’d like to thank the volunteer who helped pull together the data provided by VDOE, for 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18.
The link to the spreadsheets pulled together by the volunteer is being added here, with the understanding that the data needs doublechecking, as well as more slicing and dicing to identify trends. Help still is needed. If you’re interested in helping, please let me know.
September 2023, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) released a report of its in-depth look at state complaints. Its findings aren’t surprising. Parents who believe their local education agency (LEA) to be in noncompliance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), can seek remedies under IDEA’s dispute resolution processes. However, those processes—such as filing state complaints—are stacked against parents. VDOE’s state complaint tracking logs provide a portrait of a state heavy on dismissals and findings in favor of LEAs.
*Thank you to the three parents who submitted FOIA requests for this information and shared it with Special Education Action. 10.8.23: Article first published.
11.20.23: Article updated to include original report submitted by Dr. Robert Pasternack to Dr. Lisa Coons, as well as emails between Robert and Lisa regarding the first final report, and invoices related to both reports. Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released two independent evaluations of its special education program. The evaluations were done by Dr. Robert Pasternack, Sam Howarth, and Nathan Levenson at the request of Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Lisa Coons. The findings aren’t a surprise. In Virginia, educators and families are two ends of the same burning match—and VDOE fuels the fire. Rather than being the “North Star” guiding educators and bridging the gap between families and educators, VDOE’s actions and inactions continue to increase the divide.
June 22, 2023, the following FOIA request was submitted to Virginia Department of Education: “Please provide me VDOE’s Summary Report of the Review of the Provision of Special Education in FCPS.” June 30, 2023, VDOE responded by providing the report below. In a separate FOIA response, VDOE provided the data collection spreadsheets associated with the report.
Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) provided its collection data for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and Powhatan County Public Schools (PCPS) in response to a June 20, 2023, FOIA request for the following:
“Please provide me the summary reports for VDOE’s Core Special Education Assessment results for Fairfax County Public Schools. An example is attached for reference. Please search the period of 2019-today.
VDOE FOIA Response: VDOE’s 6.23.23 and 8.28.23 Warnings to Powhatan County Public Schools; Comply with IDEA or Face Sanctions Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) issued two letters to Powhatan County Public Schools (PCPS), warning PCPS that it was facing sanctions,…