7.17.20: Article first published. 1.18.23: New introduction added (in italics below). 3.15.23: Updated to include a third paragraph to the introduction below, addressing the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to expand monitoring of Virginia Department of Education and its continued noncompliance.
As I type this, oral arguments for the case Perez v Sturgis are being held in the Supreme Court. Reading about Sturgis Public Schools’ failures to address the unique needs of Miguel Luna Perez is both heartbreaking and horrifying. It is a reminder, too, that the special education system is broken. The recourse offered isn’t adequate and the agencies and individuals responsible for holding state and local education agencies accountable continuously fail children themselves.
Almost five years ago, the Virginia Department of Education refused to investigate 400+ cases of noncompliance in Fairfax County Public Schools. To date, that hasn’t changed. The article below was written in 2020, a month after the United States Department of Education released a Differentiated Monitoring Support letter on Virginia. VDOE had 90 days to come into compliances. Almost three years later, the noncompliance continues, as does USDOE’s failure to hold VDOE accountable and VDOE’s failure to hold FCPS and other counties state-wide accountable for their noncompliance. November 30, 2022, Office for Civil Rights found FCPS in massive noncompliance, yet even as it was investigated, even as it negotiated its resolution agreement with OCR, and even as its findings released, FCPS continued its noncompliance—and VDOE has remained silent.