December 14, 2020, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC)—the oversight agency of the Virginia General Assembly—will present its report on Special Education in Virginia.
The report will be presented live. A dedicated YouTube link will be made available for public viewing of the live event. (link to come)
According to JLARC’s 2020 Workplan:
Major research studies are the agency’s primary work. JLARC’s topic selection subcommittee typically recommends research topics, which are then approved by the full Commission. JLARC also receives studies through joint resolutions passed by the General Assembly.
Studies follow project-specific workplans, which are developed by study teams and reviewed by JLARC’s project review team—director, associate directors, methodologist, and publications staff—to ensure that high-quality work can be completed in the time allotted. The project review team examines each project at every major stage of the research process. JLARC staff are assigned to study teams on a full-time basis for the duration of the project.
Mandate: Commission resolution
Scheduled publication: December 2020
About 157,000 Virginia K–12 students received special education services in the 2018–2019 school year, representing approximately 13 percent of Virginia’s total student population. Special education is specially designed instruction and related services provided to children with disabilities to ensure that they are able to make appropriately ambitious progress toward academic goals. The majority of Virginia students in special education are served in the general education classroom.
As with general education, local school divisions are responsible for administering special education services to students, and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is responsible for oversight. Of the $2.6 million spent on special education in Virginia in FY19, local funds made up the majority (70 percent) of spending, followed by state funds (20 percent), and federal funds (11 percent).
The study team will evaluate whether local school divisions effectively identify children for special education services and implement federally required Individualized Education Programs, which outline students’ specialized services and educational goals. The study team will also evaluate school divisions’ capacity to provide special education instruction and support services, specifically by examining the availability of licensed special education teachers and the special education training general education teachers and school administrators receive. The team will also evaluate student outcomes and school divisions’ success in maximizing the amount of time students are able to spend in general education classrooms. The team will also examine VDOE’s oversight and support of school divisions’ special education programs. Finally, the team will examine special education spending and enrollment in Virginia.