Detroit schools target special ed failures
Detroit — Michigan’s largest school district is failing its special education students by not meeting their needs or identifying them as early as possible to provide necessary services, according to its superintendent and the early results of two audits.
Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent Nikolai Vitti is calling for sweeping changes to the district’s special education department and created a plan to address district shortfalls when it comes to providing the legally mandated evaluations and services.
Two audits of the district’s program — one internal and one performed by the Council of Great City Schools, a coalition of urban schools — show the school district:
- Lacks an effective system for identifying and evaluating children who may be eligible for special education services under a federal law called Child Find
- Often fails to respond to parent requests within 10 days — as required by law — to evaluate their child
- Uses referrals to the districts Resource Coordinating Team, a school-based problem-solving group, as a way to delay or deny a requested evaluation
- Fails to review records of new students that may need services