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OSEP Director Williams Voices Concerns About Data on Youth with Disabilities

In this month’s newsletter to the field, Office of Special Education Programs Director Valerie Williams highlighted a new “Dose of Data” infographic titled, Percent of Students with Disabilities Who Exited School by Disability Category, Ages 14-21, SY 20-21. The infographic drills down on youth exiting special education by disability category, and shows that nearly 15 percent of special education students are dropping out of school, and an alarming 28 percent specifically within the “emotional disturbance” disability category. Williams sounded the alarm that students may be exiting school with a certificate prior to aging out of special education, noting that “a certificate does not end a school district's obligation to provide FAPE—only a regular high school diploma or the aging out of special education…” ends that obligation. Williams added, “I believe it is time for us to have critical conversations about the instruction our students are receiving and connect those dots to outcomes.”

Director Williams’s full newsletter can be found here.

The infographic can be found here.

Posted:  8 December, 2023

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