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Doctor's Note: Special Education Reform

Over the summer, Virginia’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) process received a devastating review from both the federal government and the Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee (JLARC). The reports highlighted that Virginia is not adequately providing assistance to students who have obstacles to learning. In the 2018–19 school year, about 164,000 K12 students were enrolled in special education, which is about 13 percent of Virginia’s total student population.

Lack of oversight to the localities in the creation of IEPs is hurting our kids and hindering their progress. If you are not familiar with IEPs, they are tailored plans that examine the student’s current level of academic performance, set achievement goals and outline the services needed to accomplish those goals.

We must ensure schools are providing consistently high quality IEP evaluations. We must prioritize fixing this process because we know that with the proper tools, students can overcome obstacles and succeed in our schools.

My legislation, which incorporates all 27 recommendations from JLARC, seeks to not only improve the process, but improve quality special education services.

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