Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sec. Duncan Calls on Teachers to Raise Achievement of Special-Needs Students

Speaking to 6,000 special educators at the annual conference of the Council for Exceptional Children Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on teachers to improve the achievement levels of students with special needs.  He said that while we have made progress in expanding educational opportunities for all children, "a significant gap between our aspirations and reality" for students with disabilities. "The graduation rate, postsecondary education rate, and employment rate are all increasing, but they are still, frankly, far too low."

"Even in my lifetime, public schools virtually ignored children with disabilities. Many children were denied access to public schools, and those who attended didn't get the individualized instruction and appropriate services they needed and deserved.

"Over the past 35 years, we've made great strides in delivering on the promise of a free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities. Thanks to the advocacy and hard work of people and organizations like the Council for Exceptional Children, six million students with disabilities are in school—and millions of them are thriving.

"Yet unfortunately, many children with disabilities are not getting a world-class education. The President and I are committed to doing everything in our power to make that bedrock American promise of equal educational opportunity a reality. With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we have a historic opportunity to move closer to fulfilling that promise for all students."

Read his full remarks, "Keeping the Promise to All America's Children."
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