The Road to Nowhere

October 2004 / Abell Reports / Education

The illusion and broken promises of special education in the Baltimore City and other public school systems.

At long last, the illusion and broken promises of special education have been publicly exposed. Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), school systems across the country have been forced to disclose the abysmally low academic test scores of students with disabilities.

Education Week, the national education newspaper, put out a special edition in January 2004 focused solely on special education. Its survey found a chasm between the performance of general and special education students in every state, with differences typically ranging from 30 to 40 percent. “Thanks to the NCLB-generated data that’s now flowing in, we know more about the disability gap,” says one observer. “On average, disabled students lag farther behind their non-disabled classmates than African American and Hispanic students lag behind their white classmates.”