Rethinking special education and rehabilitative services: Raising expectations and improving outcomes for individuals with disabilities

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Sept. 20, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released a framework of his office’s special education and rehabilitative services priorities today.

Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett said the framework communicates how OSERS will focus its work to advance Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ priorities and continue to progress its mission “to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities and the nation.”

The framework prioritizes rethinking all aspects of how OSERS serves infants, toddlers, children, youth and adults with disabilities. It highlights OSERS’ commitment to support states in their work to raise expectations and improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities; provide states flexibility to implement their programs within the constructs of the law; and partner with parents, individuals with disabilities, and diverse stakeholders.

“This will require an unwavering commitment to address barriers that stand in the way of improving opportunities and outcomes for each person with a disability and to make needed changes at the federal, state and local levels,” Collett said.

As an example of OSERS’ commitment to its framework, Collett addressed the need to rethink special education in a blog that highlights the importance of acknowledging the individual needs of each child to find the best way to prepare each individual for successful careers and a meaningful life.

“We must be willing to rethink special education in our country and to question anything and everything we are doing to ensure we are in the best position to serve students,” Collett said. “This work is too important, the need is too urgent and the stakes are too high for us to settle for anything less than whatever it takes to deliver on the promises we have made to children and families in our country.”

View OSERS’ new framework

View Assistant Secretary Collett’s blog on rethinking special education