by Michael R. Ford, Mike Nichols
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
April 10, 2014
There is evidence that the current system of educating Wisconsin children with special needs is working for many. But there is also evidence that too many special needs students do not have the opportunity to reach their potential. Several relatively simple improvements in the way in which Wisconsin collects and reports data on special needs performance can provide more useful information to policymakers and the public, and be used as the basis for increasing accountability in special education. Such a system can and must take into account the wide spectrum of special needs and hyper-personalized expectations of each special needs pupil. The education goals of special needs pupils are inherently dependent on the severity and nature of their disabilities. Wisconsin needs to do more to identify where our current approach is falling short and fix it.