Children interacting with an adult
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden

Many educators, parents, and lawmakers agreed that there were unresolved problems that warranted attention. Educational outcomes remained less for students with disabilities than for other students, often leaving them unprepared to graduate and subsequently transition to work. For example, according to information compiled by the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS):

  • Many students with disabilities are still excluded from the curriculum and assessments used with their nondisabled peers, limiting their possibilities of performing to higher standards.
  • In the 1997–98 school year, only 25 percent of students ages 17 and older with disabilities graduated with a high school diploma. Graduation rates varied by state, ranging from 6.8 percent to 45.5 percent.
  • Twice as many children with disabilities drop out of school.
  • Dropouts rarely return to school, have difficulty finding jobs, and often end up in the criminal justice system.