Education is the key to success in America for both the able-bodied and those with disabilities.
A good education in a field where there is demand means an individual has earning power and with money the things necessary to live a decent life are within reach.
But Michigan educators are failing those students with disabilities, according to a report released by The Department of Education. It showed a 51.9 percent high school graduation rate for the state's special education students despite having set a goal of 80 percent.
Other areas of needed improvement for special education students 3 to 21 years old are dropout rates, parent involvement and statewide assessment, the Gongwer Report said. Under federal law, a student with a disability can remain in the public education system to age 26. Often, however, for the most severely disabled students, the time in the classroom is spent listening to music, socializing and not really acquiring skills, even daily living skills, to make it on his or her own.
Seventy-two percent of special education students in 2011-12 showed adequate yearly growth, though the state target was 98 percent.
Also, 9.5 percent of special education students dropped out of high school in 2010-11, while the state target was 8 percent.
Finally, targets were met for facilitated parent involvement. The target for students between the ages of 3 to 5 was 35.5 percent, and 48 percent of parents reported that schools facilitated parent involvement. The target for students between the ages of six to 21 was 22 percent and 27.3 percent of parents reported schools facilitated parent involvement.
The report also showed the state met its target on 10-day suspensions or expulsions. The target was 4.5 percent or less and only 3.1 percent of special education students were expelled or suspended for more than 10 days in 2010-11.