South Dakota is one of 12 states that met two sets of national special-education outcomes

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s K-12 schools received passing grades once again for how their more than 20,000 special education students and parents were treated.

Linda Turner, state director for special education and early education, reported Monday that South Dakota met 17 of 20 federal compliance requirements and reached 12 of 16 targets for special education during the 2019-2020 school year. South Dakota was one of 12 states to accomplish both, she said.

Turner presented the annual report to the state Board of Education Standards. She said it was the sixth time South Dakota scored passing numbers in the two sets of measurements.

One category where South Dakota continued to find difficulty however was preschool children with individual education plans.

Turner said the state Department of Education and school districts have been doing “a lot of work” there and South Dakota’s targets are being redesigned. “We have some good ideas to work on,” she said.

South Dakota met the targets for special education students from 2017-2018 who one year later had gone on to higher education, post-secondary training and employment. But the state fell short in several of those categories for the 2018-2019 class.

Turner said those numbers could have been affected by fewer jobs being available during the economic slowdown caused by the COVID pandemic last year.

“Typically we meet our target and do very well,” she said.

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