According to an annual review by the U.S. Department of Education (USED),  Georgia’s serving of students with disabilities under the nation’s special education law has not been up to par for three consecutive years. Georgia has been placed into the “needs assistance” category for serving special education students.


The U.S. Department of Education (USED) officials review each state by reviewing student performance, and functional outcomes for kids with disabilities in addition to how well states follow and comply procedural duties like completing special education evaluations.


A letter sent to State School Superintendent Richard Woods on June 28, 2017, informs the Georgia Department of Education the state’s status. According to the letter, Georgia did not meet specific goals under Part B of the special education law which serves students with disabilities from ages 3 to 21.


If a state fails to meet acceptable requirements for two or more consecutive years, special education law specifies that the U.S. Department of Education can take action, which can include withholding funds or redirect funds along with developing a corrective action plan for managing change.


According to the letter, Georgia’s federal grants have been affected since the issuance of the 2017 letter to Superintendent Woods.  The letter “strongly encourage[s]” Georgia to improve the areas where they received a score of zero


The following categories received a score of zero:

Reading Assessment Elements: two areas

  • Percentage of 4th Grade Children with Disabilities Included in Testing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress
  • Percentage of 8th Grade Children with Disabilities Included in Testing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress

Existing Data Elements: one area

  • Percentage of Children with Disabilities who Dropped Out


The areas listed above, have been areas of difficulty for the state of Georgia; however, there was one area that did improve from the previous year. In 2016, Georgia had a zero for the number of students with disabilities that graduated with a regular high school diploma. For 2017, Georgia was not rated a zero; they received a score of 1 which equates to 63 percent performance level statewide.


Georgia has been on the “needs assistance” list for 2015, 2016, and 2017.  In 2014, Georgia met the federal special education requirements (See consecutive yearly information for review). Federal education officials have determined that Georgia will be receiving technical assistance from USED.


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Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns.  Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. He and his wife have lived in Camden County for 17 years, and they have two teenage children. Jeremy and his family live in St. Marys, GA and attend the Harbour Worship Center in Kingsland.