Mississippi act aims to help special education students graduate
Only 23 percent of special needs K-12 students in Mississippi graduate from high school, but a proposal that is being sent to the state House of Representatives aims to change that. Already passed by the State Senate, the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act would give teachers raises and provide more financial resources for families who seek private care.
To put this number in perspective, the Clarion-Ledger reports that in 1997 just 18 percent of Mississippi special needs students graduated from high school. With all of the advances in special education over the past two decades, a graduation rate increase of just 5 percent is clearly not enough. Technological advances alone should be enough to raise this number even higher, let alone paradigm shifts in what is presented in the classroom and how special education students learn.
In a state where poverty plagues public school students and academic achievement ranks at the bottom in the entire nation, it is easy to see how special education students are falling through the cracks. These students are not receiving the special attention that they should in school, and parents are unable to afford private help. The passage of the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act would hopefully change all of that and make high school graduation a reality for many of the students in the state.
The more special needs students who graduate, the better the economic outlook for everyone in the state. I hope the Mississippi House passes this act unanimously so the special education youth in the state can start achieving what they are capable of academically.