Schools Fall Short as Teens with Disabilities Jump to Adulthood

 

In San Diego Unified, schools are falling far short in helping special education students plan for what happens after high school, according to a new report paid for by the school district.

Schools are supposed to help teens with disabilities make the jump to adulthood under federal law. They are required to work with students to draw up plans that include their goals for after high school, what classes they should take to achieve them, and what services the school district will supply to help.

San Diego State University special education professor Jason Naranjo analyzed more than 1,200 student plans and found that none of them were adequate under federal requirements.

Among the slew of problems Naranjo saw:

• More than 95 percent of students didn’t have an appropriate, measurable goal for independent living, which can include things like learning to ride public transportation or balance a checkbook. He also found that 41 percent didn’t have an educational goal and 21 percent didn’t have an employment goal.

• Most students lacked a clear course of study to help them reach their goals. And more often than not, the plans did not set out any services to help students meet the goals they had set.

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• Most alarmingly, 40 students had no written plan for how they would transition into adulthood at all, in apparent violation of federal law.

Naranjo recommended that the school district hammer out clear policies so that school employees understand what they should be doing to help students with disabilities plan for the future. He also advised the school district to provide training on transition planning.

The professor did point to some bright spots: San Diego Unified is doing a good job of making sure that students are involved in making their plans, he said. And Naranjo said they aren’t shying from problems or trying to bury the report, something he worries about when he comes up with unflattering findings.

Emily Alpert is the education reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. What should she write about next? Please contact her directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org.

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Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert
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16 comments
Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

Allen is correct here, further it makes no sense to spend out of proportion to potential. The schools need to stop dumbing down the best and the brightest to pander to the marginal members of society.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

Allen is correct here, further it makes no sense to spend out of proportion to potential. The schools need to stop dumbing down the best and the brightest to pander to the marginal members of society.

Allen Hemphill
Allen Hemphill subscribermember

Academics are a sufficient reason for not just their relevance, but their absolute need in today's technological society.

Akamai
Akamai

Academics are a sufficient reason for not just their relevance, but their absolute need in today's technological society.

John de Beck
John de Beck subscriber

appen when adult education is delegated to community college districts. The attitude of k-12 educatores in those cases (SD) is let thew responsibility go to someone else.... "We are done with the kids when they are 18"... it is a irresponsible and callous. attitude!

deBeck
deBeck

appen when adult education is delegated to community college districts. The attitude of k-12 educatores in those cases (SD) is let thew responsibility go to someone else.... "We are done with the kids when they are 18"... it is a irresponsible and callous. attitude!

dana deima
dana deima subscriber

This report is good because we can always do a better job in helping place students after high school. I am surprised however, there is no mention of TRACE in Emily's article; Transition Resources for Adult Community Education. SDUSD gets many accolades for this outstanding resource created back in the 1980s. When a student qualifies for the TRACE program by being at least 18 years old and having significant needs which prevent him or her from being able to access the work force or post high school academics on their own, they are given training for jobs, skills to help them enter college, help so they can pass the CAHSEE and a host of other resources. The IEP should have measurable goals. This is true. I would be curious to know, however, the grade level of the students of the 1,200 IEPS the researcher reports about.

TheChristianslade
TheChristianslade

This report is good because we can always do a better job in helping place students after high school. I am surprised however, there is no mention of TRACE in Emily's article; Transition Resources for Adult Community Education. SDUSD gets many accolades for this outstanding resource created back in the 1980s. When a student qualifies for the TRACE program by being at least 18 years old and having significant needs which prevent him or her from being able to access the work force or post high school academics on their own, they are given training for jobs, skills to help them enter college, help so they can pass the CAHSEE and a host of other resources. The IEP should have measurable goals. This is true. I would be curious to know, however, the grade level of the students of the 1,200 IEPS the researcher reports about.

Allen Hemphill
Allen Hemphill subscribermember

Massively uneven and mixed speeds are unsafe on the freeway, the race course, the runway, the airways, and the classroom.

Akamai
Akamai

Massively uneven and mixed speeds are unsafe on the freeway, the race course, the runway, the airways, and the classroom.

Kelly Donivan
Kelly Donivan subscriber

The school's role...it was compulsory babysitting. It all boils down to the all mighty ADA money and not much else.

Genxer65
Genxer65

The school's role...it was compulsory babysitting. It all boils down to the all mighty ADA money and not much else.