The Advisory Panel established in the settlement released a report on June 3, 2010, in the final months of the agreement’s five-year life, condemning the Department’s failure to make significant improvements in the education of children with disabilities.
Unfortunately, the panel concluded, the promise of the settlement agreement has not been realized. Overall, inclusion increased very slightly – Pennsylvania improved its standing from 49th in the country to 43rd – but inclusion for many more severe disabilities remained the same or even decreased. Further, the panel noted that they had no way to assess whether the services and supports necessary to make inclusion succeed were ever provided. Small improvements included a “Supplementary Aids and Services Toolkit” developed to help IEP teams plan for inclusion, as well as marginal regulatory and training improvements.
The Panel’s report most harshly criticized the Department’s failure to substantively monitor the state’s worst performing districts and to take meaningful corrective action in those districts.