The bill allows schools to lower graduation requirements for students with disabilities and exclude them from state tests as long as they meet the requirements of their individualized education plans. These aren't necessarily bad ideas in theory, but there's huge potential for abuse in practice, critics point out:
"We know from history, in Louisiana and other states, that policies of segregation like this one result in over-identification of students to special education –- especially students of color," the National Center for Learning Disabilities wrote Thursday in a letter to Schroder "strongly" opposing the bill. "Although students with disabilities in Louisiana continue to experience poor academic outcomes as compared to their peers and across the country, this should not induce the state to lower academic standards for these students." [...]Indeed, given all the other stuff going on in the Louisiana schools, saying "trust us, we'll do the right thing by special needs kids and any kids we might choose to label as special needs" is just not a trust that's been earned.
Also on Thursday, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates wrote Schroder to oppose the bill, saying it would place Louisiana "in direct conflict with federal law and would violate the civil rights of children with disabilities." The group said the bill "flagrantly disregards the rights of students with disabilities and disrespects their opportunity to achieve meaningful academic, social and emotional outcomes alongside their peers, through access to a regular high school diploma."