Celebrating the Success of All Students

Image of Secretary Duncan at the American Association of People with Disabilities Conference

“We can no longer celebrate the success of one group of students if another group of students is still struggling,” said Secretary Duncan last night at the American Association of People with Disabilities Conference in Washington, DC. “We have to be open and honest about where we fall short.”

For too long, the answer to educating students with disabilities was to isolate them and deny them the same educational experiences others were having. Those days are over. The fact is — 60 percent of students with disabilities today spend 80 percent of their time in the regular school environment.

Those numbers are a great improvement and there is no reason they should not keep rising as more and more teachers know how to effectively work with students with disabilities.

Secretary Duncan also vowed to end the so-called “2 percent rule” that obscures an accurate portrait of the academic needs of America’s students with disabilities.  He said that students with disabilities should be judged with the same accountability system as everyone else and that the Department of Education would not issue another policy that allows districts to disguise the educational performance of 2 percent of students.

Read Secretary Duncan’s remarks. See a video from his visit on Monday to Beers Elementary School in Washington, DC, a school that is successfully implementing an inclusion program.

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.