This post is first in a series based on a transcript from a recent Q&A with Dr. Alan Coulter as part of his webinar, “Prepare for Impact: 3 Key Questions About RDA for Every SPED Administrator.” Questions came directly from audience participants — special education directors, special educators and clinicians, and answers are from Dr. Coulter. Click here to see additional questions from the Q&A.
How do I find out what is happening in my state and what resources are available to assist us in improving achievement results, graduations rates and dropout rates?
Information on Phase 1 of Results-Driven Accountability (RDA) in almost every state probably will not be accessible until the summer of 2015, but there are three things that you can do right now to start to learn more about what’s going on with RDA:
Work your personal relationships. Ask yourself who you know in your state education agency that could inform you about what’s happening. Personal relationships are an absolute key to getting the kind of information that you need. Think about asking that person to inform you and let you know what happened with Phase 1: whether they are they on time, have they finished everything that they were supposed to by the June 30 deadline. Or, is your state, like many states, extending themselves more into the end of this calendar year and possibly all the way up until April 1 trying to pull everything together.
Get involved. OSEP considers stakeholder involvement very important, and recently disseminated common questions and answers about RDA including “Who are the stakeholders in my state?” OSEP responded that they are looking for a broad participation of families, local school personnel, related services groups, and anyone who has an interest in how special education is operating. OSEP would really like to see the state involved in their planning process to develop that state systemic improvement plan.
See what data is available for your state. Your state education agency may have made and posted data and presentations related to RDA on the web. Idaho, Alabama, Mississippi and Iowa are among the states that have posted information on their websites. As you pull information together, be sure to share it with all of your colleagues because the more people know about what’s going on with RDA, the more likely we are to get improved results.
Dr. Alan Coulter is an expert in special education accountability, and has worked at the federal, state, and local level on accountability issues for over twenty-five years. He has served on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, and is currently the Director of Education Initiatives and an Associate Professor at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences and Human Development Center. Alan is also the director of the TIERS Group (Teams Intervening Early to Reach all Students). TIERS consults with state DOEs and district administrators on the quality and use of special education data. Alan is a key participant in the national discussion regarding Results Driven Accountability and focused monitoring. His scholarly work and research is widely published in academic journals.