DiplomasatRisk - Diplomas at Risk A Critical Look at the...

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Diplomas at Risk: A Critical Look at the Graduation Rate of Students with Learning Disabilities
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About the Author Candace Cortiella is founder/director of The Advocacy Institute (www.AdvocacyInstitute.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and adults with disabilities. The author wishes to thank the following individuals for providing contributions, consultation and comments to this report: W. Alan Coulter, Ph.D. and Jennifer Koehler, M.A., Health Sciences Center, Louisiana State University Laura Kaloi, MPA, Public Policy Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities Lynn Newman, Ed.D., Senior Education Researcher, SRI International Jessica Noble, Education Program Consultant, Kansas State Department of Education Deb Tanner, Publication Designer Martha Thurlow, Ph.D., Director, National Center on Educational Outcomes Our Mission The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) improves the lives of all people with learning difficulties and disabilities by empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools, and creating policy and advocacy impact. We envision a society in which every individual who struggles to learn possesses the academic, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, at work and in life. 381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1401, New York, NY 10016-8806 Telephone 212.545.7510 Facsimile 212.545.9665 www.LD.org © 2013 by National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. All rights reserved. This publication is provided free of charge by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Wide dissemination is encouraged! Copies may be made and distributed in keeping with the following guidelines: The publication must be reproduced in its entirety, including pages containing information about the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Copies of the publication may not be sold. May 2013
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www.LD.org | Diplomas at Risk: A Critical Look at the Graduation Rate of Students with Learning Disabilities | 1 Introduction For nearly 40 years, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) has advocated for research, evidence-based practices and federal policies to ensure that all students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) achieve their full potential. Graduation from high school with a regular diploma is the cornerstone of our advocacy program because a diploma is the gateway credential tied to college and career readiness. As we examined reports and studies, participated in discussions and conducted activities focused on improving graduation policies for struggling students, we concluded that a public conversation about high school graduation must start with the fundamentals: who are the students with SLD and what do their current high school exit outcomes look like? What we’ve discovered isn’t surprising, but it does convey how critical the situation is. Too many of our bright, talented students’ futures are at risk because regular diplomas aren’t necessarily regarded or planned as their first option. This is unacceptable and must change.
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