Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Iowa Regents Considering the Consolidation of Educational Services for Students Who Are Blind and Those Who Are Deaf

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Iowa Regents Considering the Consolidation of Educational Services for Students Who Are Blind and Those Who Are Deaf

Article excerpt

A feasibility and planning study committee recently presented a proposal to the Iowa State Board of Regents that would create five regional centers, including on existing campuses in Vinton and Council Bluffs, to serve students who are blind, deaf, deaf-blind, including those with additional disabilities. "We know there ... [are] students without access to as much high-quality instruction as ... they need," said Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs and head of the statewide Iowa

Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, as he explained the need for a special education model that includes regional sites. Test scores have shown that students with sensory disabilities in Iowa are not performing as well as they should be, and officials believe that special services, especially in rural areas of the state, are not meeting students' needs.

The proposed new model was selected by the committee following a months-long process that included six committee meetings and three public forums. The regents, who oversee special schools in Iowa, charged the committee with looking at the effectiveness and efficiency of the services such schools provide. The changes will not replace services that already exist, but are intended to add to what those students receive, and therefore the recommendations come with an added cost of about $3.2 million in addition to what is currently being spent to educate students with sensory disabilities in Iowa. Mr. Clancy said that expected costs would be shared by various entities, including local education agencies, local school districts, and through state funding. …

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