How ESSA and IDEA Can Support College and Career Readiness for Students with Disabilities

A significant graduation rate gap remains between students with disabilities and the overall rate in the U.S. This indicates that students with disabilities are not receiving the support and experiences they need to be college and career ready. This brief from the College and Career Readiness and Success Center and the American Youth Policy Forum examines how policymakers can leverage the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to promote the development of meaningful pathways to postsecondary opportunities by ensuring all students are college and career ready, provides an analysis of the provisions under ESSA and IDEA that support CCR for students with disabilities, features examples of effective practices and includes guidance for state leaders. Guidance includes establishing:
• High expectations and access to general education;
• Well-rounded education;
• Career pathways and transition planning;
• Personalized and competency-based education;
• Subgroup accountability; and,
• Alignment across policies and programs.

This report serves as a critical guide for policymakers, state leaders and stakeholders to leverage federal programs to improve college and career readiness for students with disabilities.