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Report: Wisconsin meets federal requirements for disabled students

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin is one of 15 states that already meet new academic performance requirements for public school students with disabilities.

The U-S Education Department said yesterday it would tie federal special-ed funding to student outcomes, instead of just focusing on what schools do to accommodate kids with special needs. In Wisconsin, special needs' students perform higher than most on math-and-reading tests -- and they have higher graduation rates. Still, groups like Disability Rights Wisconsin says the state cannot rest on its laurels. Almost seven-of-every-ten students with special needs graduated from Wisconsin high schools last year -- compared to nine-of-every-ten without disabilities.

In Milwaukee, just 16-percent of disabled youngsters graduated from the public school system in four years. Several advocacy groups told state officials in March that more needs to be done to improve reading instruction for special needs' children. State figures show that 14-percent of Wisconsin public schools students, or about 120,000, have disabilities.