As a parent advocate for children with disabilities, I’ve learned to judge schools by how they treat their most vulnerable students. And fortunately, the North Carolina-based RTI International, a social science research nonprofit organization that partners with US News and World Report to develop metrics for high-performing schools, agree with me. In developing comprehensive rankings methodology, they determine great high schools as those that serve all its students well, not just those that are college bound, and are able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show successful education across a range of performance indicators, including accounting for how schools integrate marginalized students generally along racial and economic lines. While there are limitations to the annual US News and World Report ranking system as it pertains to how schools measure performance in disabilities services across the spectrum of public and public charter education from early education to high schools, case law and federal policies offer critical protections that empower students and their families as well as advocates.
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