K-12 online learning and students with disabilities: Perspectives from state special education directors

Paula J. Burdette, Diana Greer, Kari L. Woods


K-12 special education policies and practices that ensure students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment are coming under pressure from rapid expansion of online learning. Forty-six state and non-state jurisdiction special education directors responded to a brief survey about K-12 online learning. Findings demonstrated the increased number of states providing online instruction; indicated students with many different types of disabilities participate in online learning; and described the directors’ reflections on current issues as well as anticipated barriers to students with disabilities participating in online learning. Ambiguity and variability existed across state policies as each state may have been in a different stage of adopting this relatively new approach to K-12 education. The authors suggest that federal guidance might be required to safeguard the civil rights of students with disabilities in online learning.


K-12 Online Learning; Students with Disabilities; Special Education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v17i3.327

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