Three Rhode Island senators are urging for reforms in special education after a Target 12 investigation found that many young children with special needs in Providence aren’t being educated. The legislators called for the General Assembly to create laws that significantly change how individualized education programs (IEPs) are developed and provided to students. IEPs are plans crafted by school officials and parents as blueprints on how special needs students will be supported in the public school system. The call for action was made after it was revealed that at least 34 special needs students haven’t received the support required by their IEPs under federal law because of the inability to hire teachers. A hearing was held by the Senate Education Committee where several parents voiced their concerns about the lack of specialized educational services for their children. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green cited staffing shortages as the main problem, with Providence having vacant classrooms for special education students but a lack of teachers to staff them.

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