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Teacher training and professional development need to change to reflect the reality of today’s general education classroom, where a majority of students in special education spend the majority of their time—and where many children with unidentified disabilities are also struggling to succeed. It’s more important than ever to equip teachers with the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively instruct diverse learners.

ESSA acknowledges this reality and encourages states and districts to use federal funding to help teachers expand the use of Universal Design for Learning^ (UDL).

The law mentions UDL several times and defines it as a framework that “provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged” and “reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.”

UDL is one of five key ways states can help current and future teachers meet the needs of all students, including those with learning and attention issues.