2017 Annual Report to Congress on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IDEA Parts B and C

This is the 39th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2017. Section 664(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as reauthorized in 2004, requires that the Department of Education report annually on the progress made toward the provision of a free appropriate public education to all children with disabilities and the provision of early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities.

The 39th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2017 describes our nation’s progress in:

  1. providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for children with disabilities under IDEA, Part B and early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families under IDEA, Part C,
  2. ensuring that the rights of these children with disabilities and their parents are protected,
  3. assisting states and localities in providing for the education of all children with disabilities, and
  4. assessing the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

The report focuses on the children and students with disabilities being served under IDEA, Parts C or B, nationally and at the state level.

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Since the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EHA), Public Law (P.L.) 94‑142 and its successor statute, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (secretary) (and her predecessor, the commissioner of education at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare) have been required to transmit to Congress an annual report to inform Congress and the public of the progress being made in implementing the act. The annual reports to Congress reflect a history of persistent commitment and effort to expand educational opportunities for children with disabilities.

The most recent reauthorization of IDEA (P.L. 108-446) occurred in December 2004, and section 664(d) of the IDEA continues to require the annual report. With the reauthorization of IDEA, the nation reaffirmed its commitment to improving the early intervention and educational results and functional outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youths with disabilities (collectively, this group may be referred to in this report as children with disabilities).

The 39th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2017 describes our nation’s progress in:

  1. providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for children with disabilities under IDEA, Part B, and early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families under IDEA, Part C;
  2. ensuring that the rights of these children with disabilities and their parents are protected;
  3. assisting states and localities in providing for the education of all children with disabilities; and
  4. assessing the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

The report focuses on the children and students with disabilities being served under IDEA, Part C or B, nationally and at the state level. In particular, Part C of IDEA provides funds to states to assist them in developing and implementing statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary interagency systems to make early intervention services available to all eligible children from birth through age 2 with disabilities and their families, whereas Part B of IDEA provides funds to states to assist them in making FAPE available to eligible children ages 3 through 21 with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. Throughout this report, individuals with disabilities who receive services under IDEA, Part C or Part B, are referred to as infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; children served under IDEA, Part B; or students served under IDEA, Part B. “Special education services” is a term used throughout this report to represent services provided under IDEA, Part B. Similarly, “early intervention services” is a term used synonymously with services provided under IDEA, Part C.

This 39th Annual Report to Congress, 2017 follows the 38th Annual Report to Congress, 2016 in sequence and format, and it continues to focus on IDEA results and accountability. Similar to the 38th Annual Report to Congress, 2016, the 39th Annual Report to Congress, 2017 contains six major sections that address the five annual report requirements contained in section 664(d) of IDEA. The sections are:

  1. a summary and analysis of IDEA section 618 data at the national level;
  2. a summary and analysis of IDEA section 618 data at the state level;
  3. a summary and analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) findings and determinations regarding the extent to which states are meeting the requirements of IDEA, Parts B and C;
  4. a summary of special education research conducted under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002;
  5. a summary of national special education studies and evaluations conducted under sections 664(a) and (c) of IDEA; and
  6. a summary of the extent and progress of the assessment of national activities, which focus on determining the effectiveness of IDEA and improving its implementation.

The content of this report differs from that of the 38th Annual Report to Congress, 2016 in the following ways:

  1. the most recent data presented in this report represent the following applicable reporting periods: fall 2015, school year 2014–15, or a 12-month reporting period during 2014–15;
  2. where data are presented for a 10-year period, the oldest data are associated with fall 2006; and
  3. the 39th Annual Report to Congress, 2017 is the first annual report to present data newly collected from states: the cumulative number of infants and toddlers with disabilities who participated in Part C during the school year in addition to the longstanding point-in-time data collection (i.e., the number of infants and toddlers served under Part C on the state-designated data collection date).

A summary of each of the six sections and three appendices that make up the 39th Annual Report to Congress, 2017 follows.


Preface Footnotes

The year in the title reflects the U.S. Department of Education’s target year for submitting the report to Congress. The most current data in this report were collected from July 2014 through December 2015. These data have been available to the public prior to their presentation in this report. Subsequent references to this report and previously published annual reports will be abbreviated as the “XX Annual Report to Congress”; they will not include “on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”

Section 618 data consist of:

  1. the number of infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; the settings in which they receive program services; information on the transition at age 3 out of Part C; and dispute resolution information, and
  2. the number of children and students served under IDEA, Part B; the environments in which they receive education; their participation in and performance on state assessments; information on their exiting special education services; the personnel employed to provide educational services to them; disciplinary actions that affect them; and dispute resolution information.
Section I contains national data pertinent to Parts C and B of IDEA. It contains four subsections. The four subsections focus on infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B; students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B; and children and students ages 3 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B. The exhibits provide information about the characteristics of infants, toddlers, children, and students receiving services under Parts C and B; their disabilities; the settings in which they receive services; their participation in and performance on state assessments; their exits from Part C and Part B programs; their disciplinary removals; and their legal disputes. Also addressed are the characteristics of the personnel employed to provide special education and related services for the children and students. The data presented in the exhibits and discussed in the bulleted text represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico herein), and the four outlying areas of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (the Northern Mariana Islands herein), and the Virgin Islands. In addition, the exhibits that concern special education and related services provided under IDEA, Part B, include data for Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools operated or funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the three freely associated states: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Section II contains state-level data regarding Part C and Part B of IDEA. This section is organized into four subsections. The first subsection presents information about infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C, while the second and third subsections present information about children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, respectively. The fourth subsection provides information about children and students ages 3 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B. The four subsections address questions about the characteristics of infants, toddlers, children, and students receiving services under Parts C and B; their disabilities; the settings in which they receive services; their participation in state assessments; their exits from Part C and Part B programs; their disciplinary removals; and their legal disputes. Also addressed are the characteristics of the personnel employed to provide special education and related services for the children and students. The data presented in exhibits and discussed in the bulleted text represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, and Puerto Rico.

Sections 616(d) and 642 of IDEA require the secretary to make an annual determination as to the extent to which each state’s Part B and Part C programs are meeting the requirements of IDEA. To fulfill this requirement, the secretary considers each state’s State Performance Plan (SPP)/Annual Performance Report (APR). Based on the information provided by the state in the SPP/APR, information obtained through monitoring reviews, and any other public information made available, the secretary determines if the state meets the requirements and purposes of IDEA, needs assistance in implementing the requirements, needs intervention in implementing the requirements, or needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements. In June 2016, the Department issued the determination letters on implementation of IDEA for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2014 to 60 state education agencies (SEAs) for Part B and to 56 state lead agencies for Part C. Section III presents the results of the determinations.

When Congress reauthorized IDEA in December 2004, it amended the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-279) by adding a new Part E to that act. The new Part E established the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) as part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NCSER began operation on July 1, 2005. As specified in section 175(b) of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, NCSER’s mission is to:

  • Sponsor research to expand knowledge and understanding of the needs of infants, toddlers, children, and students with disabilities in order to improve the developmental, educational, and transitional results of such individuals;
  • Sponsor research to improve services provided under, and support the implementation of, IDEA [20 United States Code (U.S.C.) section 1400 et seq.]; and
  • Evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of IDEA in coordination with the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

Section IV of this report describes the research projects funded by grants made during FFY 2016 (October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016) by NCSER under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.

In the December 2004 reauthorization of IDEA, Congress required the secretary to delegate to the director of IES responsibility to carry out studies and evaluations under sections 664(a), (b), and (c) of IDEA. As specified in section 664(a) of IDEA, IES, either directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements awarded to eligible entities on a competitive basis, assesses the progress in the implementation of IDEA, including the effectiveness of state and local efforts to provide:

  1. FAPE to children and students with disabilities and
  2. early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and infants and toddlers who would be at risk of having substantial developmental delays if early intervention services were not provided to them.

As specified in section 664(c) of IDEA, IES is required to carry out a national study or studies that will inform efforts to ensure accountability for students who are held to alternate achievement standards. This section describes the studies and evaluations authorized by sections 664(a) and (c) of IDEA and supported by IES during FFY 2016 (Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016).

Under section 664(b) of IDEA (as amended in 2004), the secretary is responsible for carrying out a “national assessment” of activities supported by federal funds under IDEA. As delegated by the secretary, IES is carrying out this national assessment to:
  1. determine the effectiveness of IDEA in achieving the law’s purpose;
  2. provide timely information to the president, Congress, the states, local education agencies (LEAs), and the public on how to implement IDEA more effectively; and
  3. provide the president and Congress with information that will be useful in developing legislation to achieve the purposes of IDEA more effectively.

The national assessment is designed to address specific research questions that focus on:

  1. the implementation and impact of programs assisted under IDEA in addressing developmental and academic outcomes for children with disabilities,
  2. identification for early intervention and special education,
  3. early intervention and special education services, and
  4. early intervention and special education personnel.

Studies supported in FFY 2016 (Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016) that contribute to the national assessment are described in Section VI.

Appendix A presents the numbers and percentages of the resident population represented by the infants and toddlers birth through age 2 served under IDEA, Part C, in 2015 in each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the four outlying areas (American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin Islands) and children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B, and students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, in 2015 in each state, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, Puerto Rico, the four outlying areas, and the three freely associated states (the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands). It also presents the number of children served in each state, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, Puerto Rico, the four outlying areas, and the three freely associated states, by race/ethnicity.
Appendix B presents information about the children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 9 served under IDEA, Part B, under the category of developmental delay.§ Exhibits B-1 and B-2 provide data on the percentages of resident populations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico represented by the children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 9 served under IDEA, Part B, who were reported under the category of developmental delay, respectively, in each year, 2006 through 2015. Exhibit B-3 identifies whether each state, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, Puerto Rico, the four outlying areas, and the three freely associated states reported any children ages 3 through 5 or any students ages 6 through 9 under the developmental delay category in 2015.

Appendix B Footnote

§ This descriptor and other section 618 data descriptors in this report are italicized within exhibits, text, and notes to clarify that the reference is to a grouping of data.

Appendix C presents state-level information on the number of students who received coordinated early intervening services (CEIS) and number and percentage of LEAs and educational service agencies (ESAs) that were required to use 15 percent of IDEA sections 611 and 619 funds for CEIS due to significant disproportionality or that voluntarily used up to 15 percent of IDEA sections 611 and 619 funds for CEIS. In addition, state-level data are presented on the number and percentage of LEAs and ESAs that met the IDEA, Part B, requirements under 34 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) section 300.600(a)(2) and had an increase in IDEA, Part B, section 611 allocations and took the maintenance of effort (MOE) reduction pursuant to IDEA section 613(a)(2)(C) in school year 2014–15.

 (Found in Footnotes) The year in the title reflects the U.S. Department of Education’s target year for submitting the report to Congress. The most current data in this report were collected from July 2014 through December 2015. These data have been available to the public prior to their presentation in this report. Subsequent references to this report and previously published annual reports will be abbreviated as the “XX Annual Report to Congress”; they will not include “on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”

(Found in Footnotes) Section 618 data consist of:

  1. the number of infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; the settings in which they receive program services; information on the transition at age 3 out of Part C; and dispute resolution information, and
  2. the number of children and students served under IDEA, Part B; the environments in which they receive education; their participation in and performance on state assessments; information on their exiting special education services; the personnel employed to provide educational services to them; disciplinary actions that affect them; and dispute resolution information.

§ (Found in Appendix B) This descriptor and other section 618 data descriptors in this report are italicized within exhibits, text, and notes to clarify that the reference is to a grouping of data.