Department Releases 2019 Determination Letters on State Implementation of the IDEA

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (July 9, 2019) — The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released its 2019 state determinations on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of Part B and Part C for fiscal year 2017.

The 2004 amendments to the IDEA require each state to develop a State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR) that evaluates the state’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of the IDEA, and describes how the state will improve its implementation.

The IDEA details four categories for the Secretary of Education’s determinations. A state’s determination may be:

  • Meets the requirements and purposes of IDEA;
  • Needs assistance in implementing the requirements of IDEA;
  • Needs intervention in implementing the requirements of IDEA; or
  • Needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements of IDEA.

View 2019 Determination Letters Fact Sheet

View 2019 SPP/APRs Part B and Part C

OSERS posts four new letters in May

WASHINGTON, DC (May 31, 2019) – The U.S. Department of Education released four letters responding to requests for guidance throughout May.

The letters address independent education evaluation, due process hearings, evaluation/reevaluation and prior written notice.

Letter on a parent’s right to an independent education evaluation

Letter on evaluation/reevaluation and prior written notice related to functional vision assessment by an optometrist

Letter on individualized education programs and whether school district may invite an observer to an IEP Team meeting

Letter addressing questions on due process hearings procedures

View all policy guidance

Notice of Appeal in COPAA v. DeVos

WASHINGTON, DC (May 24, 2019) –The U.S. Department of Education released the following statement about significant disproportionality May 22:

“On May 6, 2019, the Department of Justice filed a Notice of Appeal in COPAA v. DeVos. The filing of this Notice of Appeal does not stay the district court order or alter the fact that the December 19, 2016 Equity in IDEA regulation on significant disproportionality is currently in effect.”

Calculating Significant Disproportionality

WASHINGTON, DC (May 21, 2019) – The U.S. Department of Education released the following statement about significant disproportionality May 20:

“Pursuant to the plain language of the December 19, 2016 Equity in IDEA regulation on significant disproportionality, and in conjunction with the March 7, 2019 decision in COPAA v. Devos, the Department expects States to calculate significant disproportionality for the 2018–2019 school year using the 2016 rule’s standard methodology, or to recalculate using the 2016 rule’s standard methodology if a different methodology has already been used for this school year.”

Update on Judicial Decision Regarding Significant Disproportionality

WASHINGTON, DC (April 4, 2019)

From the Department of Education:

“We want to make you aware of the March 7, 2019 judicial decision in COPAA v. DeVos that vacated the 2018 regulation delaying implementation of the December 19, 2016 Equity in IDEA regulation on significant disproportionality. The Department is reviewing the ruling and considering our options. This judicial decision means that the 2016 regulation is currently in effect. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) staff is collecting information from States about the status of implementation and discussing how to assist with any issues that may arise. If you have additional questions or concerns, please communicate directly with your OSEP State contact.”

OSERS posts four new letters in January

WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 13, 2019) – The U.S. Department of Education released four letters responding to requests for guidance Jan. 29.

The letters address students with disabilities in correctional facilities, discipline procedures, children with disabilities place in private schools by their parents, and response to intervention.

Letter on students with disabilities in correctional facilities

Letter on discipline procedures

Letter on children with disabilities place in private schools by their parents

Letter on response to intervention

View all policy guidance

U.S. Department of Education Announces Initiative to Address the Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion to Protect Children with Disabilities, Ensure Compliance with Federal Laws

By the U.S. Department of Education

WASHINGTON (Jan. 17, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that the U.S. Department of Education will launch an initiative to address the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), will oversee this proactive approach which will protect students with disabilities by providing technical assistance and support to schools, districts, and state education agencies, and strengthen enforcement activities.

See Press Release

Department publishes 2018 Annual Report to Congress on nation’s progress related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Dec. 20, 2018) —The U.S. Department of Education published its 2018 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) annual report to Congress this week.

The 40th Annual Report to Congress focuses on children and student with disabilities who received services specific to IDEA Part C for infants and toddlers or IDEA Part B for children and youth.

The report summarizes U.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.

Read the 40th Annual Report to Congress preface or download the report.

Special education programs office awards new, legacy grants

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Oct. 29, 2018) — The Department of Education recently awarded grants for new and legacy investments to centers that support infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) distributed these grants awards under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part D, which authorizes formula and discretionary grants.

OSEP issued recompete announcements, and the following centers received grants to continue work on legacy investments:

  • National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
    • Awarded to the University of Oregon
    • Currently known as PBIS
  • National Technical Assistance and Dissemination Center for Children who are Deaf-Blind
  • Center on Dispute Resolution
    • Awarded to Direction Service
    • Currently known as CADRE
  • Center for Parent Information and Resources
    • Awarded to the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey, Inc.
    • Currently known as CPIR

OSEP awarded new investments to projects that will focus on early childhood education. Those investments include:

You can view all of OSEP’s Part D investments using the OSEP Discretionary Grants Database.

 

Rethinking special education and rehabilitative services: Raising expectations and improving outcomes for individuals with disabilities

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Sept. 20, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released a framework of his office’s special education and rehabilitative services priorities today.

Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett said the framework communicates how OSERS will focus its work to advance Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ priorities and continue to progress its mission “to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities and the nation.”

The framework prioritizes rethinking all aspects of how OSERS serves infants, toddlers, children, youth and adults with disabilities. It highlights OSERS’ commitment to support states in their work to raise expectations and improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities; provide states flexibility to implement their programs within the constructs of the law; and partner with parents, individuals with disabilities, and diverse stakeholders.

“This will require an unwavering commitment to address barriers that stand in the way of improving opportunities and outcomes for each person with a disability and to make needed changes at the federal, state and local levels,” Collett said.

As an example of OSERS’ commitment to its framework, Collett addressed the need to rethink special education in a blog that highlights the importance of acknowledging the individual needs of each child to find the best way to prepare each individual for successful careers and a meaningful life.

“We must be willing to rethink special education in our country and to question anything and everything we are doing to ensure we are in the best position to serve students,” Collett said. “This work is too important, the need is too urgent and the stakes are too high for us to settle for anything less than whatever it takes to deliver on the promises we have made to children and families in our country.”

View OSERS’ new framework

View Assistant Secretary Collett’s blog on rethinking special education