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

Department releases 2018 determination letters on state implementation of the IDEA

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released its 2018 state determinations on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of Part B and Part C for fiscal year 2016 June 26 and 28.

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 2018 Determination Letters Fact Sheet (Revised July 24, 2018)

View 2018 SPP/APRs Part B and Part C

OSERS posts new letter on IEPs and independent education evaluations

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON, DC (July 3, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Education released a letter responding to a request for guidance regarding the placement status of a child with a disability June 28.

The requester wanted to know if special education and related service must continue to be provided to a child whose parents have sought an independent education evaluation at the public’s expense after the child’s individualized education program team conducted a reevaluation and found the child no longer eligible for these services.

View the June 28, 2018 letter

View all policy guidance

Regulation postponed two years to ensure effective implementation

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON, DC (July 3, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Education published a final rule postponing the department’s significant disproportionality regulation by two years on July 3.

The department has postponed the compliance date for implementing the significant disproportionality regulations from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2020. The department has also postponed the date children ages 3 through 5 must be included in the analysis of significant disproportionality from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022.

“We have postponed the compliance date in order to thoroughly review the significant disproportionality regulations and ensure that they effectively address the issue of significant disproportionality and best serve children with disabilities,” according to a department message sent to stakeholders June 29.

The department published the original regulation Dec. 19, 2016, and it issued a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking to postpone the compliance date Feb. 27, 2018.

“This review is part of the Department’s regulatory reform activities pursuant to Executive Order 13777, ‘Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,’” according to the department’s message. “It is important to note that states must continue to meet their statutory obligation to make annual determinations as to whether significant disproportionality exists in their LEAs [local education agencies].”

View final rule postponing compliance date

View notice of proposed rule making to postpone compliance date

View original regulation

Department proposes two-year postponement of significant disproportionality regulations implementation

WASHINGTON (Feb. 27, 2018)—The U.S. Department of Education published a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the Department’s significant disproportionality regulations in the Federal Register for comment Feb. 27.

The department has proposed to postpone compliance of the Dec. 19, 2016 regulations for two years by changing the compliance date from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2020.

The department also proposed to postpone the date children ages three through five must be included in the analysis of significant disproportionality from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2022.

“We are proposing to postpone the compliance date in order to thoroughly review the significant disproportionality regulations and ensure that that they effectively address the issue of significant disproportionality and best serve children with disabilities. This analysis is part of the Department’s Regulatory Reform activities pursuant to Executive Order 13777, ‘Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,’” said the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in an email to state special education directors and other OSERS’ stakeholders Feb. 27.

The 75-day comment period on the proposed postponement begins Feb. 27.

Those interested in submitting comments can do so online at www.regulations.gov, which also has instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments and viewing documents.

Commenters can also submit hard copy comments via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. The notice of proposed rulemaking contains specific instructions for submitting hard copy comments.

View Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Department to automatically redirect old IDEA site traffic to new IDEA site April 30

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2018)—The Department of Education will automatically direct users from the Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004 site to the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website starting April 30, 2018.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) launched the new IDEA website in June 2017 in order to provide updated department information regarding the IDEA to the public including students, parents/families, educators, service providers and advocates.

The Legacy site was developed in 2006 as a result of the 2004 reauthorization of the IDEA. The site was updated mostly between 2006 and 2011 and had not received updates since 2013.

While the Legacy site will redirect users to the new IDEA site on April 30, content from the Legacy site is available for reference on the new IDEA website on the Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004 historical reference page.

OSERS determined it would leave the Legacy site live after the new site launched to provide stakeholders ample time to compare the two sites, adapt to the new site and provide feedback to OSERS.

OSERS has made updates to the site based on the feedback it received from stakeholders since the initial launch of the new IDEA website and will continue to gather feedback on the OSERS Blog.

OSERS will continue to enhance and add content to the new IDEA website to ensure the new site remains current.

IDEA website users are encouraged to bookmark the new IDEA website: https://sites.ed.gov/idea.

OSERS requests users still referring people to the Legacy site through their personal or organizational websites, social media accounts, communication documents, or other means update their communication channels to direct people to the new IDEA website.

 

Submit comments at the OSERS Blog

Read transcript from Feb. 2 Stakeholder Call

View the Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004 historical reference page

View the Department of Education’s June press release about the IDEA website

Department Welcomes Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Assistant Secretary

WASHINGTON (Jan. 26, 2018)—The U.S. Department of Education welcomed Johnny Collett, the new U.S. Department of Education assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Jan. 16.

Collett, a former high school special education teacher, has served as the program director of Special Education Outcomes at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and as the Kentucky state special education director.

Collett has also served as an assistant division director and exceptional children consultant both at the Kentucky Department of Education.

Collett will lead OSERS towards 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.

OSERS comprises the Office of Special Education Programs, which administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Service Administration, which administers titles I, III, VI, and VII, as well as Section 509 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). OSERS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary administers a number of special projects.

To learn more about Collett, view his bio.

Department submits 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 (Jan. 16, 2018)—The U.S. Department of Education submitted its 2017 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) annual report to Congress last week.

The 39th 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 39th Annual Report to Congress preface or download the report.

Department issues Q&A on Free Appropriate Public Education following Supreme Court decision

WASHINGTON (Dec. 7, 2017)—The Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released a Question-and-Answer document addressing the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, which clarified the scope of the free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The Court held that “to meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer [a child] an [individualized education program] IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”

The Q-&-A document provides an overview of the facts and issue in the case, a discussion of the IDEA FAPE requirements and includes questions addressing implementation considerations.

OSERS is interested in receiving comments from families, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders to assist us in identifying implementation questions and best practices that may inform future guidance on this decision.

OSERS will use the comments to identify implementation questions and best practices that may inform future department guidance on IDEA and FAPE.

Those interested in submitting comments should email OSERS at EndrewF@ed.gov.

View U.S. Department of Education Press Release.

View Questions and Answers (Q&A) on U. S. Supreme Court Case Decision Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1.

Download Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Case Q&A (PDF, 561KB).