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).

 

OSEP funds nine new centers and projects

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Oct. 24, 2017)—The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) announced the funding of nine new centers and projects Oct. 23.

OSEP distributes discretionary grants to help fund centers and projects specific to special education in order to support research, demonstrations, technical assistance and dissemination, technology and personnel development, and parent-training and information centers.

Of the nine new centers and projects receiving funding to support the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), three centers specialize in early childhood education.

For a complete list of OSEP Funded Centers, visit OSEP IDEAS That Work.

The following is a list of newly funded centers and projects:

Research and Development Center on Developing Software to Adapt and Customize Instruction in Digital Learning Environments

The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Inc. received funding for a new investment that will go towards developing software designed to adapt and customize digital materials for children with disabilities, whether or not delivered online.

The software should enable teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of children with disabilities.

Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities

Benetech received an award to further its Bookshare® project, which provides accessible resources using an online library collection of more than 350,000 titles to more than 360,000 people with print disabilities in nearly 50 countries.

National Technical Assistance Center for Inclusive Practices and Policies

The University of Minnesota received an award for its center, which will provide technical assistance (TA) to state and local education agencies on how to implement and sustain inclusive practices and policies for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in elementary and middle school programs.

National Center for Development and Dissemination of Digital Open Educational Tools and Resources Supported by Evidence to Enhance Personnel Preparation and Professional Development for Educators of Students with Disabilities

Vanderbilt University received an award for its IRIS center, which offers a wide variety of resources on evidence-based practices and programs, including instructional modules and research summaries primarily designed for use by college and university faculty, professional development providers, and practicing educators.

National Center for Improving Teacher and Leader Performance to Better Serve Children with Disabilities

The University of Florida received an award for its CEEDAR Center, which helps states and institutions of higher education reform their teacher and leader preparation programs, revise their licensure standards to align with reforms, refine personnel evaluation systems, and realign policy structures and professional learning systems.

National Center to Enhance Educational Systems to Promote the Use of Practices Supported by Evidence

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill received an award for its State Implementation & Scaling-up of Evidence-based Practices (SISEP) Center.

The center provides content and TA to establish large-scale, sustainable, high-fidelity implementation of effective education practices to state, regional, and district educational systems to maximize academic and social outcomes of all students, especially those students with disabilities.

Early Childhood Systems Technical Assistance Center

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill received an award for its Early Childhood System Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center.

This center will provide TA to states for building and maintaining high-quality early childhood systems equipped with supports to implement the IDEA consistent with its requirements.

The center will also support states in providing high-quality IDEA services for young children with disabilities and their families.

Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC)

The University of Connecticut Health Center its Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC), which will improve the quality of personnel who serve young children with disabilities and their families by providing TA to state IDEA Part C and Part B, Section 619 (preschool) programs for implementing high-quality comprehensive systems of personnel development (CSPD).

The center will also provide TA to faculty of institutions of higher education to develop programs of study for providing high-quality services and inclusive programs for young children with disabilities and their families.

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation

The University of South Florida received an award for a new investment to support young children’s social, emotional, and behavioral development, and reduce their challenging behaviors by developing an early childhood multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework.

The investment will also support states, early-childhood programs and personnel in implementing this MTSS framework.

Regulatory reform comment period extended one month

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Aug. 15, 2017)—The U.S. Department of Education’s announced its decision to extend the comment period for input on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement or modification Aug. 11.

The regulatory reform extension moves the comment deadline from Aug. 21 to Sept. 20.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) oversees policy and guidance distributed by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitative Service Administration (RSA).

For additional information about the regulatory reform process and directions for submitting comments, visit the OSERS blog post.

View the Federal Register notice

View OSERS-Specific Regulations

View OSEP Policy Letters and Policy Documents

View RSA Legislation and Policy

Department releases 2017 Determination Letters on state implementation of IDEA

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (July 20, 2017)—The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released its 2017 state determinations on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of Part B and Part C for fiscal year 2015 on June 28-29.

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 2017 Determination Letters Fact Sheet (Revised July 12, 2017)

View 2017 SPP/APRs for Part B

View 2017 SPP/APRs for Part C