On June 30, 2017 the U.S. Department of Education will publish final regulations under Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the Federal Register. The final regulations make technical conforming changes needed to implement statutory amendments made to the IDEA by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and can be found at the Federal Register’s public inspection site on Thursday, June 29th and in the Federal Register on Friday, June 30th. As you know, the ESSA, which was signed into law on December 10, 2015, reauthorized the ESEA, and also made certain changes to sections 602 and 611 through 614 of the IDEA. Consequently, we amended the IDEA regulations in Parts 300 and 303 to reflect the conforming changes and to ensure consistency between Title I of the ESEA and the IDEA Parts B and C regulations.
As explained in the preamble to the final regulations, these changes revise relevant regulations that implement the IDEA statutory requirements amended by the ESSA that are applicable to children with disabilities. The amendments remove and/or revise IDEA definitions based on changes made to the definitions in the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, and also update cross-references to the ESSA in the IDEA regulations. For example, the definitions of the terms “core academic subjects” in §300.10, “highly qualified special education teachers” in §300.18, and “scientifically based research” in 34 CFR §§300.35 and 303.32 have been removed because these terms have been removed from the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA. We note, however, that consistent with section 9214(d)(2) of the ESSA, we have moved the qualification requirements for special education teachers, including the requirements regarding alternate routes to special education teacher certification, from 34 CFR §300.18(b)(1) and (2) to 34 CFR §300.156(c)(1) and (2). In addition, we have revised the definition of “regular high school diploma” in §300.102(a)(3)(iv) to incorporate the definition of “regular high school diploma” in section 8101(43) of the ESSA.
The amendments also made revisions to the alternate assessment requirements in 34 CFR §300.160(c). The changes clarify that if a State has adopted alternate academic achievement standards as permitted under section 1111(b)(1)(E) of the ESEA, the State must develop guidelines and conduct alternate assessments that measure the achievement of children with the most significant cognitive disabilities against those standards. To ensure consistency with regulations for Title I of the ESEA in 34 CFR §200.6(c), additional revisions have been made to 34 CFR §300.160(d), (e), (f) to clarify information to be provided to individualized education program Teams and parents regarding children with disabilities who are students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned with alternate academic achievement standards, as well as applicable reporting requirements.
Finally, the amendments also include technical corrections to previously published IDEA Part B regulations. To assist with your review of the regulations, we are attaching a chart that summarizes each change included in the final regulations. This chart notes the previous regulatory language, includes the new regulatory language or notes the relevant deletion, and provides the reasoning and authority for the change.
Thank you for your dedication and continued hard work in improving results for children with disabilities.