By Valerie C. Williams, Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Forty-seven years ago, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) opened the doors for children with disabilities. At the time IDEA was passed in 1975 (originally named the Educational for All Handicapped Children Act, or Public Law 94-142), Congress found that children with disabilities were excluded entirely from the public school system. The passage of IDEA meant that no more children with disabilities could be turned away from school and required that they have available to them “a free appropriate education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs.”
In fiscal year 2022, OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provided over $101 million to fund new programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities to assist states and local districts to improve results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21.
Please read about these programs below ( ALN# | Title ). Please note that all amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.
You can search all OSEP grantees by accessing the Office of Special Education Program’s Discretionary Grants Public Database (the FY 2022 new grant awards listed below will be added to the database by the middle of November).
Valerie C. Williams Director, Office of Special Education Programs Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Valerie C. Williams joins the Department as director in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the administration of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
By Katherine (Katy) Neas, Deputy Assistant Secretary Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
This month marks 46 years since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted. I couldn’t let this anniversary pass without sharing some reflections about the importance of IDEA, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reaffirming the commitment of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) to upholding this landmark civil rights law.
The U.S. Department of Education welcomes Katherine “Katy” Neas as the new deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).
“The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but children with disabilities and specially those of color experienced great challenges. I am over the moon to be at the Department of Education at this historic time and to be part of the team of individuals who are working to ensure all students succeed in the upcoming school year.”
By George Sugai
Professor Emeritus, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
The 45th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is particularly meaningful to me and to students with disabilities for four main reasons.
First, my career as a special educator began in Aurora, Colorado in the Fall of 1974. Although we were definitely “attempting to figure things out,” we developed the district’s first IDEA-shaped resource rooms for elementary, middle, and high school students with emotional and behavioral disorders; we wrote many of the first IEPs; and we created and implemented some of the first behavior intervention plans. IDEA gave us the vision, expectation, accountability, and responsibility to greatly enhance our special education efforts. For the first time, the education of students with disabilities and their families became a protected right and a reality rather than an informal afterthought. In addition, special education became an integral component and priority in general education.