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OSERS: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
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2010 Archived News from OSERS

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blue flag bullet Guidance Targeting Harassment Outlines Local and Federal Responsibility

The Department of Education recently issued a guidance to support educators in combating bullying in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. The guidance, which comes in the form of a "Dear Colleague" letter sent to schools, colleges and universities, explains educators' legal obligations to protect students from student-on-student racial and national origin harassment, sexual and gender-based harassment, and disability harassment. The letter provides examples of harassment and illustrates how a school should respond in each case.

(November 23, 2010)

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blue flag bulletCelebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Passage of the IDEA

Celebrate the 35th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On November 29, 1975, then-President Gerald Ford signed into law the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142). In adopting this landmark civil rights measure, Congress opened public school doors for millions of children with disabilities and laid the foundation of the country’s commitment to ensuring that children with disabilities have opportunities to develop their talents, share their gifts, and contribute to their communities. While tremendous progress has been made over the years, we must continue the hard work and address the challenges that still exist. Although we are able to help many individual students to achieve their goals, we must strive to ensure that all children have the support they need and to find ways to meet each student’s needs within the context of each school.

(November 18, 2010)

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blue flag bullet Department Awards $3.5 Million to 15 Special Education Parent Centers; One Million Dollars to Ten Community Parent Resource Centers

The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of more than $3.5 million in grants to operate 15 special education Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers in 11 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. The Department also awarded $1 million to provide funding for ten Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs).

With the new grants, the Department now funds 106 information centers for parents of students with disabilities. Every state has at least one parent information center, which assist parents as they work to ensure their children receive a free, appropriate public education as guaranteed by federal law. In addition, Community Parent Resource Centers provide services to underserved parents of children with disabilities in targeted communities throughout the country.

For a list of Education Department-funded special education parent information and training centers, visit http://www.taalliance.org/ptidirectory/index.asp

(October 7, 2010)

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blue flag bullet Sue Swenson begins duties as OSERS deputy assistant secretary and Melody Musgrove becomes director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

Sue Swenson comes from her own company which specializes in management, payment technologies and social entrepreneurship to support people with disabilities and their families. Formerly the executive director of the Arc of the United States and the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, as well as the commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD), Swenson brings a wealth of experience in disability related issues including family support, inclusion, and transition to name a few.

Melody Musgrove came from LRP Publications where she served as the director of Business Development. Formerly, she was the state director of Special Education in Mississippi, a due process hearing officer, an assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Federal Programs for the Lawrence County School District, an assistant principal, and a special education teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Musgrove has been noted for her work to reduce the achievement gap for traditionally under-performing students, conducted statewide self-assessments, and designed and implemented a focused system of monitoring local districts.

(August 19, 2010)

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blue flag bullet 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act a Cause for Celebration and Rededication to Equal Educational Opportunity for Students with Disabilities

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) enactment by applauding the legislation and by rededicating the U.S. Department of Education to the ADA’s effective implementation.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation. It protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination and promotes their full inclusion into education and all other aspects of our society,” Duncan said. “I want to celebrate the progress that we’ve made and highlight our commitment to continuing the work of providing equal access for all Americans. I acknowledge we still have work to do and renew my commitment to ensuring that individuals of all ages and abilities have an equal opportunity to realize their full potential.

“With President Obama’s support,” Duncan said, “we are strengthening our efforts to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, have the tools they need to benefit from a world-class education that prepares them for success in college and careers.”

To learn more about OSERS, the ADA Technical Assistance Centers and the independent living programs authorized by the Rehabilitation Act go to http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/index.html?src=oc.

For further information about the ADA, Section 504 and OCR, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/ocr/disability.html.

(July 26, 2010)

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blue flag bulletAssistant Secretary of Education Alexa Posny to Discuss Reauthorization of ESEA, IDEA at Indiana Education Forum

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Alexa Posny will deliver remarks and participate in a Q&A at an education forum on Friday, May 28 in Bloomington, Ind. Dr. Posny will discuss the priorities in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and how it will serve as the roadmap for IDEA reauthorization.

The education forum is being sponsored by the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education.

Who:
Dr. Alexa Posny, assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services,
U.S. Department of Education

What:
Discussion of how ESEA reauthorization aligns with IDEA reauthorization at Indiana Education Forum

Where:
Bloomington High School South
1965 S. Walnut Street
Bloomington, Ind.

When:
Friday, May 28 at 9:30 a.m.

(May 28, 2010)

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blue flag bulletThe U.S. Department of Education Makes Public State-by-State Restraint and Seclusion Information

The Department has posted a summary of state laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines regarding the use of restraint and seclusion techniques in schools: http://www.ed.gov/policy/seclusion/seclusion-state-summary.html. The summary is a result of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s letter issued to Chief State School Officers on July 31, 2009, urging a review of current state policies and guidelines regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. Since August, the Department’s regional Comprehensive Centers have researched and compiled information on state-by-state restraint and seclusion techniques.

“Restraint and seclusion policies should be reviewed regularly to prevent the abuse of such techniques and ensure that schools provide a safe learning environment for all of our children,” said Duncan. “I am pleased that many states and territories have begun to work with their stakeholders to develop or revise current practices. The Department will continue to serve as a resource throughout the process to ensure that all students are safe and protected.”

Each Chief State School Officer or a representative of the Chief State School Officer reviewed and verified the information gathered.

(February 24, 2010)

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