OSERS: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
   Current Section

What's New in OSEP

New  Including Students with Disabilities in High-Quality Preschool
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released a policy statement highlighting the importance of making sure that all young children with disabilities have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the new policy statement in Kansas City, Missouri, during the first stop of his back-to-school bus tour.



Questions and Answers Regarding Inclusion of English Learners with Disabilities in English Language Proficiency Assessments and Title III Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives.
This guidance document is on the inclusion of English Learners (ELs) with disabilities in English language proficiency (ELP) assessments under Titles I and III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). These are assessments designed to measure the progress of ELs in attaining English language proficiency. The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) administers the ESEA and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) administers Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). OESE and OSERS are issuing the guidance to help states and LEAs understand how Part B of the IDEA and Titles I and III of the ESEA address the inclusion of ELs with disabilities in annual state ELP assessments. The 2014 guidance was amended by the 2015 Addendum.

  • July 2015 Addendum
    PDF (216KB)  

  • July 2014 Cover Letter:
    Word (203KB) | PDF (216KB)

  • July 2014 Q&A:
    Word (250KB) | PDF (94KB)



OSERS Blog: Including Young Children with Disabilities in High-Quality Early Childhood Programs
The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are proposing to release a policy statement on inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality inclusive early childhood programs. It is the purpose of this blog to request comments on the proposed statement. Please go to the blog to review the draft policy statement and provide comments no later than 6:00pm EDT, Friday, May 22, 2015.



National Center for Systemic Improvement
OSEP supports a grant for the Center for Systemic Improvement (CSI) to provide support to states as they work to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. The award was made under the FY 2014 CFDA 84.326R to a consortium led by WestEd and including the AIR, NASDSE, CCSSO, SRI International, and the National Parent Technical Assistance Centers (NPTACs). The goals of the center are to:

  1. Increase the capacity of state educational agencies (SEAs) and lead agencies (LAs) to implement their State Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIPs);

  2. Increase SEAs' and LAs' utilization of evidence-based practices (EBPs);

  3. Improve SEA and LA infrastructure and coordination for delivering effective technical assistance (TA);

  4. Increase the use of effective dissemination strategies;

  5. Increase the effectiveness of SEAs and LAs to meaningfully engage state and local stakeholders;

  6. Increase the capacity of SEAs and LAs to effectively utilize available TA resources; and

  7. Increase the capacity of SEAs and LAs to implement general supervision systems that support effective implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.



Local Educational Agency (LEA) Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Final Regulations
On April 28, 2015, the final LEA MOE regulations were published in the Federal Register. The LEA MOE regulations become effective on July 1, 2015. The purpose of the LEA MOE requirement is to ensure that LEAs provide the financial support necessary to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to eligible children with disabilities. The Department identified a need for revisions to the LEA MOE requirements based upon fiscal monitoring, audits and questions from states. Most of the changes clarify the way in which the Department has previously interpreted LEA MOE regulations and consolidate requirements from General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) and appropriations language. The final LEA MOE regulations are available on Regulations.gov.



Panel on Assessing the English Language Proficiency of English Learner Students with Disabilities
On March 16, 2015, the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) sponsored a panel on "Assessing the English Language Proficiency (ELP) of English Learner (EL) Students with Disabilities." Panel sessions included "Differentiating Language and Literacy Acquisition from Disability," "Valid and Reliable Assessments for English Learners with Disabilities," and "Assessing ELs With Significant Cognitive Disabilities—Alternate ELP Standards and Assessments, and Growth and Attainment Criteria." The event agenda ( PDF, 202KB) is available as well as the archived event.



Early Literacy Tools and Resources
The end of third grade is the point at which children transition from learning to read to utilizing reading skills to understand the content of all subject areas. To strengthen third-grade reading proficiency for all students, including students of color and students with disabilities, the My Brother’s Keeper Taskforce has established a dedicated early literacy Web site to provide educators with tools, resources, and a learning community to help them improve reading instruction in their K-3 classrooms.



IDEA Section 618 Data Has a New Home
OSEP has launched a new Web site to publicly report the IDEA Section 618 data as well as provide documentation associated with the data. See how each state is doing for infants, toddlers and children who receive services under IDEA.



The 36th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Section 664(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that the U.S. Department of Education report annually on the progress made toward the provision of a free appropriate public education to all children with disabilities and the provision of early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities. On Dec. 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education released the 36th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2014.

The 36th Annual Report to Congress contains six major sections that address the five annual report requirements contained in section 664(d) of IDEA. Sections I and II of the report contain national data and state-level data, respectively, pertinent to Parts B and C of the IDEA. The remaining four sections of the report include: a summary and analysis of the Department of Education’s findings and determinations regarding the extent to which states are meeting the requirements of Parts B and C of the IDEA; a summary of special education research conducted under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002; a summary of national special education studies and evaluations conducted under section 664 of the IDEA; and a summary of the extent and progress of the assessment of national activities, which focus on determining the effectiveness of the IDEA and improving its implementation. You can access all these reports on the OSEP's Annual Reports page



Leveraging Federal Funding to Support All Students—Focus Group Proceedings
The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and Office of Special Education Programs have undertaken a series of activities focused on identifying opportunities to leverage federal funds to best support improved outcomes for all students. A focus group of experts drawn from State and local practitioners, including audit and business officials, as well as representatives from the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, was convened to identify ways to move the field from the current state to the preferred state of practice in leveraging funding to support all students. Attached is a document, Leveraging Federal Funding Focus Group Proceedings, that includes an overview of the process and identifies the focus group’s recommendations to the Department. Also attached is a letter to State Directors of Special Education transmitting the document.



Guidance to Ensure All Students Have Equal Access to Educational Resources
On October 1, 2014 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced guidance, in the form of a Dear Colleague letter to states, school districts and schools to ensure that students have equal access to such educational resources so that they all have an equal opportunity to succeed in school, careers and in life. The guidance, issued by the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), provides detailed and concrete information to educators on the standards set in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is one part of President Obama's larger equity agenda, including the recently announced Excellent Educators for All initiative, and takes into account the ongoing efforts of states, school districts and schools to improve equity. The guidance, fact sheet, and resources for technical assistance are also available on the Resource Comparability Materials homepage.



New Correctional Education Guidance Package, Including an OSERS Dear Colleague Letter on IDEA for Students with Disabilities in Correctional Facilities.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder announced the release of a Correctional Education Guidance Package to help states and local agencies aimed at helping states and local agencies strengthen the quality of education services provided to America’s estimated 60,000 young people in confinement every day. Included in the package is OSEP’s Dear Colleague Letter on the educational needs of students with disabilities who are in correctional facilities and the requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as they apply to states, state educational agencies (SEAs), and public agencies (including local educational agencies (LEAs), and responsible noneducational public agencies) in educating these students.



Decreasing Dropout Rates for Minority Male Youth with Disabilities from Culturally and Ethnically Diverse Backgrounds
In a time when graduation rates are showing notable improvement among students of color and students with disabilities, there are still great challenges that remain. The National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities has published a monograph that explores the problem of high school dropout rates among American Indian, African American, and Latino males with disabilities and provide an in-depth look into the specific obstacles that impede this young population from graduating, while offering direction and articulating crucial changes that must be made to better serve these students. Read the the monograph.



A Literature Map of Dropout Prevention Interventions for Students with Disabilities
This research synthesis represents the most up-to-date review of dropout interventions for students with disabilities. The authors conducted an extensive search of the literature to find articles that described school completion interventions that yielded positive outcomes for students with disabilities. Of 544 potential studies, 19 studies met the inclusion criteria: 3 experimental, 1 quasi-experimental, 5 qualitative, 5 mixed methods, 4 correlational, and 1 descriptive. The most commonly implemented interventions involved multiple components involving mentoring, family outreach, academic support, attendance monitoring, additional support services, and students' participation in school-related activities. Several studies also targeted students' specific disability-related needs, such as self-determination skills, social skills, and vocational skills. Overall, the interventions were aligned with recommendations made by the Institute of Education Sciences as effective interventions for general education students (Dynarski, et al., 2008). Read the recommendations or the synthesis.



Last Modified: 09/14/2015