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IDEA 40th Anniversary

40 years ago, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) became law.
Secretary Arne Duncan speaks on why that's worth celebrating! #IDEA40

Posted by U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In November, 2015, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Read about the history of this landmark legislation, exciting events surrounding its anniversary celebration, and new resources to help and support students with disabilities.

Twitter logo #IDEA40


IDEA Section 618 Static Data Tables Released
New Interested in the percent of the infants and toddlers, birth through 2, who are receiving early intervention services? Interested in the percent of students with disabilities, ages 6 to 21, receiving special education and related services in the regular classroom 80% or more of the day? OSEP's recently released Static Data Tables that provide data users easy access to these sorts of figures. The Static Data Tables provide commonly used percentages associated with the following IDEA Section 618 data:

  • 2014-15 Part B Child Count and Educational Environment
  • 2013-14 Part B Personnel
  • 2013-14 Part B Exiting
  • 2013-14 Part B Discipline
  • 2013-14 Part B Assessment
  • 2013-14 Part B Dispute Resolution
  • 2014-15 Part C Child Count and Settings
  • 2013-14 Part C Exiting
  • 2013-14 Part C Dispute Resolution


Grants for Model Demonstration Projects to Improve Literacy Outcomes for Adolescents with Disabilities
New OSEP funded three new awards for model demonstration projects to improve literacy outcomes for adolescents with disabilities under the FY 2015 competition CFDA 84.326M. Awards were made to the University of Texas at Austin, Michigan Department of Education, and The University Corporation at California State University, Northridge. Projects will develop, implement, and evaluate models that include a combination of effective instruction, professional development, and evidence-based teaching practices that are appropriate for classroom and small group settings. Working together, the projects will determine: (1) if and to what extent their models improve reading achievement and content area learning for adolescents with disabilities as well as typically developing peers and (2) for whom and under what conditions and contexts the models are maximally beneficial.


The 37th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
New 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 January 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released the 37th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2015.


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.




Last Modified: 02/11/2016