The purpose of this FAQ is to assist early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with addressing privacy and confidentiality questions. This document is intended to provide responses to frequently asked questions to facilitate and enhance states' implementation of IDEA privacy and confidentiality provisions and can be used in conjunction with the 2014 side-by-side guide of the IDEA and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Confidentiality Provisions.
The Office of Special Education Programs announced a $2 million grant to the University of Minnesota's National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) to support states and local school districts in increasing participation and improving results for children with disabilities in state and districtwide academic assessments. The funds will also be used to help states meet data collection and reporting requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). NCEO will partner with Applied Engineering Management Corporation, the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, and WestED. Together, they will support states and local school districts in implementing appropriate, high-quality assessments for children with disabilities, and will increase the capacity of state and school district personnel to use formative and summative assessment results in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for children with disabilities.
The Office of Special Education Programs has awarded $4.4 million to improve literacy and education outcomes for students with disabilities, including dyslexia. Awards include a national center to focus on improving literacy skills of students at risk of not attaining full literacy skills due to a disability, including dyslexia (University of Oregon, $1.5 million grant); a national center on intensive intervention (American Institutes for Research, $2.1 million grant); and three grants for the development of model demonstration projects aimed at improving literacy outcomes for English learners with disabilities in grades 3–5 (University of Oregon at Portland: $295,676; The University of Texas at Austin: $245,905; American Institutes for Research: $269,856).
New Grants for Parent Centers under IDEA
New grants have been awarded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to operate 23 Community Parent Resource Centers in 17 states and a Parent Training and Information Center to serve American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The centers, funded under IDEA, provide parents with the training and information they need to work with professionals in meeting the early intervention and special needs of children with disabilities. For a list of Department-funded parent training and information centers, visit: www.parentcenterhub.org.
ED Reaches Settlement with South Carolina Department of Education on Funding for Children with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education announced that it reached an agreement (PDF, 189KB) with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE), settling the litigation involving the Department's claim of South Carolina's failure to maintain state financial support for state fiscal year 2010 and any future claims for state fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013. This settlement will bolster the Department's commitment to ensure compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), maintain funding levels in South Carolina, and direct additional funds toward improving results for children with disabilities.
OSERS Releases Guidance Regarding Education of Children with Disabilities Attending Public Virtual Schools
OSERS has issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) regarding the requirements in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that apply to public virtual schools. Over the last decade, there has been a proliferation of educational models involving varying degrees of in-person and online instruction and practice. This letter addresses the state's general supervision responsibilities and the applicability of IDEA's child find provisions to children attending public virtual schools. The letter also clarifies the responsibility for the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities attending public virtual schools.
Dear Colleague Letter (PDF, 336 KB)
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—Two New Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) on Assessment Requirements
(1) Title I, Part A—Academic Assessments and
(2) Title I, Part B—Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority
On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education proposed new regulations through two separate NPRMs. One set of proposed regulations would implement recent changes to the assessment requirements of Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). And another set of proposed regulations would implement changes under Title I, Part B of the ESEA as amended by the ESSA, including the ability of the Secretary to provide demonstration authority to up to seven State educational agencies to pilot an innovative assessment and use it for accountability and reporting purposes under Title I, Part A of the ESEA before scaling such an assessment statewide. The NPRMs address a number of requirements impacting students with disabilities including requirements for stakeholder engagement in the development of applications for the innovative assessment demonstration authority and issues of equity and inclusion, such as requirements for alternate assessments and assessment accommodations. A webinar, conducted on July 19, 2016, explaining the two NPRMs is available on the Department's website: "Overview of Proposed Regulations: Assessment" (PDF, 722 KB) . The Department encourages public comment on both NPRMs, which are available through September 9, 2016 and can be accessed through the Federal Register at the following links: Title I, Part A, and Title I, Part B.
OSERS issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that emphasizes the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarifies that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports. When schools fail to consider and provide for needed behavioral supports through the Individualized Education Program (IEP), it is likely to result in children not receiving the free appropriate public education to which they are entitled under federal law. The Dear Colleague Letter, as well as additional resources, can be found on the #RethinkDiscipline Web site.
2016 IDEA State Determinations
As part of its ongoing efforts to improve education for America's 7 million children with disabilities, on June 28, 2016, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released state determinations on implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Part B and Part C for fiscal year 2014, available on our GRADS 360° site. The Department made its determinations using both compliance and results data, giving each equal weight in making a state's determination. The IDEA requires each state to report annually to the Secretary on its performance under its State Performance Plan (SPP).
The State Determinations Fact Sheet (PDF, 111KB) provides information including the determination category for each state under Part B and Part C. OSEP will provide links to each state's determination letter and attachments early in July.
Dear Colleague Letter on Children with Disabilities Residing in Nursing Homes, issued April 26, 2016
This Dear Colleague Letter (PDF, 324KB) addresses the responsibilities of states, school districts, and other public agencies in addressing the special educational needs of children with disabilities who reside in nursing homes. Although their numbers are small, their medically complex conditions present unique challenges. Accordingly, OSERS is issuing this letter to clarify that children with disabilities residing in nursing homes and their parents have the same rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that apply to all other IDEA-eligible children, and to highlight some of the IDEA requirements that are especially relevant to the needs of this unique population. This letter also identifies best practices to assist states and their public agencies in meeting the unique educational needs of these children.
OSEP Memo 16-07—Response to Intervention (RTI) and Preschool Services, issued April 29, 2016
This OSEP Memo (PDF, 140KB) clarifies that an RTI process cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation for preschool special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Once a local education agency (LEA) receives a referral from a preschool program, the LEA must initiate the evaluation process to determine if the child is a child with a disability. An LEA may not decline a child find referral from a preschool program until the program monitors the child's developmental progress using RTI procedures.
IDEAs That Work Website
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), either directly and through its partners and grantees, develops a wide range of research-based products, publications, and resources to assist states, local district personnel, and families to improve results for students with disabilities. The IDEAs That Work website is designed to provide easy access to information from research-to-practice initiatives funded by OSEP that address the provisions of IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act. This website includes resources, links, and other important information relevant to OSEP's research to practice efforts. Please continue to check the website for new information that will be posted as it becomes available. See more at: https://www.osepideasthatwork.org