Since enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, Public Law (P.L.) 94-142, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (secretary) [and predecessor, the commissioner of education at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare] has been required to transmit to Congress an annual report to inform Congress and the public of the progress being made in implementing the act. The annual reports to Congress reflect a history of persistent commitment and effort to expand educational opportunities for children with disabilities.
In December 2004, Congress reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (P.L. 108-446), which was signed into law in the same month. The provisions of IDEA became effective on July 1, 2005, with the exception of some of the elements pertaining to the definition of a “highly qualified teacher” that took effect upon the signing of the act. With reauthorization of IDEA, the nation reaffirmed its commitment to improving educational results for children and youths with disabilities.
The 34th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2012 describes our nation’s progress in (1) providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children with disabilities, (2) ensuring that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected, (3) assisting states and localities in providing for the education of all children with disabilities, and (4) assessing the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities. The report focuses on the children and students with disabilities being served under IDEA, Part C or B, nationally and at the state level. In particular, Part C of IDEA provides funds to states to assist them in developing and implementing statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary interagency systems to make early intervention services available to all children from birth through age 2 with disabilities and their families, whereas Part B of IDEA provides funds to states to assist them in providing FAPE to children ages 3 through 21 with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. Throughout this report, infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; children served under IDEA, Part B; and students served under IDEA, Part B, refer to individuals with disabilities who receive services under IDEA, Part C or Part B. “Special education services,” which is referenced throughout this report, is a term that is synonymous with services provided under IDEA, Part B. Similarly, “early intervention services” is a term used synonymously with services provided under IDEA, Part C.
This 34th Annual Report to Congress, 2012 follows the 33rd Annual Report to Congress, 2011 in sequence and format, and it continues to focus on IDEA results and accountability. Similar to the 33rd Annual Report, 2011, the 34th Annual Report, 2012 contains six major sections that address the five annual report requirements contained in section 664(d) of IDEA. The sections are: (1) a summary and analysis of IDEA section 618 data at the national level; (2) a summary and analysis of IDEA section 618 data at the state level; (3) a summary and analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) findings and determinations regarding the extent to which states are meeting the requirements of IDEA, Parts B and C; (4) a summary of special education research conducted under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002; (5) a summary of national special education studies and evaluations conducted under sections 664(a) and (c) of IDEA; and (6) a summary of the extent and progress of the assessment of national activities, which focus on determining the effectiveness of IDEA and improving its implementation.
The content of this report differs from that of the 33rd Annual Report, 2011 in that the exhibits that present data about race/ethnicity were re-structured to accommodate the fact that all states reported child count data using seven race/ethnicity categories. In the 33rd Annual Report, 2011, these tables were structured to accommodate the fact that some states continued reporting child count data using five race/ethnicity categories. Given the nature of the available data about race/ethnicity for this report, it was again possible to create exhibits that present information about the percentage of population of children within racial/ethnic groups. Nevertheless, the child counts by racial/ethnic groups for each state are still presented in Appendix A.
A summary of the six sections and three appendices that make up the 34th Annual Report, 2012 follows.
Section I. Summary and Analysis of IDEA Section 618 Data at the National Level
Section I contains national data pertinent to Parts C and B of IDEA. It contains four subsections. The four subsections focus on infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B; students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B; and children and students ages 3 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B. The exhibits provide information about the characteristics of children and students receiving services under Parts C and B, their disabilities, the settings in which they receive services, their participation in and performance on state assessments, their exits from Part C and Part B programs, their disciplinary removals, and their legal disputes. Also addressed are the characteristics of the personnel employed to provide special education and related services for the children and students. The data presented in the exhibits and discussed in the bulleted text represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the outlying areas of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. In addition, the report presents data for special education and related services provided under IDEA, Part B, for Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools operated or funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Section II. Summary and Analysis of IDEA Section 618 Data at the State Level
Section II contains state-level data regarding Part C and Part B of IDEA. Similar to Section I, this section is organized into four subsections. The first subsection presents information about infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C, while the second and third subsections present information about children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, respectively. The fourth subsection provides information about children and students ages 3 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B. The four subsections address questions about the characteristics of children and students receiving services under Parts C and B, their disabilities, the settings in which they receive services, their participation in state assessments, their exits from Part C and Part B programs, their disciplinary removals, and their legal disputes. Also addressed are the characteristics of the personnel employed to provide special education and related services for the children and students. The data presented in exhibits and discussed in the bulleted text represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, and Puerto Rico.
Section III. Findings and Determinations Resulting From Reviews of State Implementation of IDEA
Sections 616(d) and 642 of IDEA require the secretary to make an annual determination as to the extent to which each state’s Part B and Part C programs are meeting the requirements of the statute. To fulfill this requirement, the secretary considers each state’s State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). Based on the information provided by the state in the SPP and APR, information obtained through monitoring reviews, and any other public information made available, the secretary determines if the state meets the requirements and purposes of IDEA, needs assistance in implementing the requirements, needs intervention in implementing the requirements, or needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements. In June 2011, the Department issued the determination letters on implementation of IDEA for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2009 to 60 state education agencies for Part B and to 56 state lead agencies for Part C. Section III presents the results of the determinations.
Section IV. Summary of Research Conducted Under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002
When Congress reauthorized IDEA in December 2004, it amended the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-279) by adding a new Part E to that act. The new Part E established the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) as part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NCSER began operation on July 1, 2005. As specified in section 175(b) of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, NCSER’s mission is to
- Sponsor research to expand knowledge and understanding of the needs of infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities in order to improve the developmental, educational, and transitional results of such individuals;
- Sponsor research to improve services provided under, and support the implementation of, IDEA (20 U.S.C. section 1400 et seq.); and
- Evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of IDEA in coordination with the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.
Section IV of this report describes the research projects funded by grants made during FFY 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011) by NCSER under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.
Section V. Summary of Studies and Evaluations Under Section 664 of IDEA
In the December 2004 reauthorization of IDEA, Congress required the secretary to delegate to the director of IES responsibility to carry out studies and evaluations under sections 664(a), (b), and (c) of IDEA. As specified in section 664(a) of IDEA, IES, either directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements awarded to eligible entities on a competitive basis, assesses the progress in the implementation of IDEA, including the effectiveness of state and local efforts to provide (1) FAPE to children with disabilities and (2) early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and infants and toddlers who would be at risk of having substantial developmental delays if early intervention services were not provided to them. As specified in section 664(c) of IDEA, IES is required to carry out a national study or studies that will inform efforts to ensure accountability for students who are held to alternate achievement standards. This section describes the studies and evaluations authorized by sections 664(a) and (c) of IDEA and supported by IES during FFY 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011).
Section VI. Extent and Progress of the Assessment of National Activities
Under section 664(b) of IDEA (as amended in 2004), the secretary is responsible for carrying out a “national assessment” of activities carried out with federal funds under IDEA. As delegated by the secretary, IES is carrying out this national assessment to (1) determine the effectiveness of IDEA in achieving the law’s purpose; (2) provide timely information to the president, Congress, the states, local education agencies, and the public on how to implement IDEA more effectively; and (3) provide the president and Congress with information that will be useful in developing legislation to achieve the purposes of IDEA more effectively. The national assessment is designed to address specific research questions that focus on (1) the implementation and impact of programs funded under IDEA in addressing developmental and academic outcomes for children with disabilities, (2) identification for early intervention and special education, (3) early intervention and special education services, and (4) early intervention and special education personnel. Studies funded in FFY 2011 that contribute to the national assessment are described in Section VI.
Appendix A. Infants, Toddlers, Children, and Students Served Under IDEA, by Age Group and State
Appendix A presents the numbers and percentages of the resident population represented by the infants and toddlers birth through age 2 served under IDEA, Part C; children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B; students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B; and students ages 14 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, in 2010, in each state, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, Puerto Rico, and the four outlying areas. It also presents the number of children served in each state by race/ethnicity.
Appendix B. Developmental Delay Data for Children Ages 3 Through 5 and Students Ages 6 Through 9 Served Under IDEA, Part B
Appendix B presents information on states that reported children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 9 served under IDEA, Part B, under the category of developmental delay. It also provides data on the percentages of resident populations represented by the children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 9 served under IDEA, Part B, who were reported under the category of developmental delay and information on states with different practices in reporting children and students with developmental delay.
Appendix C. Differences in State Reporting of IDEA, Part B, Disabilities
Appendix C presents information on the states that reported children and students ages 3 through 21 with other health impairments and multiple disabilities in different disability categories for IDEA, Part B, child count and educational environments data collections in 2010, and for the exiting and discipline data collections in 2009–10.