NASET News Alert

Ed Dept Seek Comment

May 26, 2006

Education Department Seeking Comment on Draft Regulations for Implementing Special Education Law

Web-based, unofficial copy displayed for parents, teachers and others in advance of public meetings; Official version expected to be published in Federal Register next week

The U.S. Department of Education today announced proposed regulations to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 and invited public comment. Passed late last year by Congress, the act updates the statute that provides special education services for America's 6.8 million children and youth with disabilities.

"The revised law aligns IDEA with No Child Left Behind," said John Hager, assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). "Today, NCLB and the IDEA are partners in serving our nation's children with disabilities, their parents and their schools."

Changes in the law require a new set of regulations to guide states in implementing IDEA 2004. The official copy of these proposed regulations will be published in the Federal Register within a few days. So that citizens will have as much time as possible to review the proposed regulations, the Department is posting an unofficial copy on its Web site at http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/idea2004.html.

Using that link, the public can also view the dates and locations for a series of public meetings where comments on the proposed regulations may be provided to OSERS. Information on submitting written comments on the proposed regulations can also be found using that link.

"Having feedback on the draft regulations from parents, teachers, students, state officials, and other interested persons is critical for us," said Troy Justesen, acting director of the Office of Special Education Programs. "We want the final regulations to reflect the dialogue we've been having with the public since the President signed the law last December."

Following are some of the highlights of the draft rules.

Reorganization of the Regulations. The proposed regulations are reorganized to follow the general order and structure of the statute. This will be helpful to parents, schools, and the public both in reading the regulations, and in finding the direct link between a given statutory requirement and the regulation related to that requirement.

Highly Qualified Special Education Teachers. The proposed regulations clarify that the highly qualified special education teacher requirements apply only to public school teachers.

Children with Disabilities Enrolled by Their Parents in Private School. The proposed regulations incorporate the statutory change that the school district in which the child's private school is located, as opposed to the school district where the child resides, is responsible for child find and services for these children.

Identification of Children with Specific Learning Disabilities. The proposed regulations lay out parameters for identifying students with specific learning disabilities and encourage the use of high quality instruction and response to that instruction as a part of the evaluation process.

Discipline Procedures. The proposed regulations closely follow the language in the statute.

Resolution of Disputes at the Local Level. The proposed regulations encourage cooperative resolution of disputes between the complainant and the school district when the complaint is about an individual child.

Due Process Procedures. The proposed regulations closely follow the language of the statute.

Parent Consent. The proposed regulations clarify that a public agency is not required to pursue an initial evaluation of a child if the parent does not give consent.

State Responsibility to Supervise Districts. The proposed regulations make clear that the State is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the implementation of the IDEA in its local school districts.


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