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 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Overview amidst current concerns.

1.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a four-part piece of American legislation that ensures students with a disability are provided with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that is designed to support their specific needs. It is a Federal Law requiring an act of Congress to be altered. If you want to search the regulations within the federal law you would be looking for 34 CFR Part 300.

https://idea.ed.gov/

Massachusetts has its own regulations around IDEA. They are identical in many ways but exist because Massachusetts’ enforces stricter and narrower interpretation of the Federal Law in some cases. If you were to search specifically for the regulations within Massachusetts you would be looking for 603 CMR 28.00

2. Some people have expressed concern about the long-term stability of IDEA.  They were further concerned when the IDEA website was temporarily taken down in the days following the recent change in Presidential administration, including the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, new Head of the Department of Education.

OSERS (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services) site says this: "The servers hosting our idea.ed.gov website are experiencing technical issues. As we work to resolve this issue, information regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act can be found below."

And

"U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov) -- Temporary Home Page

The servers hosting our idea.ed.gov website are experiencing technical issues. We are working to resolve this issue, please check back later."

Effective February 16, 2017, the official IDEA website has been restored.  Additionally, much of its information is now also contained in the OSERS website.

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/osep-idea.html

3. The New Head of the Department of Education does not have the ability to eliminate or reverse the protections and protocols described in IDEA. To do that would require an act of Congress. Changes to existing law require a vote confirmed by majority or a two thirds vote if the President were to propose changes and Congress disagrees. The Head of the Department of Education may propose changes, but lacks any power to proceed without Congressional action.

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