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Bridges4Kids IDEA Reauthorization Update

IDEA = Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IDEIA = Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004

Articles & Updates

 List of 125 Twitter Pages Related to Disabilities


Reexamining Rowley: A New Focus in Special Education Law - Three important events have occurred since the Rowley decision that impact the validity of the "some educational benefit" standard and change the nature of educational services that schools must provide to students who receive special education services under the IDEA.


Embracing ‘Response to Intervention’ - “RTI is this big thing that really can transform how we approach teaching all kids,” said W. David Tilly III, the director of innovation and accountability for Iowa’s Heartland Area Education Agency, which provides resources and professional development to 54 districts in the state. In practice, RTI can look quite different from school to school. But several key components are necessary for a successful program, researchers say.


Q&A Documents on the IDEA 2004 Regulations from OSEP - The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has published a series of Q&A documents from their recent regional implementation meetings on the IDEA 2004 regulations. The documents address highly qualified teachers serving children with disabilities; IEPs, evaluations, and reevaluations; monitoring, technical assistance, and enforcement; procedural safeguards and due process procedures; Response to Intervention and Early Intervening Services; serving children with disabilities placed by their parents at private schools; the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard; and discipline procedures.

OSEP Director’s PowerPoint Presentation on IDEA 2004 Final Regulations Now Available - To provide the public with an overview of the Part B Final Regulations implementing the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has been hosting a series of community-based public meetings. The PowerPoint presentation given by Alexa Posny, director of OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), is available online. It covers discipline, Response to Intervention, IEPs, monitoring, highly qualified teachers, private schools, the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS), and procedural safeguards.

Special Announcement: Final Regulations Released: IDEA 2004 - The U.S. Department of Education has announced the final Part B regulations to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). An official copy of the final Part B regulations of the IDEA will be published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2006.


Fact Sheet (PDF): Raising the Achievement of Students with Disabilities: New Ideas For IDEA

Final IDEA Part D Regs Issued - Service Obligations - The U.S. Dept. of Education has issued final regulations dealing with service obligations under Part D of IDEA - the Personnel Development to Improve the Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program. These regulations went into effect as of July 5, 2006.


Coming Soon? IDEA 2004 Regulations Under Review - The U. S. Department of Education sent the IDEA 2004 regulations to the Office of Management and Budget. The review by OMB is usually the last step before federal regulations are published. Why are the federal regulations so important? What changes did Congress make in IDEA 2004? What are burning questions do the regulations need to answer?


10 Tips: How to Use IDEA 2004 to Improve Your Child's Special Education - As the new school year begins, parents and teachers have questions about IDEA 2004. Do you know about specific changes in IDEA 2004? How will these changes affect your child? What are your responsibilities? How can you use IDEA 2004 to advocate for your child?


Special Education Law Changes Raise Concern - Recent changes to the federal law that governs how 7 million special education students are taught could weaken parental involvement and scare parents away from taking school districts to court, according to advocates who testified at a federal hearing recently.


How Do the Regs Compare to IDEA 2004? (PDF) - CEC's Side-by-Side Analysis of the Proposed 2004 IDEA regulations compares language presented in the law, language in the regulations, and comments on selected provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In general, the regulations stick close to the language in IDEA.

Why I Am an Optimist about IDEA 2004 - In Why I Am an Optimist about IDEA 2004, Pete Wright describes a fight he had at age 9, then explains why "I don't feel gloom and doom about IDEA 2004. I think we can use IDEA 2004 as a powerful tool to improve educational results and outcomes for our children. Here are some reasons why..."


Wrightslaw Alert! IDEA Regulations on Fast Track, Expected in June - Includes: IDEA Regs on Fast Track, Public Comments & Concerns, Schedule of Public Meetings, and IDEA 2004 Info & Resources.


An Analysis (PDF) of the Effect of the 2004 Amendments to IDEA on Private Schools (CAPE – The Council for American Private Education)


UT Utah House Passes Measures to Rein in 'No Child' Law - Members of the Senate Education Committee unanimously passed two Utah House measures Friday meant to keep the federal No Child Left Behind Act at bay.


Hope Follows Special-ed Act - U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, recently helped craft a bipartisan agreement to improve federal special education laws. "We’re still trying to digest it," Pat Dowey, director of special education for the Exeter Region Cooperative School District, said of IDEA. But Dowey has already found several things she likes.


President Signs Funding Legislation - On December 8, President Bush signed into law the fiscal year 2005 omnibus appropriations bill that includes funding for the Department of Education. The spending total is $920 million over last year's spending for education programs, but it is still $760 million less than the amount requested by President Bush earlier this year.


Transition: IDEA 1997 and H.R. 1350 (IDEA 2004) - Major changes between IDEA 1997 and H.R. 1350 (IDEA 2004) concerning transition services are identified in a side-by-side chart.


President Bush's Comments on the Signing of IDEA 2004 - On December 3, 2004, President Bush signed IDEA 2004. Read his remarks at the signing ceremony.


House Approves Special Education Update - The House on Friday approved an update of special education requirements and pledged less pressure on teachers and more enforcement of high standards for the disabled. The bill, approved 397-3, would be the first major revision to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in seven years. The law promises a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment to more than 6.7 million children with special needs.


Senator Kennedy's Statement on the Urgent Need for Reauthorization of IDEA


Congress Agrees to Update Laws on Special Education - Congressional negotiators have reached agreement on major changes in special education, aiming to boost discipline in class, better identify children with disabilities, get help to students earlier and reduce lawsuits by parents.


Parents Target Disabilities Law - When the U.S. Congress began efforts to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act about two years ago, parents of special education students across the country were caught somewhat off-guard. "We sort of found out about this on the fly and didn't really know anyone else who knew anything about it," said Sandy Alperstein, a Buffalo Grove, Ill. resident.


OCLB Special Education Primer: Discipline - The Data - Why amend IDEA ’97 disciplinary provisions now? The data that does exist suggests that students who have disabilities are treated similarly to general education students. The data also suggests that IDEA 97’ has not become an obstacle or barrier to schools’ disciplinary practices.


CEC’s Summary of Selected IDEA Reauthorization Issues (PDF) - Read the Top 10 Recommendations for IDEA Reauthorization from the Council for Exceptional Children, a private, non-profit membership organization for teachers and other professionals who work with special education students. Contains a good summary of various provisions. Outlines the differences between House and Senate versions. Congress is expected to take up, and likely decide, the issues involved in the reauthorization of IDEA in November.


Disability Groups to Converge on D.C. over IDEA - A number of national groups concerned about the education of children with disabilities and the current efforts to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), will come together on October 28, 2004 in Washington D.C. to lobby Congressional members and ask them to reconsider proposed changes to the Act.


U.S. House Appoints IDEA Reauthorization Conference Committee - On October 8, 2004 the U.S. House of Representatives appointed a 14 member conference committee to negotiate the IDEA reauthorization bill differences with the Senate conferees. The House conferees included a mixture of representatives from the Education and Workforce Committee, Judiciary Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee. It is expected that those from Judiciary will focus on procedural safeguards and those from Energy and Commerce will focus on Medicaid issues contained in the bill.


CHADD Applauds U.S. Senate Passage of IDEA - Following months of deliberation and debate, last week the U.S. Senate passed S.1248, the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), by a 95-3 vote.


Senate Approves Special Education Measure - The Senate approved major changes in special education intended to reduce paperwork for teachers and bolster enforcement by state and federal authorities.


Senate Approves Expanded Special Education Bill - The Senate voted Thursday to make the first major changes in special education law in seven years, aiming to get help earlier to struggling children, give teachers more freedom to discipline students and reduce tensions between parents and schools. The only main point of contention was over money, as senators overwhelmingly agreed to allow accelerated spending in coming years but rejected an attempt to make the increases mandatory. The Senate voted 95-3 to renew and update the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the 1975 law guaranteeing equal education to, by last count, 6.7 million children with disabilities.


U.S. Senate Passes a Bad IDEA - Many parents of children with disabilities were profoundly disappointed today with the passage of S.1248, the Senate bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Only Senators Stabenow (D-MI), Jeffords (I-VT), and Leahy (D-VT) appeared to have heard the concerns of tens of thousands of parents who have been voicing their opposition to this bill for the last year. These courageous Senators’ NO votes proved they value children and families over institutions.


Our Children Left Behind's IDEA Weekly Update - We started out this week in defense of teachers. In light of the “terrorist” slur uttered by U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, we thought it appropriate to point out that whatever our differences with individual teachers over the years, we admire and respect teachers in general. They are there, every day, in the trenches with our children. In fact, many of them are heroes. None of them are “terrorists.” Read “Teachers, Trust, and Terrorism,” posted on our Home page, to see what we’re talking about. (3-7-04)


U.S. Parents Urge Senate Not to Vote on Special Education Law - Parents and education advocates across the U.S. are urging the members of the U.S. Senate to halt consideration of a bill that would drastically change the federal special education law, known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Action on the bill is anticipated next month.


More States Protesting 'No Child' Law - A growing number of state legislators and school administrators are looking for ways to opt out of requirements they view as intrusive and underfunded.


IDEA Reauthorization: Challenging Behavior and Students With Disabilities - The 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) greatly enhanced the opportunities for students with disabilities to receive an appropriate education, even when presenting challenging and dangerous behaviors. While allowing schools to take immediate action to protect student safety, these IDEA provisions provide alternative means of addressing dangerous and disruptive behaviors while at the same time continuing the instructional and behavioral supports necessary to help students with disabilities meet their educational goals.

Damage Control With the Press: AYP Reporting Challenges - No Child Left Behind report cards are coming into the public's eye more and more, and we are noticing that the press is just naturally trying to find an angle to intrigue and irritate the public. With the fears and challenges associated with the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and assuring Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for all students, school officials are starting to point fingers and identify scapegoats for their perceived failures. Needless to say, students with disabilities (as a disaggregated data subgroup) are being implicated.


Take No Prisoners - "I entitled this past weekend’s IDEA Update, “A Call To Arms.” Knowledge is power, and so armed with knowledge, I believe we can be a formidable force. That’s what I was thinking about, of course, when I said we are “armed and dangerous.” I was thinking about the power of the pen, not the sword."


Our Children Left Behind's IDEA Weekly Update: A Call To Arms (February 1, 2004) - There are 6.5 million children receiving IDEA services – each of those children has parents, guardians, family members, and friends who care about them. That could be a formidable voting bloc, if we were united and vocal, and if we voted.


Our Children Left Behind's IDEA Weekly Update (January 25, 2004): Quite a week, with the first volley in the game we call the presidential election!  Shortly after releasing his comprehensive disability rights platform (including detailed recommendations on IDEA reauthorization, recommendations that go well beyond the usual “full funding” tripe and actually address enforcement and due process concerns), Senator Kerry went on to an upset victory in the Iowa caucuses.


Data Disconnect - Some policymakers have been asking us for "evidence" to support our arguments.


Home/School Partnerships: Who Really Cares? - I do! And I am very worried that this IDEA reauthorization will compromise the existing spirit of healthy home-school partnerships. In the name of education "reform," parents face the risk of being further and further pushed into situations in which they will be taken to their knees and forced to cooperate with educators versus being openly invited to collaborate for the benefit of our students.


U.S. Senate IDEA Bill Pushed Closer to a Floor Vote - The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) has heard that the Senate Reauthorization bill, S. 1248, has been hotlined for a Senate vote. That means that they are considering an agreement as to the number of amendments that will be offered in addition to Senator Gregg’s amended bill.


No Child Left Behind — Really? Why I Like This Law - "I am an attorney who represents children with disabilities. For more than 25 years, I have watched school after school 'drop the ball' — and not give proper education services to disabled children. The only recourse is for courageous and determined parents to take on school systems and make them follow the law, often leading to costly and painful lawsuits" - Bill Byrne.


Please Don't Leave 6.5 Million Children Behind: An Open Letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige - In December of 2001, I had the fine opportunity to celebrate the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act with you and an auditorium full of education leaders from across this great land. I vividly recall your compassionate style and sincere words as you placed your hands gently on my shoulder and whispered, "This is for your son."


Commentary: The Truth of the Matter - Our Children Left Behind has been up and serving American families and organizations with information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] reauthorization process since May. We have tried over these past five months to give straight and accurate information on the process, and to inspire families and organizations to contact Congress directly with their stories about IDEA and their concerns about the proposed changes.

NICHCY's IDEA News & Updates - click here.


Access and Equity in the Due Process System - Attorney Representation and Hearing Outcomes in Illinois, 1997-2002; by Melanie Archer, Ph.D., December 2002


Fighting for Kids - Shari Krishnan drove about 600 miles from Oakland County to Washington, D.C., this weekend to battle a fear in her heart.  Sharing the journey was her son, Nick, an 11-year-old student with autism.


IDEA Report July 22, 2003 (PDF size=68kb) - Updated IDEA Report from the Republican Policy Committee.


GAO Report on Special Education: Clearer Guidance Would Enhance Implementation of Federal Disciplinary Provisions - In the 2000-01 school year, more than 91,000 special education students were removed from their educational settings for disciplinary reasons. The GAO (General Accounting Office) was asked to determine where disciplined special education students are placed, the extent to which local school districts continue educational services for those students, and how the U.S. Department of Education provides support and oversight for special education disciplinary placements.  Highlights of the GAO report are available at  The full report is available at (both documents are in PDF format)


MO Discipline Split at Heart of IDEA Overhaul Debate - Any student who punched a teacher in the stomach, knocked a classmate off his chair, and then hit a school secretary with a tennis racquet would likely face severe punishment in the Park Hill school district in suburban Kansas City, Mo. But after a middle school student in special education engineered that mayhem there several years ago, Park Hill educators were dismayed by legal limits on how they could punish him.


Parents Rally In Washington on Special Education Issues


U.S. Discipline Split at Heart of IDEA Overhaul Debate - As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, what to do about the law's take on discipline has become a major point of contention.


U.S. Gregg, Kennedy Introduce Bipartisan Special Education Legislation - U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Ranking Member of the HELP Committee, joined together today, after months of negotiations, to introduce legislation to reform and reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


IDEA Reauthorization Schedule Update - from NAPAS, May 22, 2003


H.R. 1350 Will Not Accomplish The Goals of its Proponents - from the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc. (NAPAS)


VA Disabled by Paperwork? - After her students have all gone home, teacher Sandra Feinberg often finds her work is far from over. Most days, though, she doesn't spend that quiet time in her empty classroom planning lessons or grading papers.


Impact of Discipline Changes on Minority Students - Minority Children With Disabilities Will Be Harmed In Disproportionate Numbers if IDEA's Discipline Safeguards Are Reduced or Eliminated.


Whose IDEA Is It, Anyway? Honor Roll of Organizations


MD Rep. Van Hollen Introduces Bill to "Keep Our Promises" to American School Children - "Keep our PACT" Act would fully fund No Child Left Behind, Special Education; Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) today introduced the "Keep Our Promises to America's Children and Teachers (PACT)" Act, which would provide full funding for No Child Left Behind Act programs and special education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


"Fully Funding" The IDEA? by Reed Martin, J.D. - How About Fully Complying With The IDEA: For 26 years we have heard arguments about "fully funding" the IDEA. What does that mean? And where do the arguments come from?


Read the memo circulated by House Republicans on April 29th warning colleagues of the National Call-In Day on H.R. 1350.


U.S. List of Proposed House Amendments to HR 1350 - Summary of amendments submitted to the Rules Committee on H.R. 1350.


House passes special-education reform - Sweeping reform of the federal special-education program passed the House yesterday, but two Republican efforts to allow taxpayer support for handicapped students in private schools were defeated.


Update as of April 25 on U.S. House and Senate action on HR 1350 - This IDEA Reauthorizationupdate is from the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems.


House Backs Vast Changes in Education for Disabled - While passing major changes to special education laws, the House also voted against making it easier for disabled children to attend private school at taxpayer expense. Note: You must register to read this story.


bridges4kids EXCLUSIVE!  An Open Letter To Congress - On March 19th President Bush began the war against Iraq. That same day, Congress declared war against 6 million United States students who receive special education services nationwide by introducing HB 1350, the bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA].


bridges4kids EXCLUSIVE!  A Mom's Request Regarding IDEA Reauthorization - Wondering what to say to a Congressman?


Flexibility Sought For Special Ed Funds - Early intervention for students who have reading and other learning difficulties could help resolve problems early and reduce the number of students in special-education classes, Canton City School Superintendent Dianne Talarico recently told a congressional panel.


CEC Continues to Call for the Elimination of Benchmarks and Objectives in IEP's - To dig special education teachers out from the mountains of paperwork that keep them from teaching and planning lessons for their students, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is calling for major revisions to the Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) mandated by the federal government.


House Education and Workforce Committee to Unveil IDEA Reauthorization Bill


Special education may get overhaul - Better intervention, identification at heart of proposed bill.

U.S. Paige Releases Principles for Reauthorizing IDEA


President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education Report Available Online - A New Era: Revitalizing Special Education for Children and Their Families - click here.


Downloadable Presentations Available from Dr. Alan Coulter - View or download excellent slide presentations on IDEA reauthorization, Focused Monitoring, and efforts by the federal government to monitor state compliance with federal law by Dr. Alan Coulter. Dr. Coulter was a member of the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education, was a member of the federal Task Force developing the concept of Focused Monitoring, and is widely considered to be an expert in the efforts to improve results for children with disabilities.


The Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children - What do you think about the education deaf and hard of children are receiving?  How about the education your deaf or hard of hearing child is receiving?  Are your child's language and communication needs being met? 


AZ Software Aids Special Ed Teachers - Program created by Mesa district to cut paperwork


Minority Children With Disabilities Will Be Harmed In Disproportionate Numbers if IDEA’s Discipline Safeguards Are Reduced or Eliminated


IDEA Paperwork Reduction Act of 2002 - To provide relief to teachers, administrators, and related services providers from an excessive paperwork burden, and to reduce time spent by teachers on non-instructional activities, as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


A Timely IDEA, Rethinking Federal Education Programs for Children with Disabilities - This document, released by the Center on Educational Policy, includes essays by Thomas Hehir, former Director of OSEP, Larry Gloeckler, New York Director of Special Education, and Margaret McLaughlin, Director of a center for special education at the University of Maryland. (PDF format)


Congressman Boehner's E-Bulletin: Updating Our Nation's Special Ed Law


WI Special education formula criticized - The way Wisconsin pays local school districts for special education could be driving up the numbers of students labeled with learning or other disabilities, according to a Manhattan Institute study.


U.S. National Committee of Parents Organized to Protect IDEA - The National Committee of Parents Organized to Protect IDEA has been created to marshal the support of parents from across this Nation to ensure that the basic guarantees in IDEA are protected. The National Coalition of Parent Centers and the National Down Syndrome Society are spearheading this effort to organize and communicate strong parent support to protect this most important law.


A Timely IDEA, Rethinking Federal Education Programs for Children with Disabilities - This document, released by the Center on Educational Policy, includes essays by Thomas Hehir, former Director of OSEP, Larry Gloeckler, New York Director of Special Education, and Margaret McLaughlin, Director of a center for special education at the University of Maryland. (PDF format)


U.S. Congressman Emphasizes Early Intervention to Prevent Special Ed


U.S. Law is not the problem - The rallying cry of "too much paperwork" is another attempt to obscure the important issues and specific requirements of the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that are under attack.


The Politics of IDEA Funding - "With the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act up for reauthorization, policymakers have a chance to end the stalemate over special education spending while funding the law differently and smarter than we do now", writes Andrew J. Rotherham.


U.S. President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education


'Modest' Changes Seen for Special Education - A year ago, Republicans and Democrats seemed to be girding for a showdown over special education.


National PTA Delivers Education Funding Message to White House and Congress

Racial Inequity in Special Education - A Shocking Trend in our Nation's Public Schools.


Researchers support early intervention for all children with reading difficulties

U.S. Librarians Are Up In Arms - President Bush wants to remove any information that disagrees with his views from the Dept of Education web site, AND limit funding for ERIC!  "the department is working on a major overhaul of the existing website. They want to remove outdated material among other things and improve graphics and make it easier to use. In a memo sent to all senior staff, the department said that all information dated prior to Feb. 2001 will be removed unless it needs to be there for a legal reason or historical reason. However, they specifically said that one of the major criteria for deleting information from the website will be based on whether it meshes with the Bush administration's philosophies."


What Does IDEA Mean to You and Your Child? - click here to read this article.


New plan for special ed funds - White House panel wants range expanded for private services.


School Choice for Special Ed  


Panel Backs Special Ed Vouchers - A presidential commission has recommended that federal special education funds be allowed to pay for the cost of private services or schools attended by disabled students, so long as other students have the same options.


President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education Report Released


List of Principles for IDEA Reauthorization Issued by Senate Democrats - Senate Democrats issued a statement stating that they support legislation that ensures the civil right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children with disabilities. Principles include: full funding, fully enforced compliance, comprehensive early intervention or preschool services, teacher training enhancements, technology enhancements, viable parent involvement, effective protections, effective transition services, and effective coordination of IDEA with other federal, state and local programs.


Hearing: "Rethinking Special Education: How to Reform the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" held on May 2, 2002 - National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) Introduces IDEA Watch - In an effort to provide an ongoing chronology of events associated with the pending reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), NCLD has introduced IDEA Watch ( on its Web site. This new Web page tracks NCLD legislative activities as well as all IDEA related activities in the U.S. Congress, the Bush Administration (including the Dept. of ED), independent organizations and agencies, and important news stories.


Education Week's "Report Roundup"


Experts want focus to be on results - When it comes to special education, following the proper reporting procedure has become more important than achieving results, witnesses told a presidential commission here Monday. The prevalent method for identifying a learning disability is invalid, said David Francis of the University of Houston. Children are considered disabled when their performance is below the level that their IQ suggests it should be.


U.S. Special Education Taxis Up Congress' Runway - With the legislative runway now cleared of the recently signed Elementary and Secondary Education Act, lawmakers on Capitol Hill face what may prove to be the most contentious IDEA reauthorization in the law's history - more like this at


Get familiar with the policy paper helping to shape next year's debate on the reauthorization of IDEA - "Rethinking and improving special education"


Comparisons & Summaries     (top)

starMichigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) Commentsstar

on Proposed IDEA Part B Regulations (PDF)


Position Paper on IDEA Reauthorization - The National Committee of Parents and Advocates Organized to Protect IDEA represents millions of citizens who have come together to protect the educational guarantee required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The undersigned national, state and local organizations are united in opposition to the House and Senate bills that amend and reauthorize IDEA. Both of these bills weaken the rights and protections necessary to ensure that students with disabilities are not left behind.


Commentary: Demeaned, Diminished, Demoralized, and Drained - In the overall context of IDEA reauthorization from a parent perspective, this week has been full of rumors, anxiety, and emotions on overdrive. This is because amending Part B of the IDEA is one of the most important, if not the single most important, decision that our legislators can make in the lives of 6.5 million students with disabilities.

U.S. DREDF Analysis of SB 1248 - SCHEDULE FOR SENATE BILL 1248: The bill could come to the Senate floor at any time; the latest dates under discussion are April 7 or April 8. If the bill passes the Senate, it will go to conference where it will have to be reconciled with the House bill, H 1350.


U.S. Comparisons of House and Senate IDEA Reauthorization Bills: Side-by-Side Comparison (PDF size=1.2MB; 385 pages) and Section-by-Section Comparison (PDF size=200kb; 17 pages) from the Congressional Research Service, November 21, 2003


The National Association of Protection & Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) has a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the IDEA, S. 1248, and H. 1350 on its website.  Click here to view the side-by-side comparison in PDF format.


A Comprehensive Side-by-Side Comparison of Part C (the Early Childhood Provisions) of IDEA under Current Law, H.R. 1350, and S.B. 1248 - click here (pdf) (by Nancy Peeler, Michigan Department of Community Health Part C State Team Member and Maureen Casey, Parent Representative to the New York Part C State Interagency Coordinating Council)


U.S. Read/Download the provisions of Senate Bill 1248 on IDEA Reauthorization (provided by the Senate HELP Committee in Word format)


U.S. A Side-By-Side Comparison of Parts A & B of Senate Bill 1248 with HB 1350 and with the Current Provisions of IDEA (Compiled by Debbie Brown)


U.S. A summary of the Senate IDEA bill - Prepared by Bonnie Dunham, from Parent Information Center, Concord, New Hampshire.


H.R. 1350: Final Table Of Changes to Part C of IDEA - (pdf size=190kb) The final change to Part C was made on 4/29/03, and is in section 635, (a)(16)(B) - regarding the decision making process for determining settings for service.  The next step is for the US Senate to take action on the reauthorization of IDEA. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has responsibility for IDEA reauthorization in the Senate. The committee chair, Sen. Judd Gregg, has announced that a bill will be introduced by this committee before the Memorial Day recess; however, the schedule posted at the US Senate website <> for May 21-June 18 does not include anything for this committee pertaining to IDEA. So, keep your eyes and ears open! (from Nancy Peeler)


Council for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Statement Regarding HR 1350 - (pdf size=297kb) House Bill Jeopardizes the Future of Children with Disabilities, Promotes Litigation; National Disability Coalition Opposes HR 1350.


IDEA Reauthorization Briefing: IDEA Parental Choice Act of 2003


IDEA Update from the Arc US: Steve Eidelman and Paul Marchand - After 5 hours of debate, the House passed H.R. 1350 the Reauthorization of IDEA, by a vote of 251 to 171.


A Summary of H.R. 1350 - IDEA Reauthorization - as Passed by the U.S. House by Congressman George Miller (D-CA), Senior Democratic Member, House Education and Workforce Committee


Improving Educational Results for Children with Disabilities Act of 2003 - A Side-by-side Comparison: 1997 Law vs. 2003 Proposed Law


IDEA On Fast Track – Two House Bills Introduced


Whose IDEA is it Anyway? - The House Committee on Education and the Workforce voted on Thursday, April 10, to send H.R. 1350, "Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act" to the House floor. In a press release posted on its website on Friday, April 11, 2003, the committee pronounced that the bill was "hailed by school administrators as 'the best special education policy revisions we've seen in decades'."


The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Urges Swift Passage of Special Education Legislation, Despite Lack of Mandatory Full Funding - With the House Education and Workforce Committee scheduled to vote Wednesday, April 9, on a bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), AASA Executive Director Paul Houston called on committee members to pass the legislation and urged quick consideration of the measure by the full House. [source]


U.S. IDEA Reauthorizing Briefing #23 - Calling on parents, advocates, and friends of children with disabilities to mobilize to defeat H.R. 1350, the "Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act," the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) called the act "harmful to children with disabilities."

Commentary     (top)


U.S. Commentary: Grabbing the Brass Ring: Directing the Press - We are all being constantly reminded by our favorite advocacy organizations and other parent groups to write to our Senators and Representatives during IDEA reauthorization. It is the direct response that is always in order and essentially the proper first-line thing to do, and parents do it very well. The opportunity lies in your ability to help direct your local and favorite press outlets in their approach to IDEA reauthorization stories.


Commentary: Parents: The Invisible Majority - It is crunch time. Our last chance to make personal, visual contact with our US Senators is October 4-12, 2003, while they are home during a Senate recess. The Senate almost certainly will consider S1248, the bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA], sometime after this early October recess.


Commentary: Life and Death and the Battle to Save IDEA - On Monday, August 25, 2003 Michael Renner-Lewis III, a 15-year-old who had autism, went to school at Parchment High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Neither he nor his parents had any idea that he never would come home.


Commentary: Proposed IDEA Legislation Does Too Little to Benefit Students with Disabilities


Commentary: Signs of the Times - Today’s Detroit News ran an article about the Dearborn, Michigan Public School’s Code of Conduct. The article trumpets the Dearborn School Board’s recent “triumph” in expanding its Student Code of Conduct to 40-pages. Dearborn Schools Director of Student Services, Wageh Saad, is quoted as saying, “the student code of conduct is really a way to have a social contract in the schools -- 'These are things we don't do.' Students need to be aware of these."


MI Commentary: Parents Tired of Playing Hide-N-Seek During IDEA Reauthorization - Last Wednesday, when the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (The HELP Committee) moved a meeting, previously scheduled for 10 a.m. to "mark-up" the bill that proposes to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), to another room at an "unspecified time," parents across the country who have students with disabilities felt something fishy was going on in Washington, D.C.


Commentary: Now What??? What the Fight Over Special Ed Reform Is All About


Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) Comments on the Report of the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education - click here to view their comments.


Miscellaneous Resources     (top)


Archived IDEA '97 information - click here.


Links to Websites with IDEA Reauthorization Updates


A Few Websites Providing Information Related to IDEA Reauthorization


Take Your Faces to Their Places: The Press Packet - Congress is Leaving Children Behind - 6.6 million students with disabilities and their families stand to lose their right to a free, appropriate public education. H.R. 1350, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 30, 2003, threatens to dismantle the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Organizations & Groups     (top)


Links to Websites with IDEA Reauthorization Updates


Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the Progressive Policy Institute


Featured Website: Keep Kids Learning - In response to a poll showing that 44% of parents have a struggling learner in the household and that an overwhelming majority of parents and teachers believe that children with learning difficulties need to be identified and helped earlier, the National Center on Learning Disabilities has sponsored a new website designed to give parents and professionals a place to express opinions on the reauthorization of IDEA. Called, it allows visitors to easily send their opinions and concerns about the legislation to their Senator or Representative.


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