1 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Guide To Frequently Asked Questions . Committee on Education and the Workforce John Boehner (R-OH), Chairman Subcommittee on Education Reform Mike Castle (R-DE), Chairman February 17, 2005. Frequently Asked Questions Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act Table of Contents General ..1. What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)? ..1. Key Definitions ..1. What is a free appropriate public Education (FAPE)? ..1. What is the least restrictive environment (LRE)?..2. What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)? ..2. What is an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)?..2. Highly Qualified Teachers ..3. Are special Education teachers required to be highly qualified under the No Child Left Behind Act? .3. What requirements apply to special Education teachers who teach core academic subjects exclusively to children who are assessed against alternate achievement standards?
2 3. What requirements apply to special Education teachers who teach multiple core academic subjects? ..3. What requirements apply to special Education teachers who do not teach core academic subjects? ..4. Funding ..4. How has spending for IDEA Part B increased since Republicans won control of the House in 1994? ..4. What is the level of funding for IDEA for fiscal year '05? ..4. What does the President's '06 budget include for IDEA? ..5. Are local educational agencies (LEAs) allowed to reduce their own spending?..5. Can schools provide additional services to children before they are identified as needing special Education ? What activities can local educational agencies (LEAs) support with early intervening funds? Are LEAs required to support these activities?..5. Private What rights are provided to children with Disabilities , and their parents, who voluntarily enroll in private schools?
3 6. What are the obligations of local educational agencies (LEAs) in providing for children with Disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private schools?..6. Charter Schools ..6. Are charter schools required to serve students with Disabilities ? ..6. How and when must charter schools that are part of a local educational agency (LEA) receive funds? ..7. i Must a local educational agency (LEA) provide services to students with Disabilities that are attending charter schools within the LEA? ..7. New State Policies ..7. What are the new requirements to address over-identification of children, particularly minority children, for special Education ? ..7. What are the new requirements about medication for children? ..7. Does IDEA create a national special Education curriculum?..8. Individualized Education What is the timeline for getting a child evaluated for a disability?
4 8. If a child moves from one district to another within the state, does the IEP follow the child? ..8. If a child moves from one state to another, does the IEP follow the child? ..8. What if a parent doesn't provide consent for evaluation or for services?..9. What methods are local educational agencies (LEAs) allowed to use to identify a child as having a specific learning disability? ..9. Must all children with Disabilities participate in state assessments? ..9. Should all states have alternate assessments? ..10. Is there a conflict between IDEA and NCLB on assessments for students with Disabilities ? ..10. Is the IEP required to include benchmarks and short term objectives for all students with Disabilities ? 10. Who has to be part of the IEP Team? ..10. Do IEP Team members need to be at every meeting? ..11. Can the IEP be amended without reconvening the whole IEP Team?
5 11. Can IEP Teams use modern technology to develop the IEP and conduct meetings?..11. Procedural What is the procedural safeguards notice? When must it be provided? ..11. Does IDEA place a statute of limitations on when a due process complaint can be filed? ..12. Are there exceptions to the statute of limitations?..12. What is the due process notice? ..12. What actions must the LEA take when it receives a due process notice? ..12. What if the LEA believes the due process notice is not sufficient?..12. Does IDEA allow a party to amend its due process notice after the notice has been delivered to the hearing officer and other party? ..13. What requirements apply to a complaint?..13. When is mediation allowed? ..13. What requirements must states meet in developing mediation procedures? ..13. ii Can state educational agencies (SEAs) or local educational agencies (LEAs) actively encourage parents and schools to participate in mediation?
6 14. How does IDEA make mediation a viable alternative to parents and schools?..14. Does mediation produce a legally binding resolution?..14. What is the impartial due process hearing? ..14. What is the resolution session? ..14. What topics may be covered during the due process hearing? ..15. Who presides over the due process hearing? What qualifications must he or she meet? ..15. On what does a hearing officer base his or her decisions? ..15. When a parent files a complaint, how long does the LEA or SEA have to resolve the complaint?..15. How long does a party have to request a hearing after the alleged violation occurs? ..16. Are there avenues for appeal when a party disagrees with the hearing officer's decision? ..16. Does the due process hearing preclude a party from filing a civil action in court?..16. Can a court award attorneys' fees to the prevailing party in a civil action?
7 16. For what services may a prevailing party not be awarded attorneys' fees?..16. Can the court reduce the amount of attorneys' fees eligible for reimbursement under certain circumstances? ..17. Discipline ..17. In what circumstances do the discipline procedures apply? ..17. Does a school have to discipline a child with a disability in every instance?..18. Do IDEA discipline procedures apply if the child with a disability will be disciplined for less than 10 school days? ..18. If the discipline infraction of the child relates to drugs, weapons or serious bodily injury, will that child's discipline be handled differently? ..18. What process will determine whether the disciplinary infraction was the direct result of a child's disability? ..18. What does the term manifestation of a child's disability mean? ..18. Who are the relevant members of the IEP Team when conducting a manifestation determination?
8 19. What services and placement would then be available to the child if the actions are determined to be a manifestation of the child's disability? ..19. What services and placement are available to the child if the actions are determined not to be a manifestation of the child's disability? ..19. Can a parent appeal the decision regarding manifestation?..19. Where will the child receive services while the appeal is pending?..19. Do any of these procedures apply to children who have not been identified as having a disability?..20. iii Monitoring and Enforcement ..20. Who will develop the indicators used for the new monitoring and enforcement provisions?..20. Can the Secretary force a state to change its targets or establish specific targets?..21. Does the Secretary have to impose sanctions?..21. Are states required to monitor LEA progress in implementing the Act?
9 21. iv General What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)? The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the nation's special Education law. First enacted three decades ago, IDEA provides billions of dollars in federal funding to assist states and local communities in providing educational opportunities for approximately six million students with varying degrees of disability who participate in special Education . In exchange for federal funding, IDEA requires states to provide a free appropriate public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The statute also contains detailed due process provisions to ensure the provision of FAPE. Originally enacted in 1975, the Act responded to increased awareness of the need to educate children with Disabilities and to judicial decisions requiring states to provide an Education for children with Disabilities if they provide an Education for children without Disabilities .
10 Part A of IDEA contains the general provisions, including the purposes of the Act and definitions. Part B, the most frequently discussed Part of the Act, contains provisions relating to the Education of school-aged and preschool children, the funding formula, evaluations for services, eligibility determinations, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and educational placements. It also contains detailed requirements for procedural safeguards (including the discipline provisions) as well as withholding of funds and judicial review. Part B also includes the Section 619 program, which provides services to children aged 3 through 5 years old. Part C of IDEA provides early intervention and other services for infants and toddlers with Disabilities and their families (from birth through age 3). These early intervention and other services are provided in accordance with an Individualized Family Service Plan developed in consultation between families of infants and toddlers with Disabilities and the appropriate state agency.