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What You Need to Know About IDEA 2004
Section 1412: State Eligibility (the Catch-All Statute)


[Note: The text of this article is taken from Chapter 3, Overview of IDEA 2004, Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 ]

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 includes significant changes from the previous authorization, IDEA 97.

Parents, advocates, attorneys, and educators will refer most often to the following sections:

Section 1400 – Findings and Purposes
Section 1401 – Definitions
Section 1412 – State Responsibility -the Catch-all Statute
Section 1414 – Evaluations, Eligibility, Individual Education Programs, Educational Placements
Section 1415 – Procedural Safeguards

What You Need to Know about IDEA 2004 - State Responsibilities - the Catch-All Statute is one of a series of articles about IDEA 2004. (This is article taken from "Chapter 3, Overview of IDEA" in Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004)

Section 1412 - State Eligibility is called the “Catch-All” statute because it includes many diverse topics:

  • child find
  • least restrictive environment
  • transition to preschool programs
  • equitable services for children in private schools
  • unilateral placements
  • tuition reimbursement
  • assessments
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

The State is responsible for ensuring that all children who are eligible for special education services under IDEA are entitled to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE), including children who have been suspended or expelled. (Section 1412(a)(1)(A))


To remedy evaluations that have led to over-representation of minority children in special education, IDEA 2004 requires that evaluations be administered in the child’s native language or mode of communication and that “no single procedure shall be the sole criterion.” (Section 1412(a)(6)(B))

Child Find

Child find requires school districts to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities and determine which children are and are not receiving special education and related services. (Section 1412(a)(3))

IDEA 2004 was amended to include children who are homeless, wards of the state, and children who attend private schools. School districts must report data about the number of children who are evaluated, found eligible and provided services. These requirements apply to children who attend private schools in the district. (Section 1412(a)(10)(A)(ii))

Children Who Attend Private Schools

The law includes new requirements about equitable participation of children who attend private schools and consultation between public and private school officials.
The consultation process includes written affirmation, compliance, and complaints by private schools to the state.

Children who attend private schools are entitled to equitable services. Special education and related services may be provided on the premises of private religious schools. (Section 1412(a)(10))

Under “Child Find,” it appears that school districts are responsible for locating and identifying children with disabilities who attend private schools in the district, even if the child’s parents do not live in the district. However, current caselaw may lead to rulings that do not require school districts to accept responsibility for special education services to out-of-district children who attend private schools in the district. The child’s parents and original school district may be responsible.

Tuition Reimbursement for Private Placements

The law about reimbursement for parental placements in private schools is unchanged.

If the parent removes the child from a public school program and places the child into a private program, the parent may be reimbursed for the costs of the private program if a hearing officer or court determines that the public school did not offer a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) “in a timely manner.” (Section 1412(a)(10)(C))

Personnel Qualifications

The No Child Left Behind Act describes the requirements for highly qualified teachers and provides timelines so teachers of core academic subjects meet these requirements by the end of the 2005-2006 school year.

When Congress reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, they clarified that the highly qualified teacher requirements apply to special education teachers.

All teachers of core academic subjects, including special educators, must be highly qualified. Core academic subjects are “English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.”

The definition of “core academic subjects” is in Section 1401(4) of IDEA.

IDEA 2004 requires states to take measurable steps “to recruit, hire, train, and retain highly qualified personnel to provide special education and related services.” (Section 1412(c)(14))

Participation in State and District Assessments

The No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools teach all children, including children with disabilities, to proficiency in reading, math and science by 2014. All students in grades 3 through 8 will participate in the annual proficiency testing of reading and math. Annual science assessments are required by 2007.

In IDEA 2004, the language about who will participate in assessments was changed to

All children with disabilities are included in all general State and districtwide assessment programs . . . with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments, where necessary and as indicated in their respective individualized education programs.” (Section 1412(c)(16)(A))

For the child with a disability who has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the IEP shall include:

"a statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and districtwide assessments . . . [and]

if the IEP Team determines that the child shall take an alternate assessment on a particular State or districtwide assessment of student achievement, a statement of why . . . the child cannot participate in the regular assessment; [and] . . . [why] the particular alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child . . ." (Section 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(VI))

IDEA 2004 includes new requirements for accommodation guidelines and alternate assessments. (Section 1412(a)(16))

Reports to the Public

States and districts must issue reports to the public about state and district assessments, alternate assessments, and the performance of children with disabilities on assessments. (Section 1412(a)(16)(D))

State Advisory Panel

States must establish advisory panels to provide guidance on special education and related services. Members must be individuals who are involved in educating children with disabilities, including parents of children with disabilities, and individuals with disabilities. (Section 1412(a)(21))

Suspension and Expulsion Rates

The State must determine long-term suspension and expulsion rates for children with disabilities. If there are discrepancies, the state must revise its policies, procedures, and practices relating to IEPs, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and procedureal safeguards. (Section 1412(a)(22))

Over-Identification of Minority Children

The section about “Overidentification and Disproportionality” is new in IDEA 2004. (Section 1412(a)(24))

Congress found that African-American children are identified with mental retardation and emotional disturbances at far greater rates than white children. Schools with predominately white students and teachers place disproportionately high numbers of minority students into special education. (Section 1400(c)(12)(C))

States must develop policies and procedures to correct these problems. (Section 1412(a)(24))

Access to Instructional Materials

IDEA includes new requirements about access to instructional materials and accessibility standards. The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard is designed to provide instructional materials to blind persons and others with print disabilities in a timely manner. (Section 1412(a)(23)

Mandatory Medication Prohibited

School personnel are prohibited from requiring a child to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance (i.e., Ritalin, Adderal) to:
· attend school
· receive an evaluation
· receive special education services Section 1412(a)(25))

More Resources: IDEA 2004



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