Text of Proposed Bill (282 pages)
Improving Education Results for Children with
Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act
would improve education results for children with special needs by
shifting the focus away from compliance with duplicative, burdensome,
and confusing rules, and placing a renewed emphasis on ensuring that
children with disabilities are learning. The following provides a
more comprehensive summary of the provisions included in the bill:
Accountability and Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities
The current IDEA system places too much emphasis on compliance with
complicated rules, and not enough emphasis on ensuring that academic
results are being delivered for children with special needs. As a
result of this misplaced emphasis, too many children in special education
classes have been left behind academically.
This legislation will ensure that States align their accountability
systems for students with disabilities to the NCLB accountability
system; assure that the IEP specifically addresses academic achievement
of students with disabilities; and give local school districts greater
flexibility in reviewing the progress of a child by replacing benchmarks
and short-term objectives with the regular reporting requirements
the paperwork burden
Good special education teachers are leaving the profession in frustration
with the current IDEA system's overwhelming and unnecessary paperwork
burden, contributing to what is becoming a chronic shortage of quality
teachers in special education.
This legislation will incorporate elements of Rep. Ric Keller's (R-FL)
paperwork reduction bill, including the 3-year Individualized Education
Plan (IEP) and the use of teleconferencing; create a ten
state pilot program that allows states to reduce the IEP paperwork
burden on teachers in order to increase instructional time and resources
and improve results for students with disabilities; and streamline
and decrease the paperwork burden on States and local school districts.
early intervention strategies
Currently, too many children with reading problems are being identified
as disabled and placed in special education where they do not necessarily
belong. This over-identification hinders the academic development
of students who are misidentified, and also takes valuable resources
away from students who truly are learning disabled.
Experts agree that strengthening the quality of reading instruction
programs across the nation will significantly strengthen special
education and address this problem directly. This legislation will
give flexibility to local school districts to use up to 15% of their
funds for pre-referral services for students before they are identified
as needing special education.
overidentification/misidentification of nondisabled children, including
A disproportionate number of minority students are wrongly placed
in special education rather than being provided positive behavioral
interventions and supports and intensive educational interventions.
As Education Secretary Rod Paige has noted, studies show the proportion
of minority students identified in some disability categories is dramatically
greater than their share of the overall population. More specifically,
African-American students are labeled as mentally retarded and emotionally
disturbed far out of proportion to their share of the student population.
For minority students, misclassification or inappropriate placement
in special education programs can have significant adverse consequences,
particularly when these students are being removed from regular education
settings and denied access to the core curriculum.
This legislation will require local school districts with significant
overidentification of minority students to operate pre-referral
programs that work to reduce overidentification; eliminate
the outdated "IQ-discrepancy" model that relies on a "wait
to fail" approach for identification of "specific learning
disabilities;" introduce a "response to intervention"
model that identifies students with specific learning disabilities
before the student is failing at grade level; and encourage greater
use of programs that rely on positive behavioral interventions
general education and special education teachers
A continuing shortage of special education teachers, coupled with
a shortage of regular education teachers who are adequately trained
to work with students with disabilities, hinders the educational achievement
of students with disabilities under the current IDEA system. Both
current and prospective special education and general education teachers
should have professional development to address the educational needs
of students with disabilities.
This legislation will refocus State Professional Development Grants
on professional development for school personnel working with
students with disabilities; align IDEA with requirements of NCLB
for "highly qualified" teachers so that all students
with disabilities are taught by a highly qualified teacher in core
content areas; and streamline Personnel Preparation programs and encourage
training of both special education teachers and regular education
teachers to work with students with disabilities.
trust and reducing litigation
Litigation under this Act has taken on more of a role of finding and
punishing school districts for technical violations rather than being
used to protect the substantive rights of children with disabilities.
The type of litigation breeds an attitude of distrust between the
parents and the school personnel rather than working cooperatively
to find the best education placement and services for the child.
This legislation will: encourage the use of mediation as early
as possible and create opportunities for voluntary binding arbitration;
require that complaints be clear and specific when they are
filed; and establish a statute of limitations of one year from
the date of the violation to file a complaint.
Encouraging innovative approaches to parental involvement and parental
Parents should be active participants in their child's education experience.
However, often under the current IDEA, parents of students with disabilities
are not fully informed or are often given limited options of where
or how their child can be educated.
This legislation will:
* enable parents and local school districts to agree to change the
IEP without holding an IEP meeting;
* allow school districts to use IDEA funds to support supplemental
educational services for students with disabilities in schools identified
in need of improvement under NCLB; and
* reform parent training centers to focus on all children with disabilities
and serve all parents of children with disabilities, especially low-income,
minority, and limited English proficient parents.
special education finance and funding
The current funding streams under IDEA are complex without necessity.
The funding streams under the Act should be simplified and a clear
path created to reach the federal full spending goal of 40 percent.
This legislation will simplify funding streams for IDEA Part
B Grants to States and establish a clear 7-year path to reach the
40 percent goal of APPE through the discretionary appropriations
Schools should be safe for all students and teachers. All students
should be treated the same when it comes to discipline issues to ensure
safety for all at the school.
legislation will require school districts to continue to provide educational
services to students with disabilities while allowing school district
personnel to have one uniform discipline policy for all children.
Full Text of Proposed Bill
More info about
Reauthorization of IDEA
Republicans Propose Reforms to Improve Educational
Results for Children with Disabilities
Special Education Bill Would Align IDEA with No Child Left Behind
Act, Address Concerns of Teachers, Parents, Students
RELEASE: March 19, 2003
CONTACT: Alexa Marrero or Dave Schnittger
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Led by Education Reform Subcommittee Chairman
Mike Castle (R-DE), Republican members of the U.S. House Committee
on Education and the Workforce today formally announced plans to introduce
legislation that would renew and reform the 1975 Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and make improvements to a system
that many parents and teachers say is overly focused on compliance
with complex bureaucratic rules, and not focused enough on ensuring
children with special needs are getting the education results they
Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act calls for
reforms to strengthen accountability and results for students, reduce
the IDEA paperwork burden for teachers, provide greater flexibility
for local school districts to improve early intervention strategies,
reduce the number of children who are wrongly placed in special education
classes, reduce litigation and restore trust between parents and school
districts, and align IDEA with the bipartisan No Child Left Behind
Act signed by President Bush in January 2002. NCLB requires federally-funded
schools to be accountable for providing a quality education to all
students, including students with special needs.
IDEA's many success stories, there is room for improvement in serving
children with disabilities. These children are still among those at
greatest risk of being left behind," said Castle. "Now more
than ever, we must make sure that children with disabilities are given
access to an education that maximizes their unique abilities and provides
them with tools for later successful, productive lives. We must continue
to be vigilant in our efforts towards improving the quality of education
of all children, including children with disabilities."
the leadership of Chairman Castle and full committee chairman John
Boehner (R-OH), the Education & the Workforce committee in 2002
conducted an exhaustive series of hearings on IDEA reauthorization
and also launched a first-of-its-kind web-based project -- dubbed
"Great IDEAS" -- soliciting input from stakeholders from
all across the nation on the reforms necessary to improve results
for children with disabilities. The more than 1700 responses, collected
from parents, teachers and school administrators, emphasized the need
for reform to refocus the law on improving results, and not on compliance
with burdensome and complex regulations. By seeking input from those
directly involved with special education, committee members were able
to craft legislation addressing the concerns of the parents of children
with special needs, and the teachers who work to educate those children.
pledged that the committee would move quickly with efforts to reauthorize
the IDEA law, which officially expired in 2002, and noted that federal
spending for IDEA has increased by 50 percent since President George
W. Bush took office, even amid the twin challenges of war and economic
unprecedented level of funding proposed by President Bush for FY 2004,
the federal government will be paying approximately 19 percent of
the overall cost of educating children with special needs -- a share
far greater than at any other time in history, and more than twice
what it was during the last time Democrats controlled both houses
of Congress and the White House. Since the GOP took control of the
House in 1995, federal funding for special education has increased
by 282 percent, compared to only 62 percent during the previous eight
years under Democrat control. The increased spending means it is now
more essential than ever that Congress take steps to strengthen the
IDEA system, Boehner said.
who believe money alone can be the magic cure for the problems in
our special education system are wrong," said Boehner. "Under
President Bush, the federal government is spending far more money
than at any other time in our nation's history for the IDEA system,
and even more money is on the way for next year. But increasing spending
alone is not enough. We have a responsibility to parents, teachers
and children to ensure that these resources are funding a system that
produces the best possible results. I commend Chairman Castle for
crafting legislation that will achieve this vitally important goal."
Republicans have also crafted a number of "companion bills"
to strengthen special education results for students in conjunction
with the Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities
Rep. Jim DeMint (R-SC) will introduce an IDEA school choice bill on
Thursday, March 20, 2003 aimed at promoting greater education choice
for parents with children who have special needs. And Rep. Joe Wilson
(R-SC) has introduced legislation to address the growing shortage
of special education teachers by dramatically expanding federal student
loan forgiveness for Americans who teach math, science, or special
education in disadvantaged schools. The Wilson bill was originally
proposed by President and Mrs. Bush, and is included in the President's
FY2004 budget proposal.