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IDEA Reauthorization News
News - Resources - Alerts & Newsletters

keuboard and paperOn December 3, 2004, the President signed the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) into law. Most provisions in the new law take effect on July 1, 2005.

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you represent your child's interests. You need to stay informed about changes in IDEA 2004 that may affect your child. If you are a teacher or special education service provider, the reauthorized law will affect you and your job.

IDEA 2004 - Learn about new legal requirements in IDEA 2004 that will have a profound impact on children with disabilities, their families and their teachers.

Download a free copy of
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004: Overview, Explanation and Comparison of IDEA 2004 & IDEA 97 by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq. This publication describes the substantive changes to the five key statutes of IDEA 2004 by section and subsection. Text added to IDEA 2004 is in italics. Text deleted from IDEA 97 has been struck through.

We are using this publication in our training programs to supplement Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy.
If you have either of these books, we encourage you to print this publication and attach it to your book.

IDEA Reauthorization News

December 3, 2004
. President Signs Reauthorized IDEA. The President signed the reauthorized IDEA into law today. The signing ceremony was attended by members of Congress and officials from the Department of Education. Most provisions of the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 will take effect on July 1, 2005.

November 18, 2004. House-Senate Conference Committee Votes on IDEA Reauthorization: The Inside Story. On November 17, 2004, the House-Senate Conference Committee met and voted to accept the Conference Report and reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. Read the "Inside Story" of this historic meeting.

November 12, 2004.
Congress Schedules Meeting to Reauthorize IDEA on November 17, 2004. The Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives issued a Media Release to announce a meeting on November 17 to finalize the bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

November 9, 2004.
Conferees Meet to Develop Compromise Bill. Negotiations to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are taking place now. On November 15, the House and Senate return to Washington for a lame duck session. If negotiations on the reauthorization bill are complete, Congress may pass the bill to reauthorize the IDEA this year. Please act now!

October 18, 2004. Speaker of House Appoints Conferees. The Speaker of the House of Representatives appointed conferees for the committee to develop a compromise IDEA reauthorization bill. What's next? Hard to say.

September 24, 2004.
Negotiations on IDEA Reauthorization to Begin. The Senate and House of Representatives agreed to meet in conference to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

June 30, 2004. Side-by-side analysis of Senate Bill 1248, House Bill 1350 with Parts A and B of the IDEA by the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS). (in pdf)

May 20, 2004. Senate Passes Bill to Reauthorize IDEA by 95-3 Vote. Outcome of Senate bill to reauthorize IDEA, full funding compromise, House-Senate conference committee will meet to develop compromise bill.

May 1, 2004. Senate to Vote on IDEA - National Call-In Day. According to our sources in Washington, DC, Senate Bill 1248 to reauthorize IDEA is likely to come to a vote next week. This Alert includes requests for action from two special ed advocacy groups.

March 19, 2004. National Call Your Senators Day. Parents and advocates must advise their Senators that the Senate Bill 1248 is not acceptable and they should not allow any bill containing provisions that damage children and youth go forward in Congress.

February 25, 2004.
Parents Urge Senate to Vote "No." Parents and education advocates are urging the members of the Senate to halt consideration of a bill that would drastically change the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Action on the Senate’s bill, S.1248, is anticipated next month . . .

February 4, 2004. Advocacy Groups Speak Out, Organize, Demonstrate. In recent months, advocacy groups have formed with the goal of preserving the IDEA. Their strategies include educating parents, policymakers and the media and teaching parents how to speak out. Other groups are planning a demonstration and march against Senate Bill 1248 in Washington, DC.

December 2, 2003.
Senate Adjourns, IDEA Postponed Until 2004. Congress adjourned for the holidays without reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There will be no activity on IDEA reauthorization until Congress returns in January, 2004.

September 3, 2003. Back to School, Backs to the Wall on IDEA Reauthorization. Learn about the battle to preserve the good IDEA, key issues, what you should do and say.

September 3, 2003. IDEA Talking Points. Describes issues that parents and advocates need to address in the Senate Bill to reauthorize IDEA, including discipline, elimination of short-term objectives and benchmarks, elimination of procedural protections for parents and kids, more.

August 3, 2003.
Ongoing Battle Against Low Expectations. The Center for Law and Education reports that the Senate bill to reauthorize the IDEA (S. 1248) will undermine opportunities under NCLB for students with disabilities. Kathleen Boundy of CLE sent a letter to members of the Senate HELP Committee that describes portions of S. 1248 that may prevent students with disabilities from receiving benefits under NCLB. (in pdf)

July 2, 2003.
Senators Listen to Parents, Advocates. The Senate HELP Committee
approved S. 1248 to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill between July 7th and July 31. The Senate bill is different from H.R. 1350 that was passed by the House of Representatives a few weeks ago. What happens next? What do you need to do?

June 26, 2003. Championing Children for Whom Reading and Learning is Difficult. Article about teaching children to read and the reauthorization of IDEA by Brent Staples of The New York Times. "It would be nice if Congress could stop fixating on the lawyers and focus on the fact that so many children are moving through the public schools without learning to read."

June 11, 2003.
Alert! Kids Need Our Help This Week. The Senate HELP Committee is drafting the IDEA reauthorization bill. It is absolutely imperative that all members of the Senate, especially the members of the HELP committee (names and states listed below), hear from their constituents - that's you!

May 7, 2003.
IDEA Update & Game Plan. Update on reauthorization of IDEA and House Bill 1350; a game plan you can use to educate your Senators and re-frame the debate about IDEA.

April 21, 2003. IDEA Threatened, Kids Need Our Help on April 29. The proposed reauthorization bill weakens IDEA in significant ways that will harm children with disabilities and will not lead to improved special ed outcomes. The bill introduces "optional" 3-year IEPs; eliminates IEP objectives and benchmarks; weakens procedural safeguards and protections for parents and kids; allows schools to suspend or expel kids who have behavior problems related to their disabilities for violating school "codes of conduct".

March 31, 2003. Analysis of Proposed Changes to IDEA. The National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) devised a "side-by-side" table that compares the current IDEA with the proposed bill.  This document will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of the bill. Share your concerns with your members of Congress.

March 19, 2003.
IDEA Reauthorization: Improve Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act. House proposes to align IDEA with NCLB, improve educational results, reduce paperwork burden, more.

February 25, 2003.
Paige Releases Principles for Reauthorizing IDEA. Sec. of Education Paige describes the "guiding principles in the reauthorization of IDEA" - accountability for results, expanded parental choice, a focus on what works, simplified paperwork and increased local flexibility.

February 13, 2003.
GOP Pushes School Choice & Increased Special Ed Funding. Congress proposes to increase funding for school choice, special education, teacher training, more.

July 9, 2002. Commission Issues Report and Recommendations to Improve Special Education. The President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education issued A New Era: Revitalizing Special Education for Children and Their Families, a report that includes findings and recommendations about how to improve the educational performance of students with disabilities.

June 6, 2002.
Congressional Hearing -
Learning Disabilities & Early Intervention Strategies. Congress hears testimony from witnesses about how to reform the special education referral and identification process.

June 6, 2002.
Congress Unveils Great IDEAs Site. Congress wants input from parents, teachers and others for recommendations about how to strengthen and improve the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

April 18, 2002
. Rich Disabled Pupils Go to Private School at Public Expense. Describes testimony by Chancellor Harold Levy and Francine Goldstein before the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education, points out inacccuracies, and sets the record straight.

April 16, 2002. Report from IDEA 2002 Hearing in NYC by Dee Alpert, Esq. Describes testimony before President's Commission on several topics: minority overidentification;
categorization; ADD & ADHD; identification practices and inadequate training programs for teachers of students with severe behavior disorders.

April 12, 2002. Report from Hearing on Parental Choice & Parental Involvement by Lilliam Rangel-Diaz. Lilly Diaz provides her personal observations and impressions of IDEA Reauthorization Hearing before President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education in Florida.

March 21, 2002. Reauthorization Hearing by Robert Berlow, Esq. Describes hearing about reauthorization before U. S. Senate. Lily Diaz of NCD, Dr. Pasternak, and others testified. Read article

February 18, 2002. Internet Survey of Special Ed Document Alteration, Falsification & Fraud. Parents, advocates, attorneys, and special education staff report that falsification of documents and forgery of signatures are widespead. Dee Alpert, a New York City-based attorney, is conducting a survey of these problems. Learn About Survey, Dee Alpert, Preliminary Findings

February 13, 2002. Dr. Martin Gould, research specialist with the National Council on Disability, testfied about the new working paper about IDEA reauthorization that focuses on accountability, achievement, and enforcement. In studies of IDEA from 1989 through 2000, NCD found that parents of children with disabilities support the law, but state and federal agencies have not enforced the law.

February 12, 2002.
Finally - A Chance to be Heard! This year, Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If you are involved in special education, your input is requested. Get involved! Donít procrastinate - the VIPs want your comments.

January 19, 2002. President Bush Proposes $1 Billion Increase in IDEA Funding. Read article

January 15, 2002.
President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education Holds First Meeting; Sets Meeting Schedule. Read article.

October 10-December 19, 2001
. The U. S. Department of Education will hold public hearings in several cities: Salt Lake City, UT; Mobile, AL; Minneapolis, MN; Providence, RI; Washington, DC; and San Antonio, Texas. Schedule of public hearings with contact information. Child care stipends are available. Interpreters will be present at the hearings.

October 2, 2001. President Bush issues Executive Order to establish Commission on Excellence in Special Education. Executive Order in pdf

This Commission will collect information, study issues, and recommend policies to improve the educational performance of students with disabilities. The Commission will prepare and submit a report to the President no later than April 30, 2002. Members of the Commission

Issues to be studied include:

  • appropriate early intervention in reading instruction
  • impact of early intervention on referral and identification of children for special education
  • impact on special education funding on decisions to serve, place, or refer children
  • ways to distribute funds that will lead to better results and eliminate incentives that prevent children from receiving quality educational services

Resources, Reports & Recommendations

Go to
IDEA Reports & Recommendations to read reports, surveys and recommendations about the strengths and weaknesses of the IDEA, our system of educating children with disabilities, and how the IDEA should be changed.

For example,
in January 2000, the National Council on Disability published "Back to School on Civil Rights." News Release The National Council on Disability found that most states have never complied with the law. NCD discusses the high costs to children and their families caused by the failure to enforce the law and recommends changes to the IDEA to meet the needs of children and their families.

Alerts & Newsletters

GAO Reports: Education. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) provides investigative reports to Congress. As reauthorization of IDEA progresses this year, we expect that GAO Reports will play an important role in informing members of Congress and the public. To be notified by email about GAO Reports About Education, follow this link: http://www.gao.gov/subtest/subscribe.html

IDEA News. Monthly newsletter from the IDEA Practices site; includes IDEA news, conferences and events, new products and resources. To subscribe, go to http://www.ideapractices.org/forms/maillist.asp#join

The Special Ed Advocate A free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, tactics and strategy, and Internet resources. Subscribers receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases, news, and events. Subscribe  Back issues of The Special Ed Advocate.

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