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Guidance on IDEA 2004
Law & RegsCommentary l  Guidance l Articles l News  
Publications  l Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

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The reauthorization of any law brings differing interpretations and questions. The information in IDEA 2004 at Wrightslaw will help you find answers to your questions. IDEA 2004 at Wrightslaw is organized into these sections:

Guidance from the Education Department

To provide guidance about how to implement IDEA 2004, the Education Department publishes topics briefs, model forms and other publications and documents. When the IDEA 2004 Regulations were published in the Federal Register, the Education Deparment also published model IEP, Procedural Safeguard, and Prior Written Notice forms.

Each brief focuses on a specific topic or legal issue (IEPs, assessments, discipline, procedural safeguards, etc.).

On July 23, 2013 the U. S. Department of Education issued a 64 page document consisting of questions and answers relating to Mediation, State Complaint Procedures, Due Process Hearing, Resolution Sessions and Expedited Due Process. The answers are "informal guidance" that represent the views of the Department. In addition to posting the complete document, Wrightslaw has broken it down into the specific components as smaller files.

     Complete 64 page document
     A. Mediation
     B. State Complaint Procedures
     C. Due Process Hearings
     D. Resolution Sessions
     E. Expedited Due Process

Model Forms

According to 20 USC Section 1417(e), model IEP, Procedural Safeguard Notice, and Prior Written Notice forms shall be published "no later than the date that the Secretary publishes final regulations ..." (See page 124 of Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004.) When the regulations were published in the Federal Register, the Education Department published these model forms, along with a one page document, Guidance on Required Content of Forms.

Model IEP Form (4 pages)

Notice of Procedural Safeguards (47 pages)

Prior Written Notice (2 pages)

FAQs, Tool Kits & Publications

Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities
- Brings together current, accurate information, including research briefs and resources designed to improve instruction, assessment, and accountability for students with disabilities in a format that is easy to access and to understand. The Tool Kit will assist state personnel, schools, and families in their efforts to ensure that all students with disabilities receive a quality education. (April 2006)

Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents at Private Schools (04/11) - This Q & A document provides guidance about requirements that public school officials consult with private school representatives; requirements for a "thorough and complete child find process" of children placed in private schools by their parents; the obligation to spend a proportionate amount to provide services to children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools. Other key changes relate to the consultation process, calculation of the proportionate share, location of services and transportation, and standards applicable to personnel providing equitable services. (44 pages)

Topics Briefs

Parental Consent for the Use of Public Benefits or Insurance - Non-Regulatory Guidance on Part B Regulations Regarding Parental Consent for the Use of Public Benefits or Insurance to Pay for Services under the IDEA, Issued February 14, 2013, and Effective March 18, 2013.

State and Districtwide Assessments - New requirements about accommodations; alternate assessments; new reporting requirements; additional information in IEPs (2 pages)

Discipline - New standards for manifestation determinations; new authority for school personnel; new standard for "special circumstances"; definition of serious bodily injury; authority of hearing officer; expedited hearings (3 pages)

Disproportionality and Overidentification - Policies and procedures; collection and examination of data; requirements when reviewing policies and procedures. (2 pages)

Early Intervening Services - Activities to implement early intervening services; professional development; evaluations, scientifically based literacy instruction; reporting requirements; use of funds. (2 pages)

Funding, State - Changes in formula grants to states; 7-year path to "full funding"; changes in state-level activities; LEA risk pool; flexibility; limitations (3 pages)

Funding, Local - Maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements; permissive use of funds; funds for charter schools (2 pages)

Highly Qualified Special Education Teachers - Definition of highly qualified teacher; requirements for special education teachers who teach to alternate achievement standards and multiple subjects; related services personnel and paraprofessionals; personnel development plans. (4 pages)

Initial Evaluations and Reevaluations - New provision about parental consent for children who are wards of state; new 60-day timeline for initial evaluation; procedures for evaluating children who may have specific learning disabilities; new procedures for reevaluations; new evaluation requirements before change in eligibility; new requirement about evaluating present levels of academic achievement and developmental needs of child. (3 pages)

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) - New requirements for present levels of educational performance; accommodations; assessments; changes in measurable annual goals, measuring progress, reporting progress; new requirements about services based on peer-reviewed research; changes to transition requirements; new requirements for children who transfer within and between states. (3 pages)

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team Meetings and Changing the IEP - Required members of IEP team; IEP team member attendance; excusal from IEP meetings; new provisions about changing IEPs; consolidation of meetings; alternate ways to participate in meetings. (2 pages)

Aligning IDEA with the No Child Left Behind Act - New definitions (core academic subjects, limited English proficient, highly qualified teacher); performance goals and indicators; requirements about reporting progress in educating children with disabilities to public and state; alternate achievement standards; records of migratory children; eligibility determination; personnel development plans. (3 pages)

Preschool: Age 3 to Kindergarten - Part C funds for children ages 3 to Kindergarten; expanded definition of "infants and toddlers"; new policies re: notice to parents, educational components; consent. (3 pages)

Children Enrolled By Their Parents In Private Schools - Orovision of services to children who attend private schools; child find requirements in private schools;equitable participation; requirements about children evaluated and found eligible; new requirements for consultation between public and private school representatives; written affirmation requirements; right to complain to SEA.

Procedural Safeguards: Surrogates, Notice and Consent - Adds procedures for appointing surrogate parent; revises requirements about procedural safeguards notice to parents; additions to notice content, requests for due process hearings, civil actions; consent for wards of the state. (3 pages)

Procedural Safeguards: Mediation and Resolution Sessions - New mediation requirements; new requirements about meeting with a "disinterested party"; new requirements about legally binding agreements, confidentiality of discussions, enforceability of agreement; new requirements for "resolution sessions"; limitations on attorneys' fees. (2 pages)

Procedural Safeguards: Due Process Hearings - clarifies who may request a due process hearing; specifies timeline for requesting a due process hearing; new prior written notice requirements and timelines; new requirements for hearing officers; new guidelines for issues raised at a due process hearing; new parameters for hearing officer decisions; timelines for bringing a civil action; additional provisions for awarding attorneys fees.

More IDEA 2004 resources.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-1-892320-16-2, 456 pages, 8 1/2" x 11", perfect bound) by Peter Wright and Pamela Wright is available in two formats. The book includes:

  • Full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 and IDEA 2004 regulations with analysis and commentary
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • No Child Left Behind Act
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Act
  • Decisions in special education cases from the U. S. Supreme Court
  • References and resources
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd ed. by Peter W. D. Wright & Pamela Darr Wright




    How to Order  Discounts   The E-book

Synopsis   Table of Contents  
About the Authors    Early Reviews

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition is designed to meet the needs of parents, teachers, advocates, attorneys, related services providers, school psychologists, administrators, college professors, hearing officers, and employees of district and state departments of education

Created: 01/02/06
Modified: 02/23/22

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