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IDEA 2004: Publications & Reports
Law & RegsCommentary l  Guidance l Articles  
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 as follows:

Many legal, educational and advocacy organizations have published reports about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The IDEA 2004 Publications, Reports & Resources Page includes links to these reports and publications. The contents of this page will change as more reports are published. The page also includes background information and reports about IDEA that were prepared during the reauthorization process.

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you need to be familiar with changes in IDEA 2004 that will affect your child. If you are an educator, IDEA 2004 is likely to lead to significant changes to your work. Read these reports. Familiarize yourself with the issues.

Mellard, Daryl and the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities. Understanding Responsiveness to Intervention in Learning Disabilities Determination.

Article describes core features associated with RTI including the use of assessment to match students with appropriate instruction. Other core features are: high quality classroom instruction, research based instruction, classroom performance, universal screening of academics and behavior, continuous progress monitoring, research based interventions, progress monitoring during interventions, and fidelity measures (that the intervention was implemented as intended and with consistency). Since several versions of RTI have been implemented, the article describes common attributes including tiers of increasingly intense student interventions; differentiated curriculum; variations in duration, frequency, and time of interventions; placement decisions.

Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates (COPAA)

Comparison of H.R. 1350 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004) and IDEA '97 is published by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)

This publication is available in one PDF file of 190 pages and in 8 separate files as shown below. Additions to the law are marked with underlining and italics. Text deleted from the statute is marked with strike throughs.

* H.R. 1350 Comparison to IDEA '97 - full document (190 pages, 1.5MB)
* Part A, including Findings & Purposes, and Sections 602-609 (20 pages, 196KB)
* Part B - Sections 611-612 (34 pages, 276KB)
* Part B - Sections 613-614 (23 pages, 180KB)
* Part B - Section 615 (21 pages, 196KB)
* Part C (23 pages, 196KB)
* Part D (43 pages, 300KB)
* Title II (National Center for Special Education Research and Title III (Miscellaneous Provisions) (10 pages, 100KB)

This publication was prepared for COPAA by Jess Butler.
Permission to copy the document is granted provided that it is unedited and is attributed to COPAA.

(These documents are in PDF format and require Acrobat Reader for viewing. If you don't have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you can download a copy for free.)

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)

A User's Guide to IDEA 2004 by Robert Silverstein identifies additions, deletions, and important modifications to IDEA 2004 and includes legislative history. The Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations that has issued position statements about IDEA issues.

National Association of Protection & Advocacy Systems (NAPAS)

Summary of Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) with Current Law published by the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) (7 pages)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004: Overview, Explanation and Comparison of IDEA 2004 & IDEA 97 by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq. 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.
Congressional Research Service

Congressional Research Service Report for Congress: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Analysis of Changes Made by P.L. 108-446.

This publication focuses on changes in Part B of IDEA, the section that authorizes special education for children with disabilities ages 3 to 21. The report describes requirements for highly qualified special education teachers, provisions about the structure of special education and related services, and procedural safeguards that guarantee schools provide FAPE to children with disabilities. (47 pages)

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Council of Exceptional Children (CEC)

The New IDEA; CEC's Summary of Significant Issues published by the Council of Exceptional Children describes key issues and implications for CEC members. Issues include highly qualified special education teachers, paperwork reduction; personnel standards for related services providers and paraprofessionals; early intervention; overidentification of minority children; changes in discrepancy model;
IEPs & IEP team attendance; procedural safeguards.

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

The New IDEA: A Summary of Significant Reforms describes changes in identification of children with learning disabilities; elimination discrepancy models; discipline; reevaluations; early intervening services; IEP changes; personnel standards; child medication. (7 pages)

National Down Syndrome Congress

IDEA 2004 Summary from the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) looks at short-term objectives in IEPs, progress reports, transition, meetings, due process, and discipline.

National Committee of Parents & Advocates Organized to Protect IDEA

IDEA 2004 Summary published by the National Committee of Parents and Advocates Organized to Protect IDEA.

National Center on Secondary Education & Transition

Key Provisions on Transition - A side-by-side analysis of requirements about transition; identifies major changes between IDEA 1997 and IDEA 2004 published by The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.

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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

Formats     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.

Background Reports: IDEA 2004 Reauthorization

National Association of Protection & Advocacy Systems (NAPAS)

Senate Bill 1248 & House Bill 1350 & IDEA-97: Side-by-Side Comparison (142 pages) by the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS)

NAPAS is a nationwide network of congressionally-mandated disability rights agencies that focus on the legal rights of individuals with disabilities. NAPAS is the author of several articles and publications about IDEA reauthorization issues.

President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education

President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education (2002). A new era: Revitalizing special education for children and their families. Washington, DC.

The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)

The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) was established to provide national leadership in designing and building educational assessments and accountability systems that monitor educational results for all students, including students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency.

Read Accountability for Students with Disabilities.

National Council on Disability (NCD)

Back to School on Civil Rights: Advancing the Federal Commitment to Leave No Child Behind (IDEA Compliance Report) published by the National Council On Disability (NCD), an independent government agency. NCD's statutory mandate requires the Council to "Review and evaluate all statutes and regulations pertaining to federal programs that assist people with disabilities, to assess their effectiveness in meeting the needs of these people."

In Back to School, NCD reported that all states were out of compliance with the IDEA and described the high costs to children and their families caused by the failure to enforce this law. Other studies by NCD:

Improving the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Making Schools Work for All of America's Children (1996);

Improving the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Making Schools Work for All of America's Children (1995);

Inclusionary Education for Students with Disabilities: Keeping the Promise (1994);

Serving the Nation's Students with Disabilities: Progress and Prospects (1993) and

The Education of Students with Disabilities: Where Do We Stand? (1989)

Back to Top

Government Accounting Office (GAO)

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) is the investigative arm of Congress. The GAO conducted a study about discipline and concluded that the discipline protections of the IDEA are working and do not need to be changed.

To get this GAO report,
Student Discipline-Individuals With Disabilities Act, go to and search for report # GAO-01-210.

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

Rethinking Special Education for a New Century (May 2001). Examines special education provided to 6 million children with disabilities, identifies problems, analyzes causes, suggests solutions; recommends sweeping changes in federal special ed policy. If you are a consumer or provider, you should read this book! Order a free bound copy from The Fordham Foundation at 1-888-823-7474.

No Child Left Behind: What Will it Take? (February 2002). Identifies questions left unresolved by Congress and the many hurdles facing the U.S. Education Department and states, districts, and schools as they try to make this ambitious law a reality; offers suggestions for clearing those hurdles.

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Accountability in Special Education

Accountability in Special Education: A Walking Tour

Improving Special Education Monitoring: National and State Initiatives in Accountability

The Challenge in 2002: Implementing the IDEA (PowerPoint presentation)

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Created: 01/02/05
Last revised: 08/12/08

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