Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2002 Reauthorization; Goals We Seek
We seek a Bill that:
Federally funds the IDEA program approaching the 40% funding level originally promised by Congress.
Requires the maximum provision of services to all eligible private and religious school students, and that such services be provided on site, consistent with the Supreme Court’s Agostini decision.
Strengthens the ‘child find’ provisions to ensure adequate and timely evaluation and identification of special needs students in private and parochial school and eliminates the disincentive for school districts not to provide above mentioned evaluation and identification.
Strengthens the existing complaint procedure and by-pass language to that similar to the recently re-authorized ESEA’s Title I, including the ‘child find’/evaluation process.
Requires the annual federal report to provide separate data on all referred, identified and served children in public, private and parochial schools. Provides for appropriate due process procedures for parents of eligible students in private and parochial schools.
Requires federal monitors who evaluate the implementation of IDEA programs to include private and parochial school representation.
Includes language which would prevent the amount of state and local dollars available to provide services for private and parochial school students from counting against their fair share of federal dollars under IDEA
WHAT IT IS IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is the legislation that funds and oversees Federal funding for special education. This year, IDEA must be re-authorized by Congress. The Orthodox Union, along with a broad coalition of like-minded education advocacy groups, is working to improve the implementation of IDEA to better serve private and parochial school students.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH IDEA To the great disservice of special needs students in nonpublic schools and their families, the amendments in the 1997 IDEA reauthorization enshrined a fundamentally inequitable framework in IDEA. The current law provides every disabled public school student an individual entitlement to receive the full range of free special education services (including, but not limited to, physical, speech and occupational therapy, classroom shadows, etc.), but denies this basic right to other students with identical disabilities solely
because they attend nonpublic schools. This inequality of similarly situated public and nonpublic school students under the present IDEA has engendered a nationwide crisis for the private school community in which the needs of thousands of special needs children are going unmet.
WHAT ARE WE ASKING FOR A bill that, 1) Federally funds the IDEA program approaching the 40% funding level originally promised by Congress, 2) improves the child find provisions to ensure adequate and timely evaluation and identification of special needs students in private and parochial schools by local education authorities, 3) will require the maximum provision of services to all eligible private and parochial school students and that these services are provided on site, consistent with Supreme Court decisions and 4) includes in the IDEA reauthorization a provision that requires federal monitors who evaluate the implementation of IDEA programs to include private and parochial school representation.
WHO SUPPORTS IDEA The Orthodox Union has written to Secretary of Education Rodney Paige, members of the Bush Administration and members of Congress urging them to consider our proposals concerning the reauthorization of IDEA. We were joined in this letter by a wide range of education advocacy groups, both secular and religious including— Agudath Israel of America, the Association of Christian Schools
International, the Association of Montessori International/USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Friends Council on Education, the National Association of Independent Schools, the National Catholic Educational Association, the National Christian Schools Association, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.