IDEA Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary with New Website: IDEAs That Work

As part of the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the US Department of Education has launched a new website entitled IDEAs that Work: Preparing Children and Youth with Disabilities for Success ( This additional support for teachers and families of students with disabilities is designed to connect teachers and families with resources to assist them in supporting the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students as they become college and career ready.

President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (which is now known as IDEA) on Nov. 29, 1975. To learn more about the 40th anniversary celebration and to view a video about the history of IDEA, see these links: 40th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and

USDOE Issues Guidance and Solicits Ideas on Implementing IEP Goals at Students’ Enrolled Grade Levels

The US Department of Education (ED) has disseminated a Dear Colleague letter emphasizing that NCLB and IDEA regulations require students’ IEP goals to be aligned with curriculum from the grade level the child is enrolled in so that students with disabilities have meaningful access to state academic content standards (guidance-on-fape-11-17-2015.pdf). The overall focus of the requirements is to prepare students with disabilities for further education, employment, and independent living.

The letter also requests your comments so that better implementation of the requirements can occur (both in all special education populations and with English language learners). ED is interested in examples of models of alignment of IEP goals with state content standards that are working well at the state and local levels. If you are interested in commenting, please e-mail your comments to or write to US Department of Education, 550 12th Street SW, PCP Room 5139, Washington, DC 20202-2600.


OSERS Policy Guidance Clarifying Use of Terms Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia In IDEA

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) has received communications from stakeholders, including parents, advocacy groups, and national disability organizations, who believe that state and local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs) are reluctant to reference or use dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility determinations, or in developing the individualized education program (IEP) under the IDEA.

This policy guidance letter clarifies that there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents.

2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Allocations Reasons for Decrease

The 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Application is available in the Arizona Department of Education Grants Management system and the 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Allocations are posted on the ESS website at Individual local education agencies (LEAs) may see a decrease in their allocations. There are multiple reasons why this could have occurred.

  • The IDEA grant to Arizona did not increase; therefore, the allocation amount to distribute to all eligible LEAs remained the same as FY 2015.
  • During 2015, approximately 145 charter schools submitted the IDEA Charter School Expansion Act (CSEA) application, in which they identified special education eligible students enrolling in their charter during 2015. Within that application, they reported the district/charter from which the student withdrew. Each of these students was moved from the prior LEA to the new/expanding charter in the base special education counts for each of these prior district/charters and the new/expanding charter.
  • Individual LEAs may have had a decrease in their 10/1/14 enrollment and poverty counts as compared to counts reported 10/1/13.
  • Districts may have had a decrease in the reported number of parentally placed private school or home schooled students within their district boundaries reported 10/1/14 as compared to the reported counts on 10/1/13. This would affect the total enrollment used in the formula.
  • There was an increase in the number of Arizona LEAs eligible for IDEA funds due to new non-profit charter schools opening during the 2014/2015 school year.
  • The increases in the total special education base count, total enrollment, and students living in poverty resulted in the funds being spread further among eligible LEAs.

2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Application

The Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Service division is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement application. The purpose of these funds is to assist in assuring that all children with disabilities, aged 3 through 21, have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs. A LEA may use the funds under Part B for the excess costs of providing special education and related services. It is strongly recommended that you download the 2016 IDEA Basic Application Download and worksheets prior to the final online application submission. You may confirm your FY 2016 allocation by viewing the 2016 IDEA Basic Entitlement Allocations at

The U.S. Department of Education Issues Three Informative Reports

The U.S. Department of Education has recently prepared and posted three new documents. The first is an English language learner toolkit helpful for identifying students, assuring access, and evaluating programs. It is helpful to use this letter in conjunction with the “Dear Colleague” letter issued in January 2015. The toolkit is available at this address:

 The second is an Office for Civil Rights (OCR) report on its yearly activities for the president and the secretary of education. The report, “Protecting Civil Rights: Advancing Equity,” discusses how OCR has evolved to meet changing needs and addresses Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Discrimination Based on Disability. This report is available at: Another package of information from OCR is available in regard to implementation of Title IX. The material for this third collection is available at

USDOE Requests Comments On Proposed Policy Statement On Inclusion of Young Children with Disabilities in High-Quality Inclusive EC Programs

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are proposing to release a policy statement on inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality inclusive early childhood programs. It is the purpose of this blog (blog link below) to request comments on the proposed statement. Within the blog, please review the attached draft policy statement and provide comments no later than 6:00pm EDT, Friday, May 22, 2015. Click the link below to read the entire blog with the Draft Policy Statement and Executive Summary.


Dear Colleague Letter related to IDEA Dispute Resolution.

Some public agencies may be filing due process complaints concerning the same issue that is the subject of an ongoing State complaint resolution, ostensibly to delay the State complaint process and force parents to participate in, or ignore at considerable risk, due process complaints and hearings. As noted in the Dear Colleague Letter, this moves parents into a more adversarial and costly dispute resolution process and is not in the best interest of children. Note that this letter clarifies existing requirements relative to the IDEA provisions for State complaints and due process, and does not change the requirements or add additional burden.

Special Education Rule Committee 4/10/15 and 4/24/15 Communiques

The Special Education Rule Committee’s purpose is to examine Arizona Special Education State Board 401 rules, to propose rules that are clear, instructive, and aligned to the IDEA, and to provide guidance for implementation. Please read the April 10, 2015, and April 24, 2015, Rule Making Communiques for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the April 10 and 24 meeting.

Special Education Rule Committee 3/27/15 Communique

The Special Education Rule Committee’s purpose is to examine Arizona Special Education State Board 401 rules, to propose rules that are clear, instructive, and aligned to the IDEA, and to provide guidance for implementation. Please read the March 27, 2015 Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the March 27 meeting.