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Act Now~ COPAA Concerned: Opposes Comments on the Draft IDEA Surveys to States, Districts, School

Tuesday, June 4, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall

Issue:
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has proposed a set of surveys on IDEA implementation for states, districts and schools, timed for electronic distribution in Fall 2019. The public has until June 14, 2019 to provide public comments to the Department.  If you want to read the survey tools, you can download each of the drafts here:
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=ED-2019-ICCD-0050-0003

Background:
ED is collecting comments on
the [draft] Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State and Local Implementation Study 2019 which according to ED “will examine how states, districts, and schools are identifying and supporting children and youth with disabilities.” According to ED, “the study is one component of a Congressionally-mandated National Assessment of IDEA.” However, the IDEA mandated study was completed in 2011 as required by Sec. 664(b).

The Department goes on to say: “The purpose of this data collection is to develop an up-to-date national picture of how states, districts, and schools are implementing IDEA in order to provide ED, Congress, and other stakeholders with knowledge that can inform the next reauthorization of IDEA and, ultimately, how services are provided to children. This study of IDEA is necessary because a decade has passed since the previous IDEA national implementation study, and subsequent developments may have influenced the context and implementation of special education and early intervention. The surveys will be administered [to all states, to selected districts and to selected schools] in Fall 2019.

COPAA is concerned and opposes the survey due to the following:

  • THE SURVEY IS UNNECESSARY: IDEA mandated a survey that was conducted in 2011. ED should not be wasting precious resources to conduct an additional survey, but rather should focus on the monitoring and compliance of IDEA.
  • PARENT ENGAGEMENT: The survey tools (state, district and school) do not include questions that are sufficiently designed to understand how each entity is working to meaningfully engage and inform parents about IDEA – for identification and eligibility and for the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and more. As demonstrated by each survey, ED does not view parents as a primary contributor and team member as required by the IDEA. ED must correct this and include specific questions that delve deeper into state technical assistance, district training and school practices regarding meaningful family engagement.
  • SIGNIFICANT DISPROPORTIONALITY REQUIREMENTS: The state and district surveys do not meet the legal requirements of IDEA as it relates to significant disproportionality and the March 7th decision in COPAA v DeVos. ED must correct this major oversight and update the surveys accordingly.
  • DISCIPLINE: All surveys are inadequate in how they discuss state, district and school discipline policies and practices especially as the survey tools address the harmful and abusive practices of seclusion and restraint. ED must re-examine the Discipline section of each survey and develop questions that focus on the impact policies and practices utilized by states, districts and schools have on students with disabilities.
  • LRE AND DIPLOMA OPTIONS: All surveys do not accurately reflect the statutory requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act as this law relates to the State policies and IEP team decisions regarding students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. All surveys need adjustments in how questions address the requirements on states, districts and IEP teams to determine eligibility for alternate assessments on alternate academic achievement standards and how parents are informed regarding a student’s access to a regular or alternate diploma.
  • PARENTS MUST BE SURVEYED: Finally, given that the IDEA confers rights on parents and emphasizes their role as a meaningful participant on the child's IEP team, it is a major oversight that ED has not planned to also survey parents with a separate survey tool about the implementation of IDEA. Issues with implementation will not be fully understood or results valid unless families are also included in a national study.

Take Action: COPAA encourages you to use the bullets above to develop and submit comments before the June 14, 2019 deadline.

Here’s what you need to do:

1)      Draft your comments using the points above.

2)      Visit this website and click Comment Now to submit: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=ED-2019-ICCD-0050

3)      Deadline is June 14, 2019

 


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