[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 7 (Thursday, January 10, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Pages 1411-1412]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-623]



Federal Register / Vol. 67, No. 7 / Thursday, January 10, 2002 / 
Notices

[[Page 1411]]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services


Reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education 
Act

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of request for public comment on the Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act and its implementation.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education invites written comments from the 
public on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to 
assist the Department in preparing for reauthorization of the Act in 
2002.

DATES: In order to ensure that your comments are considered by the 
Department in preparing its legislative proposal on IDEA, we encourage 
you to submit the comments before February 25, 2002.

ADDRESSES: All comments concerning the reauthorization of IDEA should 
be addressed to Thomas Irvin, Office of Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, and submitted by 
one of the following methods:
    1. Internet. We encourage you to send your comments through the 
Internet at the following address: Comments@ed.gov.
    You must use the term IDEA Reauthorization in the subject line of 
your electronic message.
    2. Surface Mail. Alternatively, you may submit your comments via 
surface mail to: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Mary 
E. Switzer Building, Room 3086, Washington DC 20202-2570.
    To ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies of comments, 
please submit your comments only one time--using one of the two methods 
described in the preceding paragraphs (Internet or surface mail).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: JoLeta Reynolds or Thomas Irvin (202) 
205-5507. If you use a telecommunication device for the deaf (TTD) you 
may call the TDD number at (202) 205-5465.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to Katie Mincey, Director of the Alternate Formats 
Center. Telephone: (202) 205-8113.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister. To use PDF you must have Adobe 
Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have 
questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office 
(GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at 
(202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://
www.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html/


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Description of the Act

    On June 4, 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
(IDEA) Amendments of 1997 were enacted into law as Pub. L. 105-17. 
These Amendments reauthorized and made significant changes to IDEA to 
accomplish the following: (1) Ensure better results for children with 
disabilities, while retaining (and expanding upon) the rights and 
protections under prior law; (2) revise the discretionary programs to 
strengthen the capacity of States to effectively serve children with 
disabilities, including infants and toddlers with disabilities; and (3) 
make other improvements to IDEA, including simplifying the structure 
and organization of the Act.
    As authorized by the 1997 Amendments, IDEA is divided into four 
major parts:
    Part A (General Provisions) includes the findings and purposes of 
the Act; definitions; authority for the Office of Special Education 
Programs; abrogation of State sovereign immunity; authority for the 
acquisition of equipment and construction of facilities; provisions 
regarding the employment of individuals with disabilities; and 
requirements for prescribing regulations.
    Part B (Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities) 
authorizes a State formula grant program for the education of children 
with disabilities aged 3 through 21. The Act includes provisions 
regarding--(1) conditions for State and local eligibility (e.g., 
ensuring a free appropriate public education for all eligible 
children); (2) evaluations, child eligibility, and individualized 
education programs (IEPs); and (3) procedural safeguards (e.g., 
mediation, due process procedures, and pendency or stay-put 
requirements, including discipline procedures). In addition, Part B 
includes other provisions, including data collection requirements.
    Part B also authorizes a Preschool Grants program that provides 
additional funds to help States provide special education and related 
services to children with disabilities aged three through five.
    Part C authorizes the early intervention program for infants and 
toddlers with disabilities, which provides Federal assistance to help 
States maintain and implement a statewide system of early intervention 
services for young children with disabilities, aged birth through two, 
and their families. The Act sets out eligibility conditions for State 
participation in the program, including--(1) a policy that ensures 
appropriate early intervention services for all eligible children, 
including, at State discretion, children who are at risk of 
experiencing substantial developmental delays; and (2) other 
requirements (e.g., provisions regarding individualized family service 
plans (IFSPs), natural environments, procedural safeguards, and 
financing of early intervention services).
    Part D authorizes a series of discretionary programs to support 
National activities to improve the education of children with 
disabilities, including State Improvement Grants, coordinated research 
and personnel preparation, parent training and information centers, 
technical assistance and dissemination, technology development, 
demonstration, and utilization, and media services.

Need for Reauthorization

    Two major parts of IDEA will expire on September 30, 2002: Part C 
(Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities); and Part D (National 
Activities to Improve Education of Children with Disabilities). Thus, 
we are seeking broad public input regarding changes needed to improve 
implementation of the early intervention program for infants and 
toddlers with disabilities under Part C, and the effectiveness of the 
National Activities under Part D.
    We also will consider all relevant comments received on the Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Part C program that was published 
on September 5, 2000 (65 FR 53808). (The Secretary is publishing a 
Notice withdrawing the Part C NPRM in this issue of the Federal 
Register.)
    Although Part B of IDEA is permanent legislation with no 
requirement for reauthorization, the reauthorization

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process for Parts C and D provides an opportunity to carefully examine 
Part B as well.
    The President has laid out four principles of education reform to 
ensure that no child is left behind. These principles are: 
accountability for results, local control and flexibility, empowering 
parents to participate more meaningfully in their children's education, 
and employing research-based practices that we know work to improve 
student performance. Using this underlying framework, the Secretary 
solicits public comment regarding the reauthorization of IDEA.
    We are particularly interested in identifying opportunities for 
increasing flexibility and reducing unnecessary paperwork and burden 
while maintaining the important rights and protections of children with 
disabilities and their families.

Invitation To Comment

    We encourage your comments on the broad areas identified in the 
preceding paragraphs (under Need for Reauthorization). Because we 
believe that reforms to IDEA should be based, to the greatest degree 
possible, on evidence that demonstrates the need for reform and that 
can guide those reforms, we are also particularly interested in 
receiving factual information and research in these broad areas. We 
also seek comment on the following specific areas:
    (1) Accountability. How, and to what degree, are children with 
disabilities being included in State and local accountability systems? 
What barriers exist to inclusion of these children in the 
accountability systems? What recommendations do you have to eliminate 
these barriers?
    (2) Personnel Issues. In what areas of special education and 
related services (or early intervention services) are States and school 
districts (or lead agencies) experiencing problems in finding and 
retaining qualified personnel? Are funds that are available at the 
Federal, State, and local levels being used effectively to address 
personnel shortages? For teachers, administrators, and others 
responding to these questions, what recommendations do you have to 
alleviate personnel shortages?
    Are the pre-service and in-service training programs offered by 
State and local educational agencies based on research-derived methods 
that are proven to improve results for children? Do regular and special 
education teachers believe their college preparation programs prepared 
them to teach students with disabilities? Do local administrators 
believe the regular and special education teachers they are hiring are 
qualified to teach students with disabilities?
    (3) Parent Involvement. For parents of children with disabilities, 
what barriers to meaningful participation in your child's education 
have you experienced? For school districts, what barriers have you 
faced in ensuring meaningful parent involvement? For parents and 
professionals involved in the early intervention program under Part C, 
what barriers have you experienced? In each of these cases, have you 
experienced any efforts to increase parent involvement that you believe 
are successful? If so, please describe them.
    (4) Transition to Post-School Endeavors. To what extent are school 
aged students with disabilities routinely participating in their IEP 
meetings? What barriers exist to full implementation of the IDEA's 
current transition requirements? What recommendations do you have to 
eliminate these barriers?
    (5) Excessive Paperwork. For administrators, teachers, or other 
personnel, describe any burdens you are experiencing in implementing 
the Part B (or Part C) requirements. What specific requirements are 
problematic, and what kinds of problems are you having? What 
recommendations do you have to resolve these problems? What paperwork 
requirements do little to further educational goals of children with 
disabilities and/or provide appropriate protections to the children and 
their families? What paperwork is completed by clerical staff, 
administrators, special education teachers, and regular education 
teachers? What paperwork now completed by teachers and administrators 
could be completed by clerical staff, if they were available? What 
steps have you taken in order to try to reduce IDEA paperwork burden?
    (6) Local School Districts--20 Percent Funds. Under section 
613(a)(2)(C), a school district may treat as local funds up to 20 
percent of the amount it receives under Part B that exceeds the amount 
it received during the prior fiscal year. To what extent are school 
districts using this authority? How are school districts using the 
local funds that become available?
    (7) Use of Insurance under Part C. To what extent are private and 
public insurance used in paying for early intervention services under 
Part C in your State? Have parents suffered any financial or other 
difficulties resulting from the use of their insurance? What 
difficulties do lead agencies have in accessing public or private 
insurance?
    In submitting your comments, please identify the area of your 
involvement in special education, regular education or early 
intervention, as well as your role, if any, in that area (e.g., parent, 
teacher, student, service provider, administrator, or researcher). In 
addition, if appropriate to your comments, please identify the specific 
Part and section of IDEA that is the subject of your comments, and 
specify why the statute needs to be amended.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.

    Dated: December 28, 2001.
Loretta L. Petty,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 02-623 Filed 1-9-02; 8:45 am]
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