The Start of a New Blog Series---A New IDEA: The Changes We Need In Federal Special Education Policy

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Now that we are finished lobbying members of Congress to fix ESEA, AASA’s Policy and Advocacy team is beginning to explore the areas in IDEA that must be addressed in the next reauthorization. To assist us and to spur conversation and discussion with our superintendents, it is with great excitement that we launch a monthly series of blogposts by professors, lawyers, education researchers and other experts on issues to consider for IDEA reauthorization (with a focus on ways to improve IDEA). Our first post, below, is a very important one because it tackles the recently released guidance by the Department of Education on the provision of a “free appropriate public education” and the obligation of school districts to incorporate high expectations for students with disabilities into IEPs. If you haven’t read this, please read the guidance itself as well as our post below. In a nut-shell, the Dear Colleague letter proposes that districts adopt standard based-IEPs for all students with disabilities. As we begin to discuss IDEA reauthorization, this Dear Colleague letter will certainly be a boon to advocates who would like to mandate a standards-based approach to IEPs, and as such, a deep look at this letter is a terrific way to start our series examining how IDEA can/must be improved as well as, importantly, how it should not be changed.

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