1. CEC Wants to Hear Your Voice on the Reauthorization of IDEA

CEC is gearing up for the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). To advocate effectively on behalf of its members, CEC needs to hear your IDEA success stories and implementation challenges.

Therefore, CEC will be soliciting feedback from its members about their experience with IDEA. There will be many opportunities for CEC members to provide input. Here, we have provided a few brief questions to assist in stimulating this discussion.

While these questions are not all-inclusive of IDEA’s broad categories, we hope they will help provoke our discussion and lead to a greater understanding of IDEA’s strengths and challenges.

* 1. Is full funding still important to you? Why or why not? What were you able to accomplish with the ARRA IDEA funds that would not have been possible otherwise? What type of student outcomes did you observe from this influx of funds? (Other?)

* 2. Access to the General Education Curriculum:
What strategies have you used to help students access the general education curriculum? How have UDL principles assisted this process? Co-Teaching? How have IDEA and NCLB interfaced? What is your opinion on applying a common core of standards to all children? (Other?)

* 3. Assessments:
What has been beneficial about new accountability measures? Explain how students with disabilities in your school/district are included on state assessments. What measures are you using to accurately capture student gains? NCLB allows for an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards for 1% of students with the most severe cognitive disabilities and alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards for 2% of students with disabilities, for purposes of calculating adequate yearly progress. What impact have the 1 and 2% caps had on the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general state assessment? Should these caps be codified in law? Why or why not? (Other?)

* 4. Preparing, recruiting and retaining a well-prepared, diverse special education workforce:
How have Highly Qualified requirements impacted you? Should we keep the current HOUSSE (High Objective Uniform State Standard Evaluation) standards in place? Why or why not? What other methods are being used to demonstrate teacher competency and mastery? Do you know of any examples where districts are using new methods to recruit and retain special education teachers/administrators/related service personnel/early interventionists and promote a diverse workforce? What are your opinions on pay for performance? Describe any pay for performance models that have been successful. (Other?)

* 5. Quality Conditions for Teaching and Learning:
How does class size/case load impact your work? Has your district implemented any effective techniques to reduce class size/case load? How would you use more administrative support? How do general education and special education teachers collaborate in your district? What ideas do you have for improving collaboration? (Other?)

* 6. Paperwork Reduction:
Where have you noticed a difference in the amount of paperwork you are required to complete after IDEA 2004? Where are your largest paperwork burdens? Which paperwork is the most useful to you and your students? (Other?)

* 7. Disproportionate Representation:
Has your district used the 15% of funds for Early Intervening Services? If so, how? And what is working best? How have you best been able to reduce disproportionality in your special education population? Have you been able to diversify your workforce? How could technical assistance help you achieve better outcomes in this area? (Other?)

* 8. Identification and Eligibility:
How is your school using Response to Intervention? How is it impacting students? How has it reduced or increased the number of eligible students? Are you using any other methods to identify students with disabilities? Explain what works best for you and your students. (Other?)

* 9. Discipline Procedures:
How have these changes in IDEA 2004’s discipline requirements impacted you and your students? How do you think IDEA’s discipline procedures and process could be streamlined? (Other?)

* 10. Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities:
What changes would you like to see in Part C Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program? What are you doing to bolster Early Intervention personnel practices? How could better coordination between lead agencies be addressed? Have you noticed positive changes since IDEA 2004 has been implemented? Is there anything unique about how your lead agency provides these services? Should we retain the optional birth-through-six program that was included in IDEA 2004? Why or why not? Should we advocate for Part C to be permanently authorized? Describe the successes and challenges of implementing the IDEA 2004 provisions of CAPTA. (Other?)

* 11. Preschool Children with Disabilities:
What changes would you like to see in Part B Section 619 Preschool Program? How can transition between IDEA’s Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program (Part C) and Preschool Program (Part B Sec. 619) be strengthened? (Other?)

* 12. Transition Initiatives:
How has the change in transition planning mandated by IDEA 2004 impacted students? How has this change impacted IEP meetings? How have the changes to postsecondary goals and objectives worked for students and educators? Should we continue to use these? If not, what are better ways to capture/use this information? What areas would you like to see more training and technical assistance in? (Other?)

* 13. Monitoring and Enforcement:
How has monitoring impacted your ability to educate students? What types of demands are placed on your time while collecting data for monitoring purposes? What are the data collection burdens? (Other?)

* 14. Family Involvement:
Describe good examples of family/professional partnerships. Have you had any experience in a due process hearing working with a non-attorney advocate? How was it and why? Would you recommend any changes to the federally funded parent training and information centers? (Other?)

* 15. Procedural Safeguards:
How have you responded to parental requests for revocation of consent for services? How have you worked with these students following their introduction back into general education? How have parental unilateral placement decisions for students with disabilities into private school impacted your school? Currently, parents must provide school districts with 10 days notice that they intend to unilaterally place their child in a private school placement and intend to seek compensation from the school district for tuition costs. What would help you better respond to parents’ requests for unilateral placements? More time? More notice?? Have you noticed any differences based on the change in IDEA 2004 requiring public schools to be responsible only for private schools located within their district boundaries? Would more parent training be beneficial for IEP team meetings? (Other?)

* 16. School Improvement & Charter Schools:
Have you had an experience with school improvement or turnaround models? If so, please describe. How is placement handled when a school closes? What is the impact on students with disabilities from the use of these reforms? Are there Charter Schools in your area? If so, do these schools include students with disabilities? Do you know whether these schools provide services to students with disabilities? Why or why not?

* 17. What other concerns do you have about IDEA?