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Legislative Announcements Listed in Past Issues

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U.S. Secretary Of Education Margaret Spellings Announces Final Regulations To Strengthen NCLB and Encourages Use of New Tools to Build Upon the Successes of NCLB
On October 28 U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced final regulations to strengthen and clarify No Child Left Behind (NCLB), focusing on improved accountability and transparency, uniform and disaggregated graduation rates and improved parental notification for Supplemental Education Services and public school choice. Information about the final regulations, the Secretary’s full remarks, fact sheets, and a webcast of the announcement are available.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2008 Theme Announced
“America’s People, America’s Talent... America's Strength!” is the official 2008 theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced. Celebrated each October by congressional designation, The Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy leads activities and produces materials to increase the public’s awareness of the contributions and skills of American workers with disabilities.

The Social Security Administration Publishes Final Rules for the Ticket to Work Program
The Social Security Administration published the final regulations for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program (Ticket to Work program), which was authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. The final rule will become effective on July 21, 2008. An electronic copy of the regulations is available online.

Social Security Administration Extends Youth Transition Demonstration
The Social Security Administration (SSA) intends to extend and alter the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD). YTD began in 2003 with seven sites in six states. The project demonstrates and evaluates the effectiveness of altering Supplemental Security Income Rules (SSI) and providing employment services to youth who were receiving SSA benefits or at risk of receiving benefits. Three of the original seven sites will be extended, and three additional sites will be included in the study until 2012. The final evaluation will include the seven original sites and the three additional sites.

Proposed National Graduation Rate Formula
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced in April that the Department of Education will propose new rules requiring states to use a uniform formula when calculating graduation rates, and that the department will publish data on the graduation rates of students of various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic categories.

U.S. Department of Education Issues Determination Letters on State Implementation of IDEA
The U.S. Department of Education has issued determination letters on implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) to each state education agency for Part B and to each lead agency for Part C. IDEA 2004 requires the U.S. Secretary of Education to annually determine whether each state is meeting the requirements of the law. Under IDEA 2004, each state is required to have a State Performance Plan (SPP) that evaluates the state’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of Part B or C of IDEA 2004 and describes how the state will improve its implementation of these programs.

Documents on Transitioning to Postsecondary Education from the Office for Civil Rights
The Office for Civil Rights has posted two letters on its Web site to provide information about the legal rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities as they transition from high school to institutions of postsecondary education: a “Dear Colleague” letter and a “Dear Parent” letter. Also available is a Q&A document entitled Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators, and a revised version of Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities.

Q&A Documents on the IDEA 2004 Regulations from OSEP,root,dynamic,QaCorner,
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has published a series of Q&A documents from their recent regional implementation meetings on the IDEA 2004 regulations. The documents address highly qualified teachers serving children with disabilities; IEPs, evaluations, and reevaluations; monitoring, technical assistance, and enforcement; procedural safeguards and due process procedures; Response to Intervention and Early Intervening Services; serving children with disabilities placed by their parents at private schools; the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard; and discipline procedures.

Secretary Spellings Announces Regulations to More Accurately Assess Students with Disabilities
On April 4, 2007, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced new regulations under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) allowing states to test certain students with disabilities using an alternate assessment that more appropriately aligns with students’ needs and yields more meaningful results for schools and parents. The new regulations provide states and schools with greater flexibility by allowing them to more accurately evaluate these students’ academic progress and tailor instruction to individual needs.

How Educators Can Claim $250 Federal Tax Deduction,,id=165640,00.html
The Educator Expense Deduction was reinstated by Congress after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) printed this year’s official tax forms. This means that to claim the $250 deduction for out-of-pocket classroom expenses, educators will need to follow special instructions issued by the IRS—or file their tax returns electronically, which the IRS recommends. Along with the deductions for educators’ out-of-pocket classroom expenses, lawmakers extended tax deductions for higher education tuition and fees. The IRS has drawn up special instructions for claiming both of these deductions.

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