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Legislative Announcements Listed in Past Issues

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NIMAS Proposed Regulations Issued in Federal Register
IDEA 2004 provides for the establishment of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS), a standardized format for electronic files that allows classroom materials to be adapted to products ranging from Braille editions of textbooks to on-screen displays of text and graphics. NIMAS will provide students with blindness, low vision, and print disabilities improved access to textbooks. The proposed regulations for establishing NIMAS were published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, June 29, 2005, and the U.S. Department of Education invites public comment on them. The public comment period ends September 6, 2005.

No Child Left Behind: Supplemental Educational Services Non-Regulatory Guidance
The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance to further clarify the roles of states and districts in implementing supplemental educational services under the No Child Left Behind Act. The document, “Supplemental Educational Services Non-Regulatory Guidance,” features ideas for connecting parents to supplemental education services providers, who offer free tutoring and other academic enrichment activities to qualified students whose schools aren’t meeting their yearly progress goals. The guidance was last updated in 2003, and since then the Department has made several important policy decisions to address concerns from states, school districts, parents, and academic service providers.

Secretary of Education Hosts Conference on Raising Hispanic Student Achievement
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans recently hosted a two-day conference to highlight the importance of education reform in the Hispanic community. Some 200 Hispanic leaders from across the country convened in Washington, DC on June 16-17, 2005 to discuss the common goal of raising Hispanic student achievement. The event, called “Pathways to Hispanic Family Learning,” focused on the importance of family and community involvement in the education of Hispanic students and finding effective ways to provide valuable information about education to Hispanic Americans in English and Spanish.

IDEA Public Meetings Nationwide
John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), U.S. Department of Education, is pleased to announce a series of public meetings to be held during calendar year 2005 to receive comments on the proposed rules to implement programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. These meetings will be held from 1:00-4:00 p.m. & 5:00-7:00 p.m. in various locations around the country. June 17, 2005: Nashville, TN June 22, 2005: Sacramento, CA June 24, 2005: Las Vegas, NV June 27, 2005: New York, NY June 29, 2005: Chicago, IL July 7, 2005: San Antonio, TX July 12, 2005: Washington, DC

Kame’enui Named Department of Education’s Commissioner for Special Education Research
Edward Kame’enui, an international authority on learning problems and special education, has been named the nation’s first Commissioner for Special Education Research. He will lead the National Center for Special Education Research, a newly established office within the Institute of Education Sciences, the research, evaluation, and statistical branch of the U.S. Department of Education.

RSA Monitoring Redesign Initiative
John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), U.S. Department of Education, has announced a redesign of the OSERS, Rehabilitation Services Administration system for monitoring state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies. The monitoring system is used to determine whether state VR agencies are complying with their state plans and to evaluate their performance using the standards and indicators in Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act. This page provides links to an overview of the redesign, news and events regarding the redesign, and information about the redesign steering committee.

Spellings Announces New Special Education Guidelines, Details Workable, “Common-Sense” Policy to Help States Implement NCLB
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recently announced the details of a new No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy designed to help states better assist students with disabilities, and pledged to continue working with states to ensure that they have the flexibility needed to raise student achievement. The new guidelines reflect the latest scientific research, which shows that students with disabilities—which comprise approximately two percent of all students—can make progress toward grade-level standards when they receive high-quality instruction and are assessed with alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards.

New Document on Secondary Transition in IDEA 2004
The Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education has just released a new document on Secondary Transition in IDEA 2004. It highlights the changes from IDEA 1997 to IDEA 2004 regarding transition services. IDEA 2004 will take effect on July 1, 2005. This document does not address any changes that may be made by the final regulations.

Employers Are Aware of, Using, and Satisfied with One-Stop Services, but More Data Could Help Labor Better Address Employers' Needs
A recent report by the Government Accountability Office, “Workforce Investment Act: Employers Are Aware of, Using, and Satisfied with One-Stop Services, but More Data Could Help Labor Better Address Employers’ Needs”, found that about half of all employers are aware of their local One-Stop Career Centers, and awareness and likelihood of use increases with size of the organization. Employers of all sizes primarily use One-Stop services to help fill job vacancies. Overall, about three-quarters of employers who use One-Stop services are satisfied with them. Available in PDF (50 pages, 1.0 MB).

Secretary Spellings Announces More Workable, “Common Sense” Approach To Implementing “No Child Left Behind” (April 2005)
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recently announced a new approach to implementing the No Child Left Behind Act that will give states additional alternatives and flexibility if they can show that they are raising student achievement and closing the achievement gap. The new guidelines, entitled “Raising Achievement: A New Path for No Child Left Behind,” include the four key principles of the Act: ensuring that students are learning, holding school systems accountable, insuring that information is accessible and that parents have options, and improving teacher quality. “States that show results and follow the principles of No Child Left Behind will be eligible for new tools to help them meet the law’s goals,” Spellings said.

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