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The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004, by President George W. Bush. The provisions of the act will be effective on July 1, 2005, with the exception of some elements of the definition of “highly qualified teacher” that took effect upon the signing of the act. This is one in a series of documents, prepared by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education, that covers a variety of high-interest topics and brings together the statutory language related to those topics to support constituents in preparing to implement the new requirements. This document addresses only the changes to provisions regarding transition services of IDEA that will take effect on July 1, 2005. It does not address any changes that may be made by the final regulations.
1. Changes in the purpose of IDEA: added “further education.”
The purpose of IDEA is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living. [602(d)(1)(A)]
2. Change in language.
In Section 602(34) the language in IDEA is changed from ‘student’ to ‘child.’
3. Changes to definition of “transition services.”
The term “transition services” means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:
4. Changes in performance goals and indicators.
Address graduation rates and dropout rates, as well as such factors as the state may determine. [612(a)(15)(A)(iii)]
5. Procedures for reevaluations.
A local educational agency (LEA) must ensure that a reevaluation for each child with a disability is conducted in accordance with Sections 614(b) and 614(c) if:
However, a reevaluation shall occur not more frequently than once a year, unless the parent and the LEA agree otherwise; and at least once every three years, unless the parent and the LEA agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary. [614(a)(2)]
6. Exception to requirements for evaluation before a change in eligibility.
An evaluation is not required before the termination of a child's eligibility if the termination of eligibility is:
For a child whose eligibility under IDEA terminates under circumstances described above, an LEA must provide the child with a summary of his or her academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting postsecondary goals. [614(c)(5)(B)]
7. Changes to definition of an individualized education program (IEP).
8. Rule of construction.
Nothing in Section 614 shall be construed to require (1) that additional information be included in a child’s IEP beyond what is explicitly required in Section 614 or (2) require the IEP team to include information under one component of a child’s IEP that is already contained under another component of such IEP. [614(d)(1)(A)(ii)]
9. Added specific requirements to development of an IEP.
In developing each child’s IEP, the IEP team, subject to Subparagraph (C), shall consider the academic, developmental and functional needs of the child. [614(d)(3)(A) (iv)]
Topics in this series include: Disproportionality and Overidentification; Early Intervening Services; Changes in Initial Evaluations and Reevaluations; Individualized Education Program (IEP); Discipline; Statewide and Districtwide Assessments; Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team Meetings and Changes to the IEP; Part C Option: Age 3 to Kindergarten Age; Procedural Safeguards: Surrogates, Notice, Consent; Procedural Safeguards: Mediation and Resolution Sessions; Procedural Safeguards; Due Process Hearings; Alignment with the No Child Left Behind Act; Highly Qualified Teachers; Children Enrolled by Their Parents in Private Schools; State Funding; Local Funding; and Secondary Transition. Documents are available on the OSERS Web site at: www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/index.html.