February 7, 2018
SCOPE: NCD undertook this report series as an examination of the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and as a follow-up to a number of NCD's prior education reports. Since NCD’s last report on IDEA in 2004, IDEA was reauthorized, the Federal Government implemented new federal monitoring systems, and most recently, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – which has overlap with IDEA – into law and states and the Federal Government are implementing it. This IDEA report series includes five reports in total, focusing on significant issues of concern raised in our previous reports that have yet to be resolved, and two new topics that NCD has not previously examined: ESSA implementation and its interplay with IDEA; and the cross-section of students with disabilities and English learners. Each report provides the current state of policy and practice for each particular topic, provides a detailed account of progress or non-progress, and makes recommendations for improvement.
Broken Promises: The Underfunding of IDEA
This report examines the past-to-current funding levels for all parts of the IDEA, analyzes the impact that the lack of full-funding has had on states in meeting their obligations to provide a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities, and provides recommendations regarding future funding. Students with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of funding issues, which can include delays in evaluations or rejection of requests for independent educational evaluations, inappropriate changes in placement and/or services, and failures to properly implement individualized education programs (IEPs). This report analyzes and summarizes several of the types of funding mechanisms proposed by Congress via bills in the last several congresses, as well as funding history, state funding formulas and budget tables, and district funding.
English Learners and Students from Low-Income Families
This report identifies the challenges facing English learners with disabilities and their families as well as the unique needs facing students with disabilities from low-income families and examines how they fare in the public education system. This report includes an examination of the identification, placement, and performance (where available) of students with disabilities who are also English language learners and students with disabilities who come from low-income families. It also looks at how supports, including Parent Training and Information Centers, are serving these students and their families in getting needed services and accessing their rights under the law, and provides recommendations for improvement.
Federal Monitoring and Enforcement of IDEA Compliance
This report examines the history and current process of federal monitoring and enforcement of IDEA, the role of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and IDEA’s options for resolving disputes and addressing systemic violations. The research in this report provides up-to-date information on the issues that NCD identified in its previous IDEA reports, describes federal actions taken to address the issues and progress made, and gives recommendations for the improvement of the federal monitoring and enforcement scheme.
Every Student Succeeds Act and Students with Disabilities
This report examines the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)’s amendments to IDEA, explains their likely impact on students with disabilities as ESSA implementation moves forward, and provides recommendations. To understand better how students with disabilities may be impacted by ESSA, the research for this report focused on how ESSA addresses students with disabilities through standards, assessment, and accountability, and details the findings.
The Segregation of Students with Disabilities
This report describes the legal and scientific basis for an inclusive versus segregated education, summarizes national patterns for educating students with disabilities in general education classes, examines federal and state guidance, and state compliance with federal mandates, describes effective educational practices for reducing segregation, and provides findings and recommendations for improvement.