One Hundred Fifth Congress of the United States of America
AT THE FIRST SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,
the seventh day of January,
one thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven
To amend the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
to reauthorize and make improvements to that Act,
and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the
Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the 'Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act Amendments of 1997'.
TITLE I -- AMENDMENTS TO THE INDIVIDUALS
WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT
SEC. 101. AMENDMENTS TO THE INDIVIDUALS
WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT.
Parts A through D of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) are amended to read as follows:
PART A -- GENERAL PROVISIONS
SEC. 601. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF
CONTENTS; FINDINGS; PURPOSES.
(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the 'Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act'.
(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table
of contents for this Act is as follows:
PART A -- GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 601. Short title;
table of contents; findings; purposes.
Sec. 602. Definitions.
Sec. 603. Office of Special
Sec. 604. Abrogation of
State sovereign immunity.
Sec. 605. Acquisition of
equipment; construction or alteration of facilities.
Sec. 606. Employment of
individuals with disabilities.
Sec. 607. Requirements for
PART B -- ASSISTANCE FOR EDUCATION
OF ALL CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Sec. 611. Authorization;
allotment; use of funds; authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 612. State eligibility.
Sec. 613. Local educational
Sec. 614. Evaluations, eligibility
determinations, individualized education programs, and educational placements.
Sec. 615. Procedural safeguards.
Sec. 616. Withholding and
Sec. 617. Administration.
Sec. 618. Program information.
Sec. 619. Preschool grants.
PART C -- INFANTS AND TODDLERS
Sec. 631. Findings and
Sec. 632. Definitions.
Sec. 633. General authority.
Sec. 634. Eligibility.
Sec. 635. Requirements for
Sec. 636. Individualized
family service plan.
Sec. 637. State application
Sec. 638. Uses of funds.
Sec. 639. Procedural safeguards.
Sec. 640. Payor of last
Sec. 641. State Interagency
Sec. 642. Federal administration.
Sec. 643. Allocation of
Sec. 644. Federal Interagency
Sec. 645. Authorization
PART D -- NATIONAL ACTIVITIES
TO IMPROVE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
SUBPART 1 -- STATE PROGRAM
IMPROVEMENT GRANTS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Sec. 651. Findings and
Sec. 652. Eligibility and
Sec. 653. Applications.
Sec. 654. Use of funds.
Sec. 655. Minimum State
Sec. 656. Authorization
SUBPART 2 -- COORDINATED
RESEARCH, PERSONNEL PREPARATION, TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, SUPPORT, AND DISSEMINATION
Sec. 661. Administrative
CHAPTER 1 -- IMPROVING EARLY
INTERVENTION, EDUCATIONAL, AND TRANSITIONAL SERVICES AND RESULTS FOR CHILDREN
WITH DISABILITIES THROUGH COORDINATED RESEARCH AND PERSONNEL PREPARATION
Sec. 671. Findings and
Sec. 672. Research and innovation
to improve services and results for children with disabilities.
Sec. 673. Personnel preparation
to improve services and results for children with disabilities.
Sec. 674. Studies and evaluations.
CHAPTER 2 -- IMPROVING EARLY
INTERVENTION, EDUCATIONAL, AND TRANSITIONAL SERVICES AND RESULTS FOR CHILDREN
WITH DISABILITIES THROUGH COORDINATED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, SUPPORT, AND
DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
Sec. 681. Findings and
Sec. 682. Parent training
and information centers.
Sec. 683. Community parent
Sec. 684. Technical assistance
for parent training and information centers.
Sec. 685. Coordinated technical
assistance and dissemination.
Sec. 686. Authorization
Sec. 687. Technology development,
demonstration, and utilization, and media services.
(c) FINDINGS- The Congress finds the following:
(1) Disability is a natural part of the human experience
and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or
contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with
disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring
equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic
self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.
(2) Before the date of the enactment of the Education
for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (Public Law 94-142) --
(A) the special educational needs of children with disabilities
were not being fully met;
(B) more than one-half of the children with disabilities
in the United States did not receive appropriate educational services that
would enable such children to have full equality of opportunity;
(C) 1,000,000 of the children with disabilities in the
United States were excluded entirely from the public school system and
did not go through the educational process with their peers;
(D) there were many children with disabilities throughout
the United States participating in regular school programs whose disabilities
prevented such children from having a successful educational experience
because their disabilities were undetected; and
(E) because of the lack of adequate services within the
public school system, families were often forced to find services outside
the public school system, often at great distance from their residence
and at their own expense.
(3) Since the enactment and implementation of the Education
for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, this Act has been successful
in ensuring children with disabilities and the families of such children
access to a free appropriate public education and in improving educational
results for children with disabilities.
(4) However, the implementation of this Act has been impeded
by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research
on proven methods of teaching and learning for children with disabilities.
(5) Over 20 years of research and experience has demonstrated
that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective
(A) having high expectations for such children and ensuring
their access in the general curriculum to the maximum extent possible;
(B) strengthening the role of parents and ensuring that
families of such children have meaningful opportunities to participate
in the education of their children at school and at home;
(C) coordinating this Act with other local, educational
service agency, State, and Federal school improvement efforts in order
to ensure that such children benefit from such efforts and that special
education can become a service for such children rather than a place where
they are sent;
(D) providing appropriate special education and related
services and aids and supports in the regular classroom to such children,
(E) supporting high-quality, intensive professional development
for all personnel who work with such children in order to ensure that they
have the skills and knowledge necessary to enable them --
(i) to meet developmental goals and, to the maximum
extent possible, those challenging expectations that have been established
for all children; and
(ii) to be prepared to lead productive, independent, adult
lives, to the maximum extent possible;
(F) providing incentives for whole-school approaches and
pre-referral intervention to reduce the need to label children as disabled
in order to address their learning needs; and
(G) focusing resources on teaching and learning while
reducing paperwork and requirements that do not assist in improving educational
(6) While States, local educational agencies, and educational
service agencies are responsible for providing an education for all children
with disabilities, it is in the national interest that the Federal Government
have a role in assisting State and local efforts to educate children with
disabilities in order to improve results for such children and to ensure
equal protection of the law.
(7) (A) The Federal Government must be responsive to
the growing needs of an increasingly more diverse society. A more equitable
allocation of resources is essential for the Federal Government to meet
its responsibility to provide an equal educational opportunity for all
(B) America's racial profile is rapidly changing. Between
1980 and 1990, the rate of increase in the population for white Americans
was 6 percent, while the rate of increase for racial and ethnic minorities
was much higher: 53 percent for Hispanics, 13.2 percent for African-Americans,
and 107.8 percent for Asians.
(C) By the year 2000, this Nation will have 275,000,000
people, nearly one of every three of whom will be either African-American,
Hispanic, Asian-American, or American Indian.
(D) Taken together as a group, minority children are comprising
an ever larger percentage of public school students. Large-city school
populations are overwhelmingly minority, for example: for fall 1993, the
figure for Miami was 84 percent; Chicago, 89 percent; Philadelphia, 78
percent; Baltimore, 84 percent; Houston, 88 percent; and Los Angeles, 88
(E) Recruitment efforts within special education must
focus on bringing larger numbers of minorities into the profession in order
to provide appropriate practitioner knowledge, role models, and sufficient
manpower to address the clearly changing demography of special education.
(F) The limited English proficient population is the fastest
growing in our Nation, and the growth is occurring in many parts of our
Nation. In the Nation's 2 largest school districts, limited English proficient
students make up almost half of all students initially entering school
at the kindergarten level. Studies have documented apparent discrepancies
in the levels of referral and placement of limited English proficient children
in special education. The Department of Education has found that services
provided to limited English proficient students often do not respond primarily
to the pupil's academic needs. These trends pose special challenges for
special education in the referral, assessment, and services for our Nation's
students from non-English language backgrounds.
(8) (A) Greater efforts are needed to prevent the intensification
of problems connected with mislabeling and high dropout rates among minority
children with disabilities.
(B) More minority children continue to be served in special
education than would be expected from the percentage of minority students
in the general school population.
(C) Poor African-American children are 2.3 times more
likely to be identified by their teacher as having mental retardation than
their white counterpart.
(D) Although African-Americans represent 16 percent of
elementary and secondary enrollments, they constitute 21 percent of total
enrollments in special education.
(E) The drop-out rate is 68 percent higher for minorities
than for whites.
(F) More than 50 percent of minority students in large
cities drop out of school.
(9) (A) The opportunity for full participation in awards
for grants and contracts; boards of organizations receiving funds under
this Act; and peer review panels; and training of professionals in the
area of special education by minority individuals, organizations, and historically
black colleges and universities is essential if we are to obtain greater
success in the education of minority children with disabilities.
(B) In 1993, of the 915,000 college and university professors,
4.9 percent were African-American and 2.4 percent were Hispanic. Of the
2,940,000 teachers, prekindergarten through high school, 6.8 percent were
African-American and 4.1 percent were Hispanic.
(C) Students from minority groups comprise more than 50
percent of K-12 public school enrollment in seven States yet minority enrollment
in teacher training programs is less than 15 percent in all but six States.
(D) As the number of African-American and Hispanic students
in special education increases, the number of minority teachers and related
service personnel produced in our colleges and universities continues to
(E) Ten years ago, 12 percent of the United States teaching
force in public elementary and secondary schools were members of a minority
group. Minorities comprised 21 percent of the national population at that
time and were clearly underrepresented then among employed teachers. Today,
the elementary and secondary teaching force is 13 percent minority, while
one-third of the students in public schools are minority children.
(F) As recently as 1991, historically black colleges and
universities enrolled 44 percent of the African-American teacher trainees
in the Nation. However, in 1993, historically black colleges and universities
received only 4 percent of the discretionary funds for special education
and related services personnel training under this Act.
(G) While African-American students constitute 28 percent
of total enrollment in special education, only 11.2 percent of individuals
enrolled in preservice training programs for special education are African-American.
(H) In 1986-87, of the degrees conferred in education
at the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. levels, only 6, 8, and 8 percent, respectively,
were awarded to African-American or Hispanic students.
(10) Minorities and underserved persons are socially disadvantaged
because of the lack of opportunities in training and educational programs,
undergirded by the practices in the private sector that impede their full
participation in the mainstream of society.
(d) PURPOSES- The purposes of this
title are --
(1) (A) to ensure that all children with disabilities
have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes
special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs
and prepare them for employment and independent living;
(B) to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities
and parents of such children are protected; and
(C) to assist States, localities, educational service
agencies, and Federal agencies to provide for the education of all children
(2) to assist States in the implementation of a statewide,
comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency system of early
intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their
(3) to ensure that educators and parents have the necessary
tools to improve educational results for children with disabilities by
supporting systemic-change activities; coordinated research and personnel
preparation; coordinated technical assistance, dissemination, and support;
and technology development and media services; and
(4) to assess, and ensure the effectiveness of, efforts
to educate children with disabilities.
SEC. 602. DEFINITIONS.
Except as otherwise provided, as used in this Act:
(1) ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY DEVICE-
The term 'assistive technology device' means any item, piece of equipment,
or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified,
or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional
capabilities of a child with a disability.
(2) ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SERVICE-
The term 'assistive technology service' means any service that directly
assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use
of an assistive technology device. Such term includes --
(A) the evaluation of the needs of such child, including
a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
(B) purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the
acquisition of assistive technology devices by such child;
(C) selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting,
applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing of assistive technology
(D) coordinating and using other therapies, interventions,
or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated
with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
(E) training or technical assistance for such child, or,
where appropriate, the family of such child; and
(F) training or technical assistance for professionals
(including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services),
employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are
otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of such child.
(3) CHILD WITH A DISABILITY-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term 'child
with a disability' means a child --
(i) with mental retardation, hearing impairments (including
deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including
blindness), serious emotional disturbance (hereinafter referred to as emotional
disturbance'), orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury,
other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and
(ii) who, by reason thereof, needs special education and
(B) CHILD AGED 3 THROUGH 9- The
term 'child with a disability' for a child aged 3 through 9 may, at the
discretion of the State and the local educational agency, include a child
(i) experiencing developmental delays, as defined by
the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures,
in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive
development, communication development, social or emotional development,
or adaptive development; and
(ii) who, by reason thereof, needs special education and
(4) EDUCATIONAL SERVICE AGENCY- The
term 'educational service agency' --
(A) means a regional public multiservice agency --
(i) authorized by State law to develop, manage, and
provide services or programs to local educational agencies; and
(ii) recognized as an administrative agency for purposes
of the provision of special education and related services provided within
public elementary and secondary schools of the State; and
(B) includes any other public institution or agency having
administrative control and direction over a public elementary or secondary
(5) ELEMENTARY SCHOOL- The term 'elementary school' means
a nonprofit institutional day or residential school that provides elementary
education, as determined under State law.
(6) EQUIPMENT- The term 'equipment' includes --
(A) machinery, utilities, and built-in equipment and
any necessary enclosures or structures to house such machinery, utilities,
or equipment; and
(B) all other items necessary for the functioning of a
particular facility as a facility for the provision of educational services,
including items such as instructional equipment and necessary furniture;
printed, published, and audio-visual instructional materials; telecommunications,
sensory, and other technological aids and devices; and books, periodicals,
documents, and other related materials.
(7) EXCESS COSTS- The term 'excess costs' means those costs
that are in excess of the average annual per-student expenditure in a local
educational agency during the preceding school year for an elementary or
secondary school student, as may be appropriate, and which shall be computed
after deducting --
(A) amounts received --
(i) under part B of
(ii) under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act of 1965; or
(iii) under part A of title VII of that Act; and
(B) any State or local funds expended for programs that would
qualify for assistance under any of those parts.
(8) FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION- The term 'free appropriate
public education' means special education and related services that --
(A) have been provided at public expense, under public
supervision and direction, and without charge;
(B) meet the standards of the State educational agency;
(C) include an appropriate preschool, elementary, or secondary
school education in the State involved; and
(D) are provided in conformity with the individualized
education program required under section
(9) INDIAN- The term 'Indian' means
an individual who is a member of an Indian tribe.
(10) INDIAN TRIBE- The term 'Indian tribe' means any Federal
or State Indian tribe, band, rancheria, pueblo, colony, or community, including
any Alaska Native village or regional village corporation (as defined in
or established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act).
(11) INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM- The term 'individualized
education program' or 'IEP' means a written statement for each child with
a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with
(12) INDIVIDUALIZED FAMILY SERVICE PLAN- The term 'individualized
family service plan' has the meaning given such term in section
(13) INFANT OR TODDLER WITH A DISABILITY- The term 'infant
or toddler with a disability' has the meaning given such term in section
(14) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION- The term 'institution
of higher education' --
(A) has the meaning given that term in section 1201(a)
of the Higher Education Act of 1965; and
(B) also includes any community college receiving funding
from the Secretary of the Interior under the Tribally
Controlled Community College Assistance Act of 1978.
(15) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY-
(A) The term 'local educational agency' means a public
board of education or other public authority legally constituted within
a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform
a service function for, public elementary or secondary schools in a city,
county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a
State, or for such combination of school districts or counties as are recognized
in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary or secondary
(B) The term includes --
(i) an educational service agency, as defined in paragraph
(ii) any other public institution or agency having administrative
control and direction of a public elementary or secondary school.
(C) The term includes an elementary or secondary school
funded by the Bureau
of Indian Affairs, but only to the extent that such inclusion makes
the school eligible for programs for which specific eligibility is not
provided to the school in another provision of law and the school does
not have a student population that is smaller than the student population
of the local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act with
the smallest student population, except that the school shall not be subject
to the jurisdiction of any State educational agency other than the Bureau
of Indian Affairs.
(16) NATIVE LANGUAGE- The term 'native
language', when used with reference to an individual of limited English
proficiency, means the language normally used by the individual, or in
the case of a child, the language normally used by the parents of the child.
(17) NONPROFIT- The term 'nonprofit', as applied to a
school, agency, organization, or institution, means a school, agency, organization,
or institution owned and operated by one or more nonprofit corporations
or associations no part of the net earnings of which inures, or may lawfully
inure, to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.
(18) OUTLYING AREA- The term
'outlying area' means the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American
Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
(19) PARENT- The term 'parent'
(A) includes a legal guardian; and
(B) except as used in sections 615(b)(2)
and 639(a)(5), includes an individual
assigned under either of those sections to be a surrogate parent.
(20) PARENT ORGANIZATION- The term 'parent organization'
has the meaning given that term in section
(21) PARENT TRAINING AND INFORMATION
CENTER- The term 'parent training and information center' means a center
assisted under section 682 or 683.
(22) RELATED SERVICES- The term
'related services' means transportation, and such developmental, corrective,
and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and
audiology services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy,
recreation, including therapeutic recreation, social work services, counseling
services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility
services, and medical services, except that such medical services shall
be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist
a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes
the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children.
(23) SECONDARY SCHOOL- The term 'secondary school' means
a nonprofit institutional day or residential school that provides secondary
education, as determined under State law, except that it does not include
any education beyond grade 12.
(24) SECRETARY- The term 'Secretary' means the Secretary
(25) SPECIAL EDUCATION- The term
'special education' means specially designed instruction, at no cost to
parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including
(A) instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home,
in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and
(B) instruction in physical education.
(26) SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term 'specific learning disability'
means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved
in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder
may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read,
write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.
(B) DISORDERS INCLUDED- Such term includes such conditions
as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia,
and developmental aphasia.
(C) DISORDERS NOT INCLUDED- Such term does not include
a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or
motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or
of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
(27) STATE- The term 'State' means each of the 50 States,
the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each of
the outlying areas.
(28) STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY- The term 'State educational
agency' means the State board of education or other agency or officer primarily
responsible for the State supervision of public elementary and secondary
schools, or, if there is no such officer or agency, an officer or agency
designated by the Governor or by State law.
(29) SUPPLEMENTARY AIDS AND SERVICES-
The term 'supplementary aids and services' means, aids, services, and other
supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related
settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled
children to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with section
(30) TRANSITION SERVICES- The
term 'transition services' means a coordinated set of activities for a
student with a disability that --
(A) is designed within an outcome-oriented process,
which promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including
post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including
supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services,
independent living, or community participation;
(B) is based upon the individual student's needs, taking
into account the student's preferences and interests; and
(C) includes instruction, related services, community
experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult
living objectives, and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills
and functional vocational evaluation.
SEC. 603. OFFICE OF SPECIAL
(a) ESTABLISHMENT- There shall be,
within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the
Department of Education, an Office of Special Education Programs, which
shall be the principal agency in such Department for administering and
carrying out this Act and other programs and activities concerning the
education of children with disabilities.
(b) DIRECTOR- The Office established under subsection
(a) shall be headed by a Director who shall be selected by the Secretary
and shall report directly to the Assistant Secretary for Special Education
and Rehabilitative Services.
(c) VOLUNTARY AND UNCOMPENSATED SERVICES- Notwithstanding
1342 of title 31, United States Code, the Secretary is authorized to
accept voluntary and uncompensated services in furtherance of the purposes
of this Act.
SEC. 604. ABROGATION OF STATE
(a) IN GENERAL- A State shall not be
immune under the eleventh amendment to the Constitution of the United States
from suit in Federal court for a violation of this Act.
(b) REMEDIES- In a suit against
a State for a violation of this Act, remedies (including remedies both
at law and in equity) are available for such a violation to the same extent
as those remedies are available for such a violation in the suit against
any public entity other than a State.
(c) EFFECTIVE DATE- Subsections (a)
and (b) apply with respect to violations
that occur in whole or part after the date of the enactment of the Education
of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1990.
SEC. 605. ACQUISITION OF EQUIPMENT;
CONSTRUCTION OR ALTERATION OF FACILITIES.
(a) IN GENERAL- If the Secretary determines
that a program authorized under this Act would be improved by permitting
program funds to be used to acquire appropriate equipment, or to construct
new facilities or alter existing facilities, the Secretary is authorized
to allow the use of those funds for those purposes.
(b) COMPLIANCE WITH CERTAIN REGULATIONS- Any construction
of new facilities or alteration of existing facilities under subsection
(a) shall comply with the requirements of --
(1) appendix A of part 36 of title 28, Code of Federal
Regulations (commonly known as the 'Americans with Disabilities Accessibility
Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities'); or
(2) appendix A of part 101-19.6 of title 41, Code of Federal
Regulations (commonly known as the 'Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards').
SEC. 606. EMPLOYMENT OF INDIVIDUALS
The Secretary shall ensure that each recipient of assistance
under this Act makes positive efforts to employ and advance in employment
qualified individuals with disabilities in programs assisted under this
SEC. 607. REQUIREMENTS FOR PRESCRIBING
(a) PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD- The Secretary shall provide a
public comment period of at least 90 days on any regulation proposed under
B or part C of this Act on which an
opportunity for public comment is otherwise required by law.
(b) PROTECTIONS PROVIDED TO CHILDREN- The Secretary may
not implement, or publish in final form, any regulation prescribed pursuant
to this Act that would procedurally or substantively lessen the protections
provided to children with disabilities under this Act, as embodied in regulations
in effect on July 20, 1983 (particularly as such protections relate to
parental consent to initial evaluation or initial placement in special
education, least restrictive environment, related services, timelines,
attendance of evaluation personnel at individualized education program
meetings, or qualifications of personnel), except to the extent that such
regulation reflects the clear and unequivocal intent of the Congress in
(c) POLICY LETTERS AND STATEMENTS- The Secretary may not,
through policy letters or other statements, establish a rule that is required
for compliance with, and eligibility under, this part without following
the requirements of section
553 of title 5, United States Code.
(d) CORRESPONDENCE FROM DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DESCRIBING
INTERPRETATIONS OF THIS PART-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary
shall, on a quarterly basis, publish in the Federal
Register, and widely disseminate to interested entities through various
additional forms of communication, a list of correspondence from the Department
of Education received by individuals during the previous quarter that describes
the interpretations of the Department of Education of this Act or the regulations
implemented pursuant to this Act.
(2) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION- For each item of correspondence
published in a list under paragraph (1),
the Secretary shall identify the topic addressed by the correspondence
and shall include such other summary information as the Secretary determines
to be appropriate.
(e) ISSUES OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE-
If the Secretary receives a written request regarding a policy, question,
or interpretation under part B of this
Act, and determines that it raises an issue of general interest or applicability
of national significance to the implementation of part
B, the Secretary shall --
(1) include a statement to that effect in any written
(2) widely disseminate that response to State educational
agencies, local educational agencies, parent and advocacy organizations,
and other interested organizations, subject to applicable laws relating
to confidentiality of information; and
(3) not later than one year after the date on which
the Secretary responds to the written request, issue written guidance on
such policy, question, or interpretation through such means as the Secretary
determines to be appropriate and consistent with law, such as a policy
memorandum, notice of interpretation, or notice of proposed rulemaking.
(f) EXPLANATION- Any written response by the Secretary under
(e) regarding a policy, question, or interpretation under part
B of this Act shall include an explanation that the written response
(1) is provided as informal guidance and is not legally
(2) represents the interpretation by the Department of
Education of the applicable statutory or regulatory requirements in the
context of the specific facts presented.