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PART D -- NATIONAL ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
 
Part D
Subpart 1
Sec. 651
Sec. 652
Sec. 653
Sec. 654
Sec. 655
Sec. 656
Subpart 2
Sec. 661
Chapter 1
Sec. 671
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Sec. 681
Sec. 682
Sec. 683
Sec. 684
Sec. 685
Sec. 686
Sec. 687
Title II
Sec. 201
Sec. 202
Sec. 203

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Section 1
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Sec. 101
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Part D
Subpart 1
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Chapter 1
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Title II
 

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 PURPOSE.  (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds the following:  (1) States are responding with some success to multiple pressures to improve educational and transitional services and results for children with disabilities in response to growing demands imposed by ever-changing factors, such as demographics, social policies, and labor and economic markets. 

(2) In order for States to address such demands and to facilitate lasting systemic change that is of benefit to all students, including children with disabilities, States must involve local educational agencies, parents, individuals with disabilities and their families, teachers and other service providers, and other interested individuals and organizations in carrying out comprehensive strategies to improve educational results for children with disabilities. 

(3) Targeted Federal financial resources are needed to assist States, working in partnership with others, to identify and make needed changes to address the needs of children with disabilities into the next century. 

(4) State educational agencies, in partnership with local educational agencies and other individuals and organizations, are in the best position to identify and design ways to meet emerging and expanding demands to improve education for children with disabilities and to address their special needs. 

(5) Research, demonstration, and practice over the past 20 years in special education and related disciplines have built a foundation of knowledge on which State and local systemic-change activities can now be based. 

(6) Such research, demonstration, and practice in special education and related disciplines have demonstrated that an effective educational system now and in the future must -- 

(A) maintain high academic standards and clear performance goals for children with disabilities, consistent with the standards and expectations for all students in the educational system, and provide for appropriate and effective strategies and methods to ensure that students who are children with disabilities have maximum opportunities to achieve those standards and goals; 

(B) create a system that fully addresses the needs of all students, including children with disabilities, by addressing the needs of children with disabilities in carrying out educational reform activities; 

(C) clearly define, in measurable terms, the school and post-school results that children with disabilities are expected to achieve; 

(D) promote service integration, and the coordination of State and local education, social, health, mental health, and other services, in addressing the full range of student needs, particularly the needs of children with disabilities who require significant levels of support to maximize their participation and learning in school and the community; 

(E) ensure that children with disabilities are provided assistance and support in making transitions as described in section 674(b)(3)(C)

(F) promote comprehensive programs of professional development to ensure that the persons responsible for the education or a transition of children with disabilities possess the skills and knowledge necessary to address the educational and related needs of those children; 

(G) disseminate to teachers and other personnel serving children with disabilities research-based knowledge about successful teaching practices and models and provide technical assistance to local educational agencies and schools on how to improve results for children with disabilities; 

(H) create school-based disciplinary strategies that will be used to reduce or eliminate the need to use suspension and expulsion as disciplinary options for children with disabilities; 

(I) establish placement-neutral funding formulas and cost-effective strategies for meeting the needs of children with disabilities; and 

(J) involve individuals with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities in planning, implementing, and evaluating systemic-change activities and educational reforms. 

(b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this subpart is to assist State educational agencies, and their partners referred to in section 652(b), in reforming and improving their systems for providing educational, early intervention, and transitional services, including their systems for professional development, technical assistance, and dissemination of knowledge about best practices, to improve results for children with disabilities.
 
  SEC. 652. ELIGIBILITY AND COLLABORATIVE PROCESS.  (a) ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS- A State educational agency may apply for a grant under this subpart for a grant period of not less than 1 year and not more than 5 years. 

(b) PARTNERS- 

(1) REQUIRED PARTNERS-  (A) CONTRACTUAL PARTNERS- In order to be considered for a grant under this subpart, a State educational agency shall establish a partnership with local educational agencies and other State agencies involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities.  (B) OTHER PARTNERS- In order to be considered for a grant under this subpart, a State educational agency shall work in partnership with other persons and organizations involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including --  (i) the Governor; 

(ii) parents of children with disabilities; 

(iii) parents of nondisabled children; 

(iv) individuals with disabilities; 

(v) organizations representing individuals with disabilities and their parents, such as parent training and information centers; 

(vi) community-based and other nonprofit organizations involved in the education and employment of individuals with disabilities; 

(vii) the lead State agency for part C

(viii) general and special education teachers, and early intervention personnel; 

(ix) the State advisory panel established under part C

(x) the State interagency coordinating council established under part C; and 

(xi) institutions of higher education within the State. 

(2) OPTIONAL PARTNERS- A partnership under subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) may also include -- (A) individuals knowledgeable about vocational education; 

(B) the State agency for higher education; 

(C) the State vocational rehabilitation agency; 

(D) public agencies with jurisdiction in the areas of health, mental health, social services, and juvenile justice; and 

(E) other individuals. 
 
 

SEC. 653. APPLICATIONS. 
(a) IN GENERAL-  (1) SUBMISSION- A State educational agency that desires to receive a grant under this subpart shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and including such information as the Secretary may require.

(2) STATE IMPROVEMENT PLAN- The application shall include a State improvement plan that -- 

(A) is integrated, to the maximum extent possible, with State plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as appropriate; and 

(B) meets the requirements of this section. 

(b) DETERMINING CHILD AND PROGRAM NEEDS-  (1) IN GENERAL- Each State improvement plan shall identify those critical aspects of early intervention, general education, and special education programs (including professional development, based on an assessment of State and local needs) that must be improved to enable children with disabilities to meet the goals established by the State under section 612(a)(16)

(2) REQUIRED ANALYSES- To meet the requirement of paragraph (1), the State improvement plan shall include at least -- 

(A) an analysis of all information, reasonably available to the State educational agency, on the performance of children with disabilities in the State, including --  (i) their performance on State assessments and other performance indicators established for all children, including drop-out rates and graduation rates; 

(ii) their participation in postsecondary education and employment; and 

(iii) how their performance on the assessments and indicators described in clause (i) compares to that of non-disabled children; 

(B) an analysis of State and local needs for professional development for personnel to serve children with disabilities that includes, at a minimum --  (i) the number of personnel providing special education and related services; and 

(ii) relevant information on current and anticipated personnel vacancies and shortages (including the number of individuals described in clause (i) with temporary certification), and on the extent of certification or retraining necessary to eliminate such shortages, that is based, to the maximum extent possible, on existing assessments of personnel needs; 

(C) an analysis of the major findings of the Secretary's most recent reviews of State compliance, as they relate to improving results for children with disabilities; and 
(D) an analysis of other information, reasonably available to the State, on the effectiveness of the State's systems of early intervention, special education, and general education in meeting the needs of children with disabilities.  (c) IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIES- Each State improvement plan shall --  (1) describe a partnership agreement that --  (A) specifies --  (i) the nature and extent of the partnership among the State educational agency, local educational agencies, and other State agencies involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, and the respective roles of each member of the partnership; and 

(ii) how such agencies will work in partnership with other persons and organizations involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including the respective roles of each of these persons and organizations; and 

(B) is in effect for the period of the grant; 
(2) describe how grant funds will be used in undertaking the systemic-change activities, and the amount and nature of funds from any other sources, including part B funds retained for use at the State level under sections 611(f) and 619(d), that will be committed to the systemic-change activities; 

(3) describe the strategies the State will use to address the needs identified under subsection (b), including -- 

(A) how the State will change State policies and procedures to address systemic barriers to improving results for children with disabilities; 

(B) how the State will hold local educational agencies and schools accountable for educational progress of children with disabilities; 

(C) how the State will provide technical assistance to local educational agencies and schools to improve results for children with disabilities; 

(D) how the State will address the identified needs for in-service and pre-service preparation to ensure that all personnel who work with children with disabilities (including both professional and paraprofessional personnel who provide special education, general education, related services, or early intervention services) have the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the needs of children with disabilities, including a description of how -- 

(i) the State will prepare general and special education personnel with the content knowledge and collaborative skills needed to meet the needs of children with disabilities, including how the State will work with other States on common certification criteria; 
(ii) the State will prepare professionals and paraprofessionals in the area of early intervention with the content knowledge and collaborative skills needed to meet the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities; 

(iii) the State will work with institutions of higher education and other entities that (on both a pre-service and an in-service basis) prepare personnel who work with children with disabilities to ensure that those institutions and entities develop the capacity to support quality professional development programs that meet State and local needs; 

(iv) the State will work to develop collaborative agreements with other States for the joint support and development of programs to prepare personnel for which there is not sufficient demand within a single State to justify support or development of such a program of preparation; 

(v) the State will work in collaboration with other States, particularly neighboring States, to address the lack of uniformity and reciprocity in the credentialing of teachers and other personnel; 

(vi) the State will enhance the ability of teachers and others to use strategies, such as behavioral interventions, to address the conduct of children with disabilities that impedes the learning of children with disabilities and others; 

(vii) the State will acquire and disseminate, to teachers, administrators, school board members, and related services personnel, significant knowledge derived from educational research and other sources, and how the State will, when appropriate, adopt promising practices, materials, and technology; 

(viii) the State will recruit, prepare, and retain qualified personnel, including personnel with disabilities and personnel from groups that are underrepresented in the fields of regular education, special education, and related services; 

(ix) the plan is integrated, to the maximum extent possible, with other professional development plans and activities, including plans and activities developed and carried out under other Federal and State laws that address personnel recruitment and training; and 

(x) the State will provide for the joint training of parents and special education, related services, and general education personnel; 

(E) strategies that will address systemic problems identified in Federal compliance reviews, including shortages of qualified personnel; 

(F) how the State will disseminate results of the local capacity-building and improvement projects funded under section 611(f)(4)

(G) how the State will address improving results for children with disabilities in the geographic areas of greatest need; and 

(H) how the State will assess, on a regular basis, the extent to which the strategies implemented under this subpart have been effective; and  (4) describe how the improvement strategies described in paragraph (3) will be coordinated with public and private sector resources.  (d) COMPETITIVE AWARDS-  (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall make grants under this subpart on a competitive basis. 

(2) PRIORITY- The Secretary may give priority to applications on the basis of need, as indicated by such information as the findings of Federal compliance reviews. 

(e) PEER REVIEW-  (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall use a panel of experts who are competent, by virtue of their training, expertise, or experience, to evaluate applications under this subpart. 

(2) COMPOSITION OF PANEL- A majority of a panel described in paragraph (1) shall be composed of individuals who are not employees of the Federal Government. 

(3) PAYMENT OF FEES AND EXPENSES OF CERTAIN MEMBERS- The Secretary may use available funds appropriated to carry out this subpart to pay the expenses and fees of panel members who are not employees of the Federal Government. 

(f) REPORTING PROCEDURES- Each State educational agency that receives a grant under this subpart shall submit performance reports to the Secretary pursuant to a schedule to be determined by the Secretary, but not more frequently than annually. The reports shall describe the progress of the State in meeting the performance goals established under section 612(a)(16), analyze the effectiveness of the State's strategies in meeting those goals, and identify any changes in the strategies needed to improve its performance. 
 
  SEC. 654. USE OF FUNDS.  (a) IN GENERAL-  (1) ACTIVITIES- A State educational agency that receives a grant under this subpart may use the grant to carry out any activities that are described in the State's application and that are consistent with the purpose of this subpart. 

(2) CONTRACTS AND SUBGRANTS- Each such State educational agency -- 

(A) shall, consistent with its partnership agreement under section 652(b), award contracts or subgrants to local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and parent training and information centers, as appropriate, to carry out its State improvement plan under this subpart; and 
(B) may award contracts and subgrants to other public and private entities, including the lead agency under part C, to carry out such plan.  (b) USE OF FUNDS FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT- A State educational agency that receives a grant under this subpart --  (1) shall use not less than 75 percent of the funds it receives under the grant for any fiscal year --  (A) to ensure that there are sufficient regular education, special education, and related services personnel who have the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the needs of children with disabilities and developmental goals of young children; or 

(B) to work with other States on common certification criteria; or 

(2) shall use not less than 50 percent of such funds for such purposes, if the State demonstrates to the Secretary's satisfaction that it has the personnel described in paragraph (1)(A)
(c) GRANTS TO OUTLYING AREAS- Public Law 95-134, permitting the consolidation of grants to the outlying areas, shall not apply to funds received under this subpart. 
 
  SEC. 655. MINIMUM STATE GRANT AMOUNTS.  (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall make a grant to each State educational agency whose application the Secretary has selected for funding under this subpart in an amount for each fiscal year that is --  (1) not less than $500,000, nor more than $2,000,000, in the case of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and 

(2) not less than $80,000, in the case of an outlying area. 

(b) INFLATION ADJUSTMENT- Beginning with fiscal year 1999, the Secretary may increase the maximum amount described in subsection (a)(1) to account for inflation. 

(c) FACTORS- The Secretary shall set the amount of each grant under subsection (a) after considering -- 

(1) the amount of funds available for making the grants; 

(2) the relative population of the State or outlying area; and 

(3) the types of activities proposed by the State or outlying area. 
 
 

SEC. 656. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. 
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subpart such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 1998 through 2002. 
 
 

SUBPART 2 -- COORDINATED RESEARCH, PERSONNEL PREPARATION, TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, SUPPORT, AND DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
 
 

SEC. 661. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.  (a) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN-  (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall develop and implement a comprehensive plan for activities carried out under this subpart in order to enhance the provision of educational, related, transitional, and early intervention services to children with disabilities under parts B and C. The plan shall include mechanisms to address educational, related services, transitional, and early intervention needs identified by State educational agencies in applications submitted for State program improvement grants under subpart 1.

(2) PARTICIPANTS IN PLAN DEVELOPMENT- In developing the plan described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consult with -- 

(A) individuals with disabilities; 

(B) parents of children with disabilities; 

(C) appropriate professionals; and 

(D) representatives of State and local educational agencies, private schools, institutions of higher education, other Federal agencies, the National Council on Disability, and national organizations with an interest in, and expertise in, providing services to children with disabilities and their families. 

(3) PUBLIC COMMENT- The Secretary shall take public comment on the plan. 

(4) DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS- In implementing the plan, the Secretary shall, to the extent appropriate, ensure that funds are awarded to recipients under this subpart to carry out activities that benefit, directly or indirectly, children with disabilities of all ages. 

(5) REPORTS TO CONGRESS- The Secretary shall periodically report to the Congress on the Secretary's activities under this subsection, including an initial report not later than the date that is 18 months after the date of the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997. 

(b) ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS-  (1) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, the following entities are eligible to apply for a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under this subpart:  (A) A State educational agency. 

(B) A local educational agency. 

(C) An institution of higher education. 

(D) Any other public agency. 

(E) A private nonprofit organization. 

(F) An outlying area. 

(G) An Indian tribe or a tribal organization (as defined under section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act). 

(H) A for-profit organization, if the Secretary finds it appropriate in light of the purposes of a particular competition for a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under this subpart. 

(2) SPECIAL RULE- The Secretary may limit the entities eligible for an award of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement to one or more categories of eligible entities described in paragraph (1)
(c) USE OF FUNDS BY SECRETARY- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and in addition to any authority granted the Secretary under chapter 1 or chapter 2, the Secretary may use up to 20 percent of the funds available under either chapter 1 or chapter 2 for any fiscal year to carry out any activity, or combination of activities, subject to such conditions as the Secretary determines are appropriate effectively to carry out the purposes of such chapters, that --  (1) is consistent with the purposes of chapter 1, chapter 2, or both; and 

(2) involves -- 

(A) research; 

(B) personnel preparation; 

(C) parent training and information; 

(D) technical assistance and dissemination; 

(E) technology development, demonstration, and utilization; or 

(F) media services. 

(d) SPECIAL POPULATIONS-  (1) APPLICATION REQUIREMENT- In making an award of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under this subpart, the Secretary shall, as appropriate, require an applicant to demonstrate how the applicant will address the needs of children with disabilities from minority backgrounds. 

(2) OUTREACH AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE- 

(A) REQUIREMENT- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Secretary shall ensure that at least one percent of the total amount of funds appropriated to carry out this subpart is used for either or both of the following activities:  (i) To provide outreach and technical assistance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and to institutions of higher education with minority enrollments of at least 25 percent, to promote the participation of such colleges, universities, and institutions in activities under this subpart. 

(ii) To enable Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the institutions described in clause (i), to assist other colleges, universities, institutions, and agencies in improving educational and transitional results for children with disabilities. 

(B) RESERVATION OF FUNDS- The Secretary may reserve funds appropriated under this subpart to satisfy the requirement of subparagraph (A)
(e) PRIORITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise explicitly authorized in this subpart, the Secretary shall ensure that a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under chapter 1 or 2 is awarded only --  (A) for activities that are designed to benefit children with disabilities, their families, or the personnel employed to work with such children or their families; or 

(B) to benefit other individuals with disabilities that such chapter is intended to benefit.

(2) PRIORITY FOR PARTICULAR ACTIVITIES- Subject to paragraph (1), the Secretary, in making an award of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under this subpart, may, without regard to the rule making procedures under section 553 of title 5, United States Code, limit competitions to, or otherwise give priority to --  (A) projects that address one or more --  (i) age ranges; 

(ii) disabilities; 

(iii) school grades; 

(iv) types of educational placements or early intervention environments; 

(v) types of services; 

(vi) content areas, such as reading; or 

(vii) effective strategies for helping children with disabilities learn appropriate behavior in the school and other community-based educational settings; 

(B) projects that address the needs of children based on the severity of their disability; 

(C) projects that address the needs of -- 

(i) low-achieving students; 

(ii) underserved populations; 

(iii) children from low-income families; 

(iv) children with limited English proficiency; 

(v) unserved and underserved areas; 

(vi) particular types of geographic areas; or 

(vii) children whose behavior interferes with their learning and socialization; 

(D) projects to reduce inappropriate identification of children as children with disabilities, particularly among minority children; 

(E) projects that are carried out in particular areas of the country, to ensure broad geographic coverage; and 

(F) any activity that is expressly authorized in chapter 1 or 2

(f) APPLICANT AND RECIPIENT RESPONSIBILITIES-  (1) DEVELOPMENT AND ASSESSMENT OF PROJECTS- The Secretary shall require that an applicant for, and a recipient of, a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement for a project under this subpart --  (A) involve individuals with disabilities or parents of individuals with disabilities in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project; and 

(B) where appropriate, determine whether the project has any potential for replication and adoption by other entities. 

(2) ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES- The Secretary may require a recipient of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement for a project under this subpart --  (A) to share in the cost of the project; 

(B) to prepare the research and evaluation findings and products from the project in formats that are useful for specific audiences, including parents, administrators, teachers, early intervention personnel, related services personnel, and individuals with disabilities; 

(C) to disseminate such findings and products; and 

(D) to collaborate with other such recipients in carrying out subparagraphs (B) and (C)

(g) APPLICATION MANAGEMENT-  (1) STANDING PANEL-  (A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall establish and use a standing panel of experts who are competent, by virtue of their training, expertise, or experience, to evaluate applications under this subpart that, individually, request more than $75,000 per year in Federal financial assistance. 

(B) MEMBERSHIP- The standing panel shall include, at a minimum -- 

(i) individuals who are representatives of institutions of higher education that plan, develop, and carry out programs of personnel preparation; 

(ii) individuals who design and carry out programs of research targeted to the improvement of special education programs and services; 

(iii) individuals who have recognized experience and knowledge necessary to integrate and apply research findings to improve educational and transitional results for children with disabilities; 

(iv) individuals who administer programs at the State or local level in which children with disabilities participate; 

(v) individuals who prepare parents of children with disabilities to participate in making decisions about the education of their children; 

(vi) individuals who establish policies that affect the delivery of services to children with disabilities; 

(vii) individuals who are parents of children with disabilities who are benefiting, or have benefited, from coordinated research, personnel preparation, and technical assistance; and 

(viii) individuals with disabilities. 

(C) TRAINING- The Secretary shall provide training to the individuals who are selected as members of the standing panel under this paragraph. 

(D) TERM- No individual shall serve on the standing panel for more than 3 consecutive years, unless the Secretary determines that the individual's continued participation is necessary for the sound administration of this subpart. 

(2) PEER-REVIEW PANELS FOR PARTICULAR COMPETITIONS-  (A) COMPOSITION- The Secretary shall ensure that each sub-panel selected from the standing panel that reviews applications under this subpart includes --  (i) individuals with knowledge and expertise on the issues addressed by the activities authorized by the subpart; and 

(ii) to the extent practicable, parents of children with disabilities, individuals with disabilities, and persons from diverse backgrounds. 

(B) FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT LIMITATION- A majority of the individuals on each sub-panel that reviews an application under this subpart shall be individuals who are not employees of the Federal Government. 
(3) USE OF DISCRETIONARY FUNDS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES-  (A) EXPENSES AND FEES OF NON-FEDERAL PANEL MEMBERS- The Secretary may use funds available under this subpart to pay the expenses and fees of the panel members who are not officers or employees of the Federal Government. 

(B) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT- The Secretary may use not more than 1 percent of the funds appropriated to carry out this subpart to pay non-Federal entities for administrative support related to management of applications submitted under this subpart. 

(C) MONITORING- The Secretary may use funds available under this subpart to pay the expenses of Federal employees to conduct on-site monitoring of projects receiving $500,000 or more for any fiscal year under this subpart. 

(h) PROGRAM EVALUATION- The Secretary may use funds appropriated to carry out this subpart to evaluate activities carried out under the subpart. 

(i) MINIMUM FUNDING REQUIRED- 

(1) IN GENERAL- Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary shall ensure that, for each fiscal year, at least the following amounts are provided under this subpart to address the following needs:  (A) $12,832,000 to address the educational, related services, transitional, and early intervention needs of children with deaf-blindness.  (B) $4,000,000 to address the postsecondary, vocational, technical, continuing, and adult education needs of individuals with deafness. 

(C) $4,000,000 to address the educational, related services, and transitional needs of children with an emotional disturbance and those who are at risk of developing an emotional disturbance. 

(2) RATABLE REDUCTION- If the total amount appropriated to carry out sections 672, 673, and 685 for any fiscal year is less than $130,000,000, the amounts listed in paragraph (1) shall be ratably reduced. 
(j) ELIGIBILITY FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE- Effective for fiscal years for which the Secretary may make grants under section 619(b), no State or local educational agency or educational service agency or other public institution or agency may receive a grant under this subpart which relates exclusively to programs, projects, and activities pertaining to children aged 3 through 5, inclusive, unless the State is eligible to receive a grant under section 619(b)

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 PURPOSE.  (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds the following:  (1) The Federal Government has an ongoing obligation to support programs, projects, and activities that contribute to positive results for children with disabilities, enabling them --  (A) to meet their early intervention, educational, and transitional goals and, to the maximum extent possible, educational standards that have been established for all children; and 

(B) to acquire the skills that will empower them to lead productive and independent adult lives. 

(2) (A) As a result of more than 20 years of Federal support for research, demonstration projects, and personnel preparation, there is an important knowledge base for improving results for children with disabilities. 

(B) Such knowledge should be used by States and local educational agencies to design and implement state-of-the-art educational systems that consider the needs of, and include, children with disabilities, especially in environments in which they can learn along with their peers and achieve results measured by the same standards as the results of their peers. 

(3) (A) Continued Federal support is essential for the development and maintenance of a coordinated and high-quality program of research, demonstration projects, dissemination of information, and personnel preparation. 

(B) Such support -- 

(i) enables State educational agencies and local educational agencies to improve their educational systems and results for children with disabilities; 

(ii) enables State and local agencies to improve early intervention services and results for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families; and 

(iii) enhances the opportunities for general and special education personnel, related services personnel, parents, and paraprofessionals to participate in pre-service and in-service training, to collaborate, and to improve results for children with disabilities and their families. 

(4) The Federal Government plays a critical role in facilitating the availability of an adequate number of qualified personnel --  (A) to serve effectively the over 5,000,000 children with disabilities; 
(B) to assume leadership positions in administrative and direct-service capacities related to teacher training and research concerning the provision of early intervention services, special education, and related services; and 

(C) to work with children with low-incidence disabilities and their families. 

(5) The Federal Government performs the role described in paragraph (4) --  (A) by supporting models of personnel development that reflect successful practice, including strategies for recruiting, preparing, and retaining personnel; 

(B) by promoting the coordination and integration of -- 

(i) personnel-development activities for teachers of children with disabilities; and 

(ii) other personnel-development activities supported under Federal law, including this chapter; 

(C) by supporting the development and dissemination of information about teaching standards; and 

(D) by promoting the coordination and integration of personnel-development activities through linkage with systemic-change activities within States and nationally. 

(b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this chapter is to provide Federal funding for coordinated research, demonstration projects, outreach, and personnel-preparation activities that --  (1) are described in sections 672 through 674

(2) are linked with, and promote, systemic change; and 

(3) improve early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities. 
 
 

SEC. 672. RESEARCH AND INNOVATION TO IMPROVE SERVICES AND RESULTS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES. 
(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall make competitive grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, eligible entities to produce, and advance the use of, knowledge --  (1) to improve --  (A) services provided under this Act, including the practices of professionals and others involved in providing such services to children with disabilities; and 

(B) educational results for children with disabilities; 

(2) to address the special needs of preschool-aged children and infants and toddlers with disabilities, including infants and toddlers who would be at risk of having substantial developmental delays if early intervention services were not provided to them; 

(3) to address the specific problems of over-identification and under-identification of children with disabilities; 

(4) to develop and implement effective strategies for addressing inappropriate behavior of students with disabilities in schools, including strategies to prevent children with emotional and behavioral problems from developing emotional disturbances that require the provision of special education and related services; 

(5) to improve secondary and postsecondary education and transitional services for children with disabilities; and 

(6) to address the range of special education, related services, and early intervention needs of children with disabilities who need significant levels of support to maximize their participation and learning in school and in the community. 

(b) NEW KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), that lead to the production of new knowledge. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following: 

(A) Expanding understanding of the relationships between learning characteristics of children with disabilities and the diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic, social, and economic backgrounds of children with disabilities and their families. 

(B) Developing or identifying innovative, effective, and efficient curricula designs, instructional approaches, and strategies, and developing or identifying positive academic and social learning opportunities, that -- 

(i) enable children with disabilities to make effective transitions described in section 674(b)(3)(C) or transitions between educational settings; and 

(ii) improve educational and transitional results for children with disabilities at all levels of the educational system in which the activities are carried out and, in particular, that improve the progress of the children, as measured by assessments within the general education curriculum involved. 

(C) Advancing the design of assessment tools and procedures that will accurately and efficiently determine the special instructional, learning, and behavioral needs of children with disabilities, especially within the context of general education. 
(D) Studying and promoting improved alignment and compatibility of general and special education reforms concerned with curricular and instructional reform, evaluation and accountability of such reforms, and administrative procedures. 

(E) Advancing the design, development, and integration of technology, assistive technology devices, media, and materials, to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities. 

(F) Improving designs, processes, and results of personnel preparation for personnel who provide services to children with disabilities through the acquisition of information on, and implementation of, research-based practices. 

(G) Advancing knowledge about the coordination of education with health and social services. 

(H) Producing information on the long-term impact of early intervention and education on results for individuals with disabilities through large-scale longitudinal studies. 

(c) INTEGRATION OF RESEARCH AND PRACTICE; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), that integrate research and practice, including activities that support State systemic-change and local capacity-building and improvement efforts. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following: 

(A) Model demonstration projects to apply and test research findings in typical service settings to determine the usability, effectiveness, and general applicability of such research findings in such areas as improving instructional methods, curricula, and tools, such as textbooks and media. 

(B) Demonstrating and applying research-based findings to facilitate systemic changes, related to the provision of services to children with disabilities, in policy, procedure, practice, and the training and use of personnel. 

(C) Promoting and demonstrating the coordination of early intervention and educational services for children with disabilities with services provided by health, rehabilitation, and social service agencies. 

(D) Identifying and disseminating solutions that overcome systemic barriers to the effective and efficient delivery of early intervention, educational, and transitional services to children with disabilities. 

(d) IMPROVING THE USE OF PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), that improve the use of professional knowledge, including activities that support State systemic-change and local capacity-building and improvement efforts. (2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following:  (A) Synthesizing useful research and other information relating to the provision of services to children with disabilities, including effective practices. 

(B) Analyzing professional knowledge bases to advance an understanding of the relationships, and the effectiveness of practices, relating to the provision of services to children with disabilities. 

(C) Ensuring that research and related products are in appropriate formats for distribution to teachers, parents, and individuals with disabilities. 

(D) Enabling professionals, parents of children with disabilities, and other persons, to learn about, and implement, the findings of research, and successful practices developed in model demonstration projects, relating to the provision of services to children with disabilities. 

(E) Conducting outreach, and disseminating information relating to successful approaches to overcoming systemic barriers to the effective and efficient delivery of early intervention, educational, and transitional services, to personnel who provide services to children with disabilities. 

(e) BALANCE AMONG ACTIVITIES AND AGE RANGES- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall ensure that there is an appropriate balance --  (1) among knowledge production, integration of research and practice, and use of professional knowledge; and 

(2) across all age ranges of children with disabilities. 

(f) APPLICATIONS- An eligible entity that wishes to receive a grant, or enter into a contract or cooperative agreement, under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. 

(g) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 1998 through 2002. 
 
 

SEC. 673. PERSONNEL PREPARATION TO IMPROVE SERVICES AND RESULTS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES.  (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall, on a competitive basis, make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, eligible entities --  (1) to help address State-identified needs for qualified personnel in special education, related services, early intervention, and regular education, to work with children with disabilities; and  (2) to ensure that those personnel have the skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined, through research and experience, to be successful, that are needed to serve those children.  (b) LOW-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), that benefit children with low-incidence disabilities. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following: 

(A) Preparing persons who --  (i) have prior training in educational and other related service fields; and 

(ii) are studying to obtain degrees, certificates, or licensure that will enable them to assist children with disabilities to achieve the objectives set out in their individualized education programs described in section 614(d), or to assist infants and toddlers with disabilities to achieve the outcomes described in their individualized family service plans described in section 636

(B) Providing personnel from various disciplines with interdisciplinary training that will contribute to improvement in early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities. 

(C) Preparing personnel in the innovative uses and application of technology to enhance learning by children with disabilities through early intervention, educational, and transitional services. 

(D) Preparing personnel who provide services to visually impaired or blind children to teach and use Braille in the provision of services to such children. 

(E) Preparing personnel to be qualified educational interpreters, to assist children with disabilities, particularly deaf and hard-of-hearing children in school and school-related activities and deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and toddlers and preschool children in early intervention and preschool programs. 

(F) Preparing personnel who provide services to children with significant cognitive disabilities and children with multiple disabilities. 

(3) DEFINITION- As used in this section, the term 'low-incidence disability' means --  (A) a visual or hearing impairment, or simultaneous visual and hearing impairments; 

(B) a significant cognitive impairment; or 

(C) any impairment for which a small number of personnel with highly specialized skills and knowledge are needed in order for children with that impairment to receive early intervention services or a free appropriate public education. 

(4) SELECTION OF RECIPIENTS- In selecting recipients under this subsection, the Secretary may give preference to applications that propose to prepare personnel in more than one low-incidence disability, such as deafness and blindness. 

(5) PREPARATION IN USE OF BRAILLE- The Secretary shall ensure that all recipients of assistance under this subsection who will use that assistance to prepare personnel to provide services to visually impaired or blind children that can appropriately be provided in Braille will prepare those individuals to provide those services in Braille. 

(c) LEADERSHIP PREPARATION; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support leadership preparation activities that are consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a)

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following: 

(A) Preparing personnel at the advanced graduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral levels of training to administer, enhance, or provide services for children with disabilities. 

(B) Providing interdisciplinary training for various types of leadership personnel, including teacher preparation faculty, administrators, researchers, supervisors, principals, and other persons whose work affects early intervention, educational, and transitional services for children with disabilities. 

(d) PROJECTS OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), that are of national significance and have broad applicability. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following: 

(A) Developing and demonstrating effective and efficient practices for preparing personnel to provide services to children with disabilities, including practices that address any needs identified in the State's improvement plan under part C

(B) Demonstrating the application of significant knowledge derived from research and other sources in the development of programs to prepare personnel to provide services to children with disabilities. 

(C) Demonstrating models for the preparation of, and interdisciplinary training of, early intervention, special education, and general education personnel, to enable the personnel -- 

(i) to acquire the collaboration skills necessary to work within teams to assist children with disabilities; and 
(ii) to achieve results that meet challenging standards, particularly within the general education curriculum.  (D) Demonstrating models that reduce shortages of teachers, and personnel from other relevant disciplines, who serve children with disabilities, through reciprocity arrangements between States that are related to licensure and certification. 

(E) Developing, evaluating, and disseminating model teaching standards for persons working with children with disabilities. 

(F) Promoting the transferability, across State and local jurisdictions, of licensure and certification of teachers and administrators working with such children. 

(G) Developing and disseminating models that prepare teachers with strategies, including behavioral interventions, for addressing the conduct of children with disabilities that impedes their learning and that of others in the classroom. 

(H) Institutes that provide professional development that addresses the needs of children with disabilities to teachers or teams of teachers, and where appropriate, to school board members, administrators, principals, pupil-service personnel, and other staff from individual schools. 

(I) Projects to improve the ability of general education teachers, principals, and other administrators to meet the needs of children with disabilities. 

(J) Developing, evaluating, and disseminating innovative models for the recruitment, induction, retention, and assessment of new, qualified teachers, especially from groups that are underrepresented in the teaching profession, including individuals with disabilities. 

(K) Supporting institutions of higher education with minority enrollments of at least 25 percent for the purpose of preparing personnel to work with children with disabilities. 

(e) HIGH-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), to benefit children with high-incidence disabilities, such as children with specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairment, or mental retardation. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include the following: 

(A) Activities undertaken by institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, and other local entities --  (i) to improve and reform their existing programs to prepare teachers and related services personnel -- 
(I) to meet the diverse needs of children with disabilities for early intervention, educational, and transitional services; and 

(II) to work collaboratively in regular classroom settings; and 

(ii) to incorporate best practices and research-based knowledge about preparing personnel so they will have the knowledge and skills to improve educational results for children with disabilities. 
(B) Activities incorporating innovative strategies to recruit and prepare teachers and other personnel to meet the needs of areas in which there are acute and persistent shortages of personnel. 

(C) Developing career opportunities for paraprofessionals to receive training as special education teachers, related services personnel, and early intervention personnel, including interdisciplinary training to enable them to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities. 

(f) APPLICATIONS-  (1) IN GENERAL- Any eligible entity that wishes to receive a grant, or enter into a contract or cooperative agreement, under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. 

(2) IDENTIFIED STATE NEEDS- 

(A) REQUIREMENT TO ADDRESS IDENTIFIED NEEDS- Any application under subsection (b), (c), or (e) shall include information demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the activities described in the application will address needs identified by the State or States the applicant proposes to serve. 

(B) COOPERATION WITH STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES- Any applicant that is not a local educational agency or a State educational agency shall include information demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the applicant and one or more State educational agencies have engaged in a cooperative effort to plan the project to which the application pertains, and will cooperate in carrying out and monitoring the project. 

(3) ACCEPTANCE BY STATES OF PERSONNEL PREPARATION REQUIREMENTS- The Secretary may require applicants to provide letters from one or more States stating that the States --  (A) intend to accept successful completion of the proposed personnel preparation program as meeting State personnel standards for serving children with disabilities or serving infants and toddlers with disabilities; and 

(B) need personnel in the area or areas in which the applicant proposes to provide preparation, as identified in the States' comprehensive systems of personnel development under parts B and C

(g) SELECTION OF RECIPIENTS-  (1) IMPACT OF PROJECT- In selecting recipients under this section, the Secretary may consider the impact of the project proposed in the application in meeting the need for personnel identified by the States. 

(2) REQUIREMENT ON APPLICANTS TO MEET STATE AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS- The Secretary shall make grants under this section only to eligible applicants that meet State and professionally-recognized standards for the preparation of special education and related services personnel, if the purpose of the project is to assist personnel in obtaining degrees. 

(3) PREFERENCES- In selecting recipients under this section, the Secretary may -- 

(A) give preference to institutions of higher education that are educating regular education personnel to meet the needs of children with disabilities in integrated settings and educating special education personnel to work in collaboration with regular educators in integrated settings; and 

(B) give preference to institutions of higher education that are successfully recruiting and preparing individuals with disabilities and individuals from groups that are underrepresented in the profession for which they are preparing individuals. 

(h) SERVICE OBLIGATION-  (1) IN GENERAL- Each application for funds under subsections (b) and (e), and to the extent appropriate subsection (d), shall include an assurance that the applicant will ensure that individuals who receive a scholarship under the proposed project will subsequently provide special education and related services to children with disabilities for a period of 2 years for every year for which assistance was received or repay all or part of the cost of that assistance, in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary. 

(2) LEADERSHIP PREPARATION- Each application for funds under subsection (c) shall include an assurance that the applicant will ensure that individuals who receive a scholarship under the proposed project will subsequently perform work related to their preparation for a period of 2 years for every year for which assistance was received or repay all or part of such costs, in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary. 

(i) SCHOLARSHIPS- The Secretary may include funds for scholarships, with necessary stipends and allowances, in awards under subsections (b), (c), (d), and (e)

(j) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 1998 through 2002.
 
 

SEC. 674. STUDIES AND EVALUATIONS.  (a) STUDIES AND EVALUATIONS-  (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall, directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, assess the progress in the implementation of this Act, including the effectiveness of State and local efforts to provide --  (A) a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities; and 

(B) early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and infants and toddlers who would be at risk of having substantial developmental delays if early intervention services were not provided to them. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary may support studies, evaluations, and assessments, including studies that --  (A) analyze measurable impact, outcomes, and results achieved by State educational agencies and local educational agencies through their activities to reform policies, procedures, and practices designed to improve educational and transitional services and results for children with disabilities; 

(B) analyze State and local needs for professional development, parent training, and other appropriate activities that can reduce the need for disciplinary actions involving children with disabilities; 

(C) assess educational and transitional services and results for children with disabilities from minority backgrounds, including -- 

(i) data on --  (I) the number of minority children who are referred for special education evaluation; 

(II) the number of minority children who are receiving special education and related services and their educational or other service placement; and 

(III) the number of minority children who graduated from secondary and postsecondary education programs; and 

(ii) the performance of children with disabilities from minority backgrounds on State assessments and other performance indicators established for all students; 
(D) measure educational and transitional services and results of children with disabilities under this Act, including longitudinal studies that --  (i) examine educational and transitional services and results for children with disabilities who are 3 through 17 years of age and are receiving special education and related services under this Act, using a national, representative sample of distinct age cohorts and disability categories; and 
(ii) examine educational results, postsecondary placement, and employment status of individuals with disabilities, 18 through 21 years of age, who are receiving or have received special education and related services under this Act; and  (E) identify and report on the placement of children with disabilities by disability category.  (b) NATIONAL ASSESSMENT-  (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall carry out a national assessment of activities carried out with Federal funds under this Act in order --  (A) to determine the effectiveness of this Act in achieving its purposes; 

(B) to provide information to the President, the Congress, the States, local educational agencies, and the public on how to implement the Act more effectively; and 

(C) to provide the President and the Congress with information that will be useful in developing legislation to achieve the purposes of this Act more effectively. 

(2) CONSULTATION- The Secretary shall plan, review, and conduct the national assessment under this subsection in consultation with researchers, State practitioners, local practitioners, parents of children with disabilities, individuals with disabilities, and other appropriate individuals. 

(3) SCOPE OF ASSESSMENT- The national assessment shall examine how well schools, local educational agencies, States, other recipients of assistance under this Act, and the Secretary are achieving the purposes of this Act, including -- 

(A) improving the performance of children with disabilities in general scholastic activities and assessments as compared to nondisabled children; 

(B) providing for the participation of children with disabilities in the general curriculum; 

(C) helping children with disabilities make successful transitions from -- 

(i) early intervention services to preschool education; 

(ii) preschool education to elementary school; and 

(iii) secondary school to adult life; 

(D) placing and serving children with disabilities, including minority children, in the least restrictive environment appropriate; 

(E) preventing children with disabilities, especially children with emotional disturbances and specific learning disabilities, from dropping out of school; 

(F) addressing behavioral problems of children with disabilities as compared to nondisabled children; 

(G) coordinating services provided under this Act with each other, with other educational and pupil services (including preschool services), and with health and social services funded from other sources; 

(H) providing for the participation of parents of children with disabilities in the education of their children; and 

(I) resolving disagreements between education personnel and parents through activities such as mediation. 

(4) INTERIM AND FINAL REPORTS- The Secretary shall submit to the President and the Congress --  (A) an interim report that summarizes the preliminary findings of the assessment not later than October 1, 1999; and 

(B) a final report of the findings of the assessment not later than October 1, 2001. 

(c) ANNUAL REPORT- The Secretary shall report annually to the Congress on --  (1) an analysis and summary of the data reported by the States and the Secretary of the Interior under section 618

(2) the results of activities conducted under subsection (a)

(3) the findings and determinations resulting from reviews of State implementation of this Act. 

(d) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO LEAS- The Secretary shall provide directly, or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, technical assistance to local educational agencies to assist them in carrying out local capacity-building and improvement projects under section 611(f)(4) and other LEA systemic improvement activities under this Act. 

(e) RESERVATION FOR STUDIES AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE- 

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2) and notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Secretary may reserve up to one-half of one percent of the amount appropriated under parts B and C for each fiscal year to carry out this section. 

(2) MAXIMUM AMOUNT- For the first fiscal year in which the amount described in paragraph (1) is at least $20,000,000, the maximum amount the Secretary may reserve under paragraph (1) is $20,000,000. For each subsequent fiscal year, the maximum amount the Secretary may reserve under paragraph (1) is $20,000,000, increased by the cumulative rate of inflation since the fiscal year described in the previous sentence. 

(3) USE OF MAXIMUM AMOUNT- In any fiscal year described in paragraph (2) for which the Secretary reserves the maximum amount described in that paragraph, the Secretary shall use at least half of the reserved amount for activities under subsection (d) 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 PURPOSES.  (a) IN GENERAL- The Congress finds as follows:  (1) National technical assistance, support, and dissemination activities are necessary to ensure that parts B and C are fully implemented and achieve quality early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities and their families. 

(2) Parents, teachers, administrators, and related services personnel need technical assistance and information in a timely, coordinated, and accessible manner in order to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results at the State and local levels for children with disabilities and their families. 

(3) Parent training and information activities have taken on increased importance in efforts to assist parents of a child with a disability in dealing with the multiple pressures of rearing such a child and are of particular importance in -- 

(A) ensuring the involvement of such parents in planning and decisionmaking with respect to early intervention, educational, and transitional services; 

(B) achieving quality early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities; 

(C) providing such parents information on their rights and protections under this Act to ensure improved early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities; 

(D) assisting such parents in the development of skills to participate effectively in the education and development of their children and in the transitions described in section 674(b)(3)(C); and 

(E) supporting the roles of such parents as participants within partnerships seeking to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families. 

(4) Providers of parent training and information activities need to ensure that such parents who have limited access to services and supports, due to economic, cultural, or linguistic barriers, are provided with access to appropriate parent training and information activities. 

(5) Parents of children with disabilities need information that helps the parents to understand the rights and responsibilities of their children under part B

(6) The provision of coordinated technical assistance and dissemination of information to State and local agencies, institutions of higher education, and other providers of services to children with disabilities is essential in --  (A) supporting the process of achieving systemic change; 

(B) supporting actions in areas of priority specific to the improvement of early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities; 

(C) conveying information and assistance that are -- 

(i) based on current research (as of the date the information and assistance are conveyed); 

(ii) accessible and meaningful for use in supporting systemic-change activities of State and local partnerships; and 

(iii) linked directly to improving early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families; and 

(D) organizing systems and information networks for such information, based on modern technology related to --  (i) storing and gaining access to information; and 

(ii) distributing information in a systematic manner to parents, students, professionals, and policymakers. 

(7) Federal support for carrying out technology research, technology development, and educational media services and activities has resulted in major innovations that have significantly improved early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families. 

(8) Such Federal support is needed -- 

(A) to stimulate the development of software, interactive learning tools, and devices to address early intervention, educational, and transitional needs of children with disabilities who have certain disabilities; 

(B) to make information available on technology research, technology development, and educational media services and activities to individuals involved in the provision of early intervention, educational, and transitional services to children with disabilities; 

(C) to promote the integration of technology into curricula to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities; 

(D) to provide incentives for the development of technology and media devices and tools that are not readily found or available because of the small size of potential markets; 

(E) to make resources available to pay for such devices and tools and educational media services and activities; 

(F) to promote the training of personnel -- 

(i) to provide such devices, tools, services, and activities in a competent manner; and 

(ii) to assist children with disabilities and their families in using such devices, tools, services, and activities; and 

(G) to coordinate the provision of such devices, tools, services, and activities --  (i) among State human services programs; and 

(ii) between such programs and private agencies. 

(b) PURPOSES- The purposes of this chapter are to ensure that --  (1) children with disabilities, and their parents, receive training and information on their rights and protections under this Act, in order to develop the skills necessary to effectively participate in planning and decisionmaking relating to early intervention, educational, and transitional services and in systemic-change activities; 

(2) parents, teachers, administrators, early intervention personnel, related services personnel, and transition personnel receive coordinated and accessible technical assistance and information to assist such persons, through systemic-change activities and other efforts, to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families; 

(3) appropriate technology and media are researched, developed, demonstrated, and made available in timely and accessible formats to parents, teachers, and all types of personnel providing services to children with disabilities to support their roles as partners in the improvement and implementation of early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families; 

(4) on reaching the age of majority under State law, children with disabilities understand their rights and responsibilities under part B, if the State provides for the transfer of parental rights under section 615(m); and 

(5) the general welfare of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals is promoted by -- 

(A) bringing to such individuals understanding and appreciation of the films and television programs that play an important part in the general and cultural advancement of hearing individuals; 
(B) providing, through those films and television programs, enriched educational and cultural experiences through which deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals can better understand the realities of their environment; and 

(C) providing wholesome and rewarding experiences that deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may share. 
 
 

SEC. 682. PARENT TRAINING AND INFORMATION CENTERS. 
(a) PROGRAM AUTHORIZED- The Secretary may make grants to, and enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with, parent organizations to support parent training and information centers to carry out activities under this section. 

(b) REQUIRED ACTIVITIES- Each parent training and information center that receives assistance under this section shall -- 

(1) provide training and information that meets the training and information needs of parents of children with disabilities living in the area served by the center, particularly underserved parents and parents of children who may be inappropriately identified; 

(2) assist parents to understand the availability of, and how to effectively use, procedural safeguards under this Act, including encouraging the use, and explaining the benefits, of alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as the mediation process described in section 615(e)

(3) serve the parents of infants, toddlers, and children with the full range of disabilities; 

(4) assist parents to -- 

(A) better understand the nature of their children's disabilities and their educational and developmental needs; 

(B) communicate effectively with personnel responsible for providing special education, early intervention, and related services; 

(C) participate in decisionmaking processes and the development of individualized education programs under part B and individualized family service plans under part C

(D) obtain appropriate information about the range of options, programs, services, and resources available to assist children with disabilities and their families; 

(E) understand the provisions of this Act for the education of, and the provision of early intervention services to, children with disabilities; and 

(F) participate in school reform activities; 

(5) in States where the State elects to contract with the parent training and information center, contract with State educational agencies to provide, consistent with subparagraphs (B) and (D) of section 615(e)(2), individuals who meet with parents to explain the mediation process to them; 

(6) network with appropriate clearinghouses, including organizations conducting national dissemination activities under section 685(d), and with other national, State, and local organizations and agencies, such as protection and advocacy agencies, that serve parents and families of children with the full range of disabilities; and 

(7) annually report to the Secretary on -- 

(A) the number of parents to whom it provided information and training in the most recently concluded fiscal year; and 

(B) the effectiveness of strategies used to reach and serve parents, including underserved parents of children with disabilities. 

(c) OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES- A parent training and information center that receives assistance under this section may --  (1) provide information to teachers and other professionals who provide special education and related services to children with disabilities; 

(2) assist students with disabilities to understand their rights and responsibilities under section 615(m) on reaching the age of majority; and 

(3) assist parents of children with disabilities to be informed participants in the development and implementation of the State's State improvement plan under subpart 1

(d) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS- Each application for assistance under this section shall identify with specificity the special efforts that the applicant will undertake --  (1) to ensure that the needs for training and information of underserved parents of children with disabilities in the area to be served are effectively met; and 

(2) to work with community-based organizations. 

(e) DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS-  (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall make at least 1 award to a parent organization in each State, unless the Secretary does not receive an application from such an organization in each State of sufficient quality to warrant approval. 

(2) SELECTION REQUIREMENT- The Secretary shall select among applications submitted by parent organizations in a State in a manner that ensures the most effective assistance to parents, including parents in urban and rural areas, in the State. 

(f) QUARTERLY REVIEW-  (1) REQUIREMENTS-  (A) MEETINGS- The board of directors or special governing committee of each organization that receives an award under this section shall meet at least once in each calendar quarter to review the activities for which the award was made. 

(B) ADVISING BOARD- Each special governing committee shall directly advise the organization's governing board of its views and recommendations. 

(2) CONTINUATION AWARD- When an organization requests a continuation award under this section, the board of directors or special governing committee shall submit to the Secretary a written review of the parent training and information program conducted by the organization during the preceding fiscal year. 
(g) DEFINITION OF PARENT ORGANIZATION- As used in this section, the term 'parent organization' means a private nonprofit organization (other than an institution of higher education) that --  (1) has a board of directors --  (A) the majority of whom are parents of children with disabilities; 

(B) that includes -- 

(i) individuals working in the fields of special education, related services, and early intervention; and 

(ii) individuals with disabilities; and 

(C) the parent and professional members of which are broadly representative of the population to be served; or 
(2) has --  (A) a membership that represents the interests of individuals with disabilities and has established a special governing committee that meets the requirements of paragraph (1); and 

(B) a memorandum of understanding between the special governing committee and the board of directors of the organization that clearly outlines the relationship between the board and the committee and the decisionmaking responsibilities and authority of each. 
 
 

SEC. 683. COMMUNITY PARENT RESOURCE CENTERS. 
(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may make grants to, and enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with, local parent organizations to support parent training and information centers that will help ensure that underserved parents of children with disabilities, including low-income parents, parents of children with limited English proficiency, and parents with disabilities, have the training and information they need to enable them to participate effectively in helping their children with disabilities --  (1) to meet developmental goals and, to the maximum extent possible, those challenging standards that have been established for all children; and 

(2) to be prepared to lead productive independent adult lives, to the maximum extent possible.

(b) REQUIRED ACTIVITIES- Each parent training and information center assisted under this section shall --  (1) provide training and information that meets the training and information needs of parents of children with disabilities proposed to be served by the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement; 

(2) carry out the activities required of parent training and information centers under paragraphs (2) through (7) of section 682(b)

(3) establish cooperative partnerships with the parent training and information centers funded under section 682; and 

(4) be designed to meet the specific needs of families who experience significant isolation from available sources of information and support. 

(c) DEFINITION- As used is this section, the term 'local parent organization' means a parent organization, as defined in section 682(g), that either --  (1) has a board of directors the majority of whom are from the community to be served; or 

(2) has -- 

(A) as a part of its mission, serving the interests of individuals with disabilities from such community; and 

(B) a special governing committee to administer the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, a majority of the members of which are individuals from such community. 
 
 

SEC. 684. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR PARENT TRAINING AND INFORMATION CENTERS. 
(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may, directly or through awards to eligible entities, provide technical assistance for developing, assisting, and coordinating parent training and information programs carried out by parent training and information centers receiving assistance under sections 682 and 683

(b) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- The Secretary may provide technical assistance to a parent training and information center under this section in areas such as -- 

(1) effective coordination of parent training efforts; 

(2) dissemination of information; 

(3) evaluation by the center of itself; 

(4) promotion of the use of technology, including assistive technology devices and assistive technology services; 

(5) reaching underserved populations;

(6) including children with disabilities in general education programs; 

(7) facilitation of transitions from -- 

(A) early intervention services to preschool; 

(B) preschool to school; and 

(C) secondary school to postsecondary environments; and 

(8) promotion of alternative methods of dispute resolution. 
 
  SEC. 685. COORDINATED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND DISSEMINATION. 
(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall, by competitively making grants or entering into contracts and cooperative agreements with eligible entities, provide technical assistance and information, through such mechanisms as institutes, Regional Resource Centers, clearinghouses, and programs that support States and local entities in building capacity, to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families, and address systemic-change goals and priorities. 

(b) SYSTEMIC TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- 

(1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall carry out or support technical assistance activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), relating to systemic change. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following: 

(A) Assisting States, local educational agencies, and other participants in partnerships established under subpart 1 with the process of planning systemic changes that will promote improved early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities. 

(B) Promoting change through a multistate or regional framework that benefits States, local educational agencies, and other participants in partnerships that are in the process of achieving systemic-change outcomes. 

(C) Increasing the depth and utility of information in ongoing and emerging areas of priority need identified by States, local educational agencies, and other participants in partnerships that are in the process of achieving systemic-change outcomes. 

(D) Promoting communication and information exchange among States, local educational agencies, and other participants in partnerships, based on the needs and concerns identified by the participants in the partnerships, rather than on externally imposed criteria or topics, regarding -- 

(i) the practices, procedures, and policies of the States, local educational agencies, and other participants in partnerships; and 

(ii) accountability of the States, local educational agencies, and other participants in partnerships for improved early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities. 

(c) SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall carry out or support activities, consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), relating to areas of priority or specific populations. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Examples of activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities that -- 

(A) focus on specific areas of high-priority need that --  (i) are identified by States, local educational agencies, and other participants in partnerships; 

(ii) require the development of new knowledge, or the analysis and synthesis of substantial bodies of information not readily available to the States, agencies, and other participants in partnerships; and 

(iii) will contribute significantly to the improvement of early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities and their families; 

(B) focus on needs and issues that are specific to a population of children with disabilities, such as the provision of single-State and multi-State technical assistance and in-service training -- 
(i) to schools and agencies serving deaf-blind children and their families; and 

(ii) to programs and agencies serving other groups of children with low-incidence disabilities and their families; or 

(C) address the postsecondary education needs of individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. 
(d) NATIONAL INFORMATION DISSEMINATION; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES-  (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall carry out or support information dissemination activities that are consistent with the objectives described in subsection (a), including activities that address national needs for the preparation and dissemination of information relating to eliminating barriers to systemic-change and improving early intervention, educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Examples of activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities relating to -- 

(A) infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, and children with disabilities and their families; 

(B) services for populations of children with low-incidence disabilities, including deaf-blind children, and targeted age groupings; 

(C) the provision of postsecondary services to individuals with disabilities; 

(D) the need for and use of personnel to provide services to children with disabilities, and personnel recruitment, retention, and preparation; 

(E) issues that are of critical interest to State educational agencies and local educational agencies, other agency personnel, parents of children with disabilities, and individuals with disabilities; 

(F) educational reform and systemic change within States; and 

(G) promoting schools that are safe and conducive to learning. 

(3) LINKING STATES TO INFORMATION SOURCES- In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary may support projects that link States to technical assistance resources, including special education and general education resources, and may make research and related products available through libraries, electronic networks, parent training projects, and other information sources. 
(e) APPLICATIONS- An eligible entity that wishes to receive a grant, or enter into a contract or cooperative agreement, under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. 
 
  SEC. 686. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.  There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out sections 681 through 685 such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 1998 through 2002. 
 
  SEC. 687. TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION, AND UTILIZATION; AND MEDIA SERVICES.  (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall competitively make grants to, and enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with, eligible entities to support activities described in subsections (b) and (c)

(b) TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION, AND UTILIZATION; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- 

(1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support activities to promote the development, demonstration, and utilization of technology. 

(2) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- Activities that may be carried out under this subsection include activities such as the following: 

(A) Conducting research and development activities on the use of innovative and emerging technologies for children with disabilities. 

(B) Promoting the demonstration and use of innovative and emerging technologies for children with disabilities by improving and expanding the transfer of technology from research and development to practice. 

(C) Providing technical assistance to recipients of other assistance under this section, concerning the development of accessible, effective, and usable products. 

(D) Communicating information on available technology and the uses of such technology to assist children with disabilities. 

(E) Supporting the implementation of research programs on captioning or video description. 

(F) Supporting research, development, and dissemination of technology with universal-design features, so that the technology is accessible to individuals with disabilities without further modification or adaptation. 

(G) Demonstrating the use of publicly-funded telecommunications systems to provide parents and teachers with information and training concerning early diagnosis of, intervention for, and effective teaching strategies for, young children with reading disabilities. 

(c) EDUCATIONAL MEDIA SERVICES; AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall support --  (1) educational media activities that are designed to be of educational value to children with disabilities; 

(2) providing video description, open captioning, or closed captioning of television programs, videos, or educational materials through September 30, 2001; and after fiscal year 2001, providing video description, open captioning, or closed captioning of educational, news, and informational television, videos, or materials; 

(3) distributing captioned and described videos or educational materials through such mechanisms as a loan service; 

(4) providing free educational materials, including textbooks, in accessible media for visually impaired and print-disabled students in elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and graduate schools; 

(5) providing cultural experiences through appropriate nonprofit organizations, such as the National Theater of the Deaf, that -- 

(A) enrich the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults; 

(B) increase public awareness and understanding of deafness and of the artistic and intellectual achievements of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons; or 

(C) promote the integration of hearing, deaf, and hard-of-hearing persons through shared cultural, educational, and social experiences; and 

(6) compiling and analyzing appropriate data relating to the activities described in paragraphs (1) through (5)
(d) APPLICATIONS- Any eligible entity that wishes to receive a grant, or enter into a contract or cooperative agreement, under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. 

(e) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 1998 through 2002.

Continue to Title II
 

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