Fieldtrip, anyone?

It's been a year since my amazing colleagues and I visited here....

Indeed, the mecca of US education - The United States Department of Education.  I have to admit two things:  1) I had never been there before and 2) I felt pretty nifty to have visited.  Now, I have insider connections there.  You heard me - real connections with real people.  Thus, because my college students and I are studying special education laws & mandates (I promise, it is a touch more interesting than it sounds), I decided to email one of my connections to see if anything new is brewing in the world of education and laws.

Here's the latest and greatest (with my interjections):
  • IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was slated to be reauthorized in 2012.  However, since Congress is busy with other matters and cannot seem to agree upon much and it is an election year, IDEA is on hold right now as far as a reauthorization goes.  My connection's hunch is it will be years before IDEA is updated and reauthorized.  Yes, years.
  • ESEA (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), also known since 2001 as the No Child Left Behind Act, is also behind schedule.  It was slated to be reauthorized in 2010 (or 2011).  To date, an ESEA reauthorization is on hold.  Same reasons as IDEA....busy, disagreeable Congress and it is an election year.  Why can't we just get along?
  • Interested in reading the changes proposed for the reauthorization of ESEA?  If so, click here.  Since all federal laws are lengthy, thankfully can you click on the portion  of the law that interests you most.
  • My connection's hunch is that IDEA will have better alignment with ESEA with regard to teacher qualifications, the reduction of paperwork, etc.  I personally like the parts on "early learning" - especially the birth-through-college-to-career-agenda and "innovation" - especially the part related to school choice.  I appreciate forward-thinking topics.
  • If you'd like to learn more about the most current IDEA, click here.
I must run....I'm headed to Washington, DC today for something else special and education-related.

All the best,


  1. I think that all these laws are important in the world of special education. They help teachers be able to provide students with dissabilities with the materials they need to learn and further their education. I hope when they are looked into they are not changed in a way of making things difficult for students that have dissabilites and for teachers who teach these students. I think the IFSp, IEP and ITP are all very important plans that need to stay running in order to help all disabled children who are struggling.

  2. Each law has a different meaning behind it, but they are all used and designed to help kids and young adults with disabilities. They are an important factor in a child with disabilities lives as well as their teachers and parents. It's good to know that IFSP's, IEP's, and ITP's are there for kids and young adults because it gives them a chance in school just like everyone else! I found it interesting to read about all of the educational programs/plans and what they were used for!

  3. You look so happy in this picture! I hope your experience is just as wonderful this time around.

    I think it is a shame that IDEA and ESEA have both been pushed back. While they are busy, should be a priority for our government. We are educating for the future, isn't that important?!?

    Anyways, once the new ideas for ESEA become law, they will definitely have an impact on special education. The portion about "Complete Education" is quite interesting. This will impact IEP's and ITP's. It discusses having each student ready for postsecondary education. For students under an IEP,however, being career ready is often the most important. I think actual work training and skills are key to success after high school. These skills are more important than passing the HSA in Biology! A "Complete Education" focuses more on accelerated learning, so many students under IEP's may not be as affected by this.

    The "Public School Choice" is important because it will be putting more money into public schools, so that students may receive a higher quality of education. Hopefully, a portion of this money will go towards special education, because many of our special education centers are public!

    The "Early Learning" program should help students transition from program to program in a better way. This will affect how children transfer from their IFSP to their IEP, and finally, to their ITP.

  4. Laws and programs are being overlooked significantly as simultaneously programs and education funding ensue funding cuts. In my opinion public education should be the most vital center of our future and economy. One cannot expect every child to thrive and adapt to neglected programming and education systems. I’m not saying that public education and programming can save every single growing mind out there, but I do believe that with proper funding, devotion and passionate leaders there would exist more winning and less risking.

    Erica R.

  5. I do not follow politics at all. I simply do not care for all of the arguing and people feeling the need to diagree all of the time. I'm one of those people who just wishes everyone could get along and be happy. With that being said, I couldn't tell you whether or not I agree with Barack Obama as President of the United States. However, after reading this and seeing that President Obama has a goal to get America back on top in education, I can say that I agree with that. It truly is sad to be in a country filled with so many bright minds that aren't being put to good use. I hope Obama's plan to get us back on track is successful and I fully support making this a national priority.

    Taylor H.

  6. Students - Keep up the great work. Your comments are insightful.

    Prof. Lara

  7. Each of the laws you mentioned are extremely important for both students and their families with disabilities. It seems as though the laws are not a top priority as they have been in the past. I think that any law related to education or to help individuals with disabilities needs to be a major concern. As I was researching about IFSP, IEP, and ITP's I learned just how crucial they are to assist and support people with disabilities. The proper services and guidance for individuals who have disabilities are necessary to help them succeed in life.

    Joy W.

  8. Joy - I agree - all three plans are "crucial." Well stated.


  9. I am glad that we have these laws for the world of Special Education. Three of those laws have different meaning behind it. Therefore; it will match and meet each disability person with their needs. I attended to a Deaf school all of my life, and I always had IEP. IEP, it helped me a lot in high school to know what I needed to improved on. I am thankful for the law providing education help with students who need help.

    -Stephanie K.

  10. After researching about IFSP's, IEP's and ITP's, I see how important these laws are to special education. Both of the laws mentioned seem's as though they will help as well.

    Victoria L.

  11. I remember in class we were talking about how everytime these laws get authorized they add something new to help the disabled. The fact that they are not reauthorizing these laws is not good. I hope when congress does reauthorize them that they come up with new and better ways to help the disabled.


  12. It's unfortunate that efforts to update IDEA and No Child Left Behind are not being adressed at the level of importance they deserve. Plans for education such as IFSP, IEP,and ITP are eccential for our nation's success. Students are the future of our country, and education is a direct means of progress. These programs crutical for the betterment of special needs individuals, as well as the country as a whole. I concurr with Obama's plans to make education a higher priority. I think it is a brillant point that I severely hope is greater stressed and adressed, and that all students given the resources and education to reach their highest potential.

    Katrina Moore

  13. When children on the spectrum were first introduced to our world, very few people were understanding. According to class, these children were abused but sometimes if talented were praised. I am just glad that society as a whole has come so far to reach out to these awesome people. I could not imagine growing up in an area where I constantly would see mentally disabled children being abused physically and mentally. Even though in today's world this does happen, I'm glad there are some laws in place that aid these individuals. Although personally I would like more awareness and more people focused on the subject, we are far better off than before.

    1. Sorry forgot to add my name: Sean D-

  14. It's nice to see all of these laws being put into place to help those with special needs. They are all extremely important to each individual with a learning disability whether it is severe or minor. I'm glad so many laws are in effect in order to help those with learning disabilities and they aren't just overlooked like they used to be.

    -Erin V.

  15. I think it is so wonderful that these laws are being repeatedly revisited over the years. It does seem that Congress keeps pushing the dates back, however that could be a good thing as opposed to being a bad thing. They have already decided that they need to be revised and that would be because of the changes in the world we have gone through and continue to go through as the world grows and improves its technology. My favorite part of this post is the changes that are going to be placed into the ESEA. Teacher qualifications, the reduction of paperwork and all that jazz, what teacher wouldn't be excited over these things?! :) Parents as well. Parents always want the best for their children, and like we said in class, we all want the students to be in the hands of the most qualified educators to help our little ones out!

    -Lauren R

  16. I really hope these laws don't get pushed back too long. I think it's great that they get revised over the years to make them even more useful and beneficial but it's saddening sometimes to see that education always seems to take a backseat in politics. Many politicians will stress the importance of education but when it comes to actually getting laws through, it's always a very long and drawn-out process. However, I am interested to see how the revisions turn out and how they'll help further address children with special education needs.

    -Brittany B.

  17. I'm glad that there are at least a few acts being proposed and discussed in Congress for people with disabilities. However, it's a shame that American politicians cannot agree upon these propositions. Are there really people out there who do not wish for laws to be passed that will benefit people with disabilities? How is that possible? I'd like to share your words in saying, "Why can't we just get along?"

    - Jon Thompson

  18. All of these laws are so important and shouldnt be pushed back any more. There are always new people coming into this world that need help, the laws should constantly be changing with all of the other changes in the world to help those who need it. I definitely want to look more into this and see whenever the laws will be updated. After my reseach on the IFSP, IEP, and ITP all of the laws and acts cant be sitting out in the cold. People need the help!

    -Kristian Hightower

  19. It's great that the politicians plan to revisit these laws but they need to get it done when they say they will. These laws are critical to the success of students, in a general education classroom as well as special needs children, from early childhood and on through college. As the times change so do the needs of our children. It is important for our society to keep up with these changes to ensure success in the classroom.
    ~ Jessica Carroll

  20. These laws are so important to the education of people with disabilities and special needs and it is surprising to me that they are taking a back seat in politics, however it is great that they are being revised and updated to the changes in education. I hope they are not pushed back too long because education should be a priority.