IDEA Funding Cut, Transition Services Strengthened After a series of hearings around the country, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is preparing the regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA ’04). The regulations could be released as early as next month. Key provisions in the law covered in this article-transition, English language learners ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   March 01, 2005
IDEA Funding Cut, Transition Services Strengthened
Author Notes
  • Neil Snyder, director of federal advocacy, can be reached at nsnyder@asha.org.
    Neil Snyder, director of federal advocacy, can be reached at nsnyder@asha.org.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / School Matters
School Matters   |   March 01, 2005
IDEA Funding Cut, Transition Services Strengthened
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 3-22. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.10042005.3
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 3-22. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.10042005.3
After a series of hearings around the country, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is preparing the regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA ’04). The regulations could be released as early as next month. Key provisions in the law covered in this article-transition, English language learners (ELL), minority over-identification, authorization, and funding-will change the way you practice.
Transition
IDEA ’04 has strengthened transition requirements for both Part B and Part C. In IDEA ’97, the law required that the IEP contain a statement of “transition service needs” beginning at age 14 and updated annually to support transition from public school to education, employment, and when necessary, independent living. IDEA ’04 requires that transition begin no later than the first IEP in effect when the child is 16 and continues the requirement for annual updates. IDEA ’04 adds a transition-services requirement for postsecondary goals for appropriate education, training, employment, and independent living skills.
For a child moving from the infants and toddlers program under Part C to a Part B program, IDEA ’04 provides that a representative of the Part C program, such as the program coordinator, be invited to the initial IEP meeting at the parent’s request to assist with the transition of services. When applicable, steps for exiting from early intervention must be included in transition plans. ASHA expects the ED to issue regulations clarifying these steps. (Under IDEA ’04, parents have the option of keeping their child in a Part C program until the age of 6. For more information about the birth-to-6 provisions, see the IDEA Information Center.)
IDEA ’04 also defines “natural transition points” to mean, “those periods that are close in time to the transition of a child with a disability from preschool to elementary grades, from elementary grades to middle or junior high school grades, from middle or junior high school grades to secondary school grades, and from secondary school grades to post-secondary activities, but in no case a period longer than three years.” It reinforces the need for schools to address transition needs of children with disabilities.
Finally, IDEA ’04 lists priority areas for the ED to monitor using quantifiable indicators, such as state exercise of general supervisory authority, including a system of transition services.
Evaluation Procedures
IDEA ’04 will change the evaluation procedures for ELL students. In the new law, Part B, Section 614 states that evaluation materials are to be “provided and administered in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is not feasible to so provide or administer.” This differs from IDEA ’97 which stated that students had to be assessed in their native language when feasible.
For an SLP experienced in assessing ELL students, this change would allow testing in the most appropriate language, whether it be English, the child’s native language, or both. However, this section may be too open to interpretation by clinicians inexperienced in working with ELL students. Because it does not specifically indicate that the child’s native language be considered, some clinicians may only test in English when this may not be the most appropriate language.
Congressional findings in IDEA ’04 indicate “more minority children continue to be served in special education than would be expected from the percentage of minority students in the general school population.”
These findings prompted a number of safeguards to address the disproportionate number of students receiving special education services who are ELL and minorities. One policy is the requirement under Part B, Section 618 that calls for states to provide data on the number of children identified with a disability by race, ethnicity, limited English proficiency status, gender, and disability category. While data collection was previously required, IDEA ’04 requires data on limited English proficiency status and gender. When significant disproportionality is present, IDEA ’04 requires LEAs to revise their policies, procedures, and practices to report these changes and to reserve funds for early intervening services for those groups that were overidentified.
Funding IDEA ’04
The new IDEA law authorizes-but does not mandate-full funding for Part B state grants by 2011. It authorizes funding increases of about $2.3 billion per year with a goal of reaching 40% of per pupil funding in 2011. Congress has already failed to comply with funding projections. Unless Congress makes up for this shortfall in future fiscal years, the goal of fully funding Part B grants will again be delayed until after 2011, 46 years after the original law was passed.
The new law establishes a formula for determining the maximum amount available for awarding grants to states under Part B for any fiscal year. The formula for FY 2005 and FY 2006 is based upon the number of children with disabilities in the state who are receiving special education. The formula for FY 2007 and subsequent fiscal years is based upon the number of such children who received special education in the 2004ÿ2005 school year. ASHA believes the purpose of the new formula is to slow the growth in special education funding and allow the federal share to increase more rapidly.
Other funding changes include:
PART C: FUNDING:
  • No specified authorization amounts were listed, just “such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2010.” Final FY 2005 funding for Part C was more than $440 million.

PART D FUNDING:
  • State Personnel Development Grants (Subpart 1) authorizes “such sums as may be necessary.” Total Part D funding for FY 2005 amounted to more than $258 million.

  • Personnel Preparation, Technical Assistance, Model Demonstration Projects, and Dissemination of Information (Subpart 2) authorizes sums as may be necessary, except that $1 million will be reserved in FY 2005 and additional amounts in FY 2006 to conduct and complete a study on ensuring accountability for students who are held to alternative achievement standards.

  • Supports to Improve Results for Children with Disabilities (Subpart 3) authorizes sums that may be necessary.

Contributors to this article include Kathleen Whitmire, Susan Karr, Claudia Saad, Charlie Diggs, Catherine Clarke, Loretta Nunez, and Diane Paul. For information or questions about the IDEA ’04 contact Neil Snyder by phone at 800-498-2071, ext. 4257, or by e-mail at nsnyder@asha.org.
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March 2005
Volume 10, Issue 4