Yesterday, by a vote of 251-171, the House passed a $125.9 billion, seven-year reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). [For a more in-depth explanation of the bill and its provisions, go to http://www.edexcellence.net/gadfly/issue.cfm?issue=16#243.] This reauthorization (which includes reforms that are consistent with recommendations made in Rethinking Special Education for a New Century, the May 2001 book we edited and published with the Progressive Policy Institute) refocuses IDEA on student results, rather than on bureaucratic compliance by emphasizing early identification and intervention strategies designed to help reduce the misidentification and overrepresentation of students in special education, and by reducing the paperwork burden placed on special ed teachers while increasing accountability for student outcomes. Though Republicans were not able to garner enough support to push through two school choice amendments, the House Rules Committee was able to stop amendments that would have made special education funding a mandatory entitlement, which would have required appropriations bills to fund the maximum levels each year.
"House passes special-education reform," by George Archibald, The Washington Times, May 1, 2003
"House backs change in special education. Early help planned to cut later need," by Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post, May 1, 2003
"Rethinking Special Education for the 21st Century," The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the Progressive Policy Institute, May 2001