NAPAS National Association of
Protection & Advocacy Systems


Brief Brief Summary of Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) with Current Law December 1, 2004

Here are a few of the changes that might be of interest to those representing students. The changes that will likely have the greatest impact on P&A work are found in sections 614, 615, and 616. A complete side by side comparing the two laws will be provided as soon as possible.

If you note any significant differences between how the language of the law is being interpreted by other organizations and by NAPAS, please share them with us. The new language is certainly not without the potential for multiple interpretations and it is always useful to know other's points of view.

These are summaries only and not verbatim statutory text. The statute itself may be accessed on Thomas ( -- HR 1350, Item 7)

Effective Date: Most provisions of Part B go into effect in July 2005. The exceptions are
those provisions related to the definition of “highly qualified teacher” which will go into
effect on the enactment date.

Sec 607 – Regulations
It appears that the power to issue regulations may be somewhat truncated. Sec. 607(a)
The public comment period has been reduced from 90 to 75 days. Sec. 607(c).

Sec. 611(e)(3) Allows states to develop a “high cost fund” by reserving a portion of the funds reserved for state level activity. Money from this fund may be distributed to LEAs to pay for direct special education and related services identified in the IEP of a “high need child with a disability.”

Sec. 612(a)(1)(C) A state that provides early intervention services in accordance to Part C to children eligible for services under section 619 (ages 3-5) is not required to provide that child with FAPE. (FAPE is currently required for children served under sec. 619.)

Sec. 612 (a) (10) The section regarding services to children placed in private schools by their parents is greatly expanded and does give private schools more say in how the Part B funds allocated for private schools are spent.

Sec 613(a)(4)
LEAs may spend a portion of their IDEA funds in an expanded number of ways, including administrative case management (e.g. purchasing technology for record keeping), and “early intervening services” for students not IDEA eligible but who need additional academic and behavioral support. )

Section 614

Sec. 614(a)(1)(C)
Initial evaluations must be completed within 60 days of the receipt of parental consent, or per a time line determined by the state.

There is also a new provision regarding how consent for the initial evaluation may be obtained for ward of the state who does not reside with his or her parents. Sec 614(a)(1)(D)(iii).

Section 614(b)(6)
LEAs are not required to use the “severe discrepancy” standard to determine eligibility under the category of specific learning disability, but may use a process that determines whether the child responds to scientific, research- based intervention as part of the evaluation procedures.

Sec. 614(d)(1)(A)(I)(cc)
Benchmarks and short term objectives are preserved only for children who take the alternate assessment based on alternate standards. The text does clarify that annual goals are to include both academic and functional goals for all students, not just those that qualify for benchmarks and/or short term objectives.

Sec 614(d)(1)(A)(VIII)
Transition planning is to begin “not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child is 16” instead of specifically at age 14.

Sec 614(d)(1)(C)
Members of the IEP team may be excused upon the consent of both parties if the subject matter of the IEP does not involve that member’s area of curriculum or services or, if it does, that member may submit information in writing in advance of the meeting. The parent’s consent to this must be in writing.

IEPs may also be amended in writing without reconvening the IEP after the annual IEP has been held. This provision does not appear to require the parent’s written consent. Sec. 614(d)(3)(A)

Alternative means of meeting participation are allowed (e.g. conference calls) for IEP team meetings, placement meetings, mediation, resolution sessions and the administrative

aspects of due process hearings (e.g. status conferences), upon the agreement of the parties. Written consent is not required. Sec. 614(f)

Sec. 614(d)(2)(C)
There are new requirements regarding when IEPs must be in effect for students who transfer districts within the school year.

Sec 614(d)(5) The 3 year IEP is a pilot program of 15 states. On the individual student level, consent of the parent is required before the LEA may skip the annual IEP. The parent must provide informed consent, but it does not specify that written consent of the parent is required. Annual reviews must occur when this option is selected and IEPs must occur at “natural transition points” such as the transition from middle to high school.


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