40th Anniversary of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

COPAA Weekly
November 17, 2015
Protecting the Legal and Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities and their Families

40th Anniversary of
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 

Students Madison Essig, Noah Kane and their families and teachers share thoughts on high expectations, the importance of learning, achieving, teamwork, accommodations and rights under the law.Today the U.S. Department of Education celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the IDEA, which officially was signed into law on November 29, 1975. Researchers, advocates, families and students gathered for many events to celebrate successes, and acknowledge challenges and goals for realizing IDEA's promises.  COPAA's Executive Director Denise Marshall was proud to participate on behalf of COPAA in honor of the difference each of our members make in the lives of students and their parents at IEP tables, in mediation, and in courtrooms and hearings across this country.

To coincide with today's celebration, and as part of its plan to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued guidance to State Education Agencies clarifying that an individualized education program (IEP) for an eligible child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be aligned with the State’s academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled. 

Aligning every student's individualized goals to content and material all students in their grade are expected to know is critical to all students’ learning and growth. To see this requirement made explicit is a tremendous step forward for each and every child supported through IDEA. COPAA members support parents and students at IEP tables across the country every single day. We know the power of an IEP written with high expectations and its impact on a student’s ability to achieve. According to the guidance States are allowed to establish “alternate academic achievement standards” for students with the most significant support needs.

COPAA members have and will continue to vigorously and skillfully support families and students as they seek to learn and make progress alongside their peers in our nation’s public schools.

Other Resources Released by ED Today:

IDEAs That Work: Preparing Children and Youth with Disabilities for Success website will connect teachers and families with resources to assist them in improving instruction and supporting academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students with disabilities as they become college and career ready.

Supporting and Responding to Behavior:  Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teacherstoolkit, which summarizes evidence-based, positive, proactive, and responsive classroom behavior intervention and support strategies for teachers.

House of Representatives Names Conferees for Reauthorizing the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Today the House of Representatives approved a motion to go to conference on reauthorizing theElementary and Secondary Education Act and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed House Republican conferees:

Following House-passage of the motion to go to conference, Speaker Ryan appointed the following Republican members to serve on the House-Senate conference committee:

·         Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce

·         Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Chairman, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education

·         Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

·         Rep. David P. Roe (R-TN)

·         Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)

·         Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)

·         Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)

·         Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK)

·         Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)

·         Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI)

Democratic Leader Pelosi appointed the following Democratic members to serve on the House-Senate conference committee:

 ·         Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member, Committee on Education and the Workforce

·         Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education

·         Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)

·         Rep. Susan Bonamici (D-OR)

·         Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)

·         Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

·         Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)

The Senate is expected to name its conferees later this evening or tomorrow morning.

Lastly, Chairman Kline (also Chairman of the Conference Committee) announced a conference meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to begin debate on bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reauthorize ESEA.

Conferees will presented with a “framework” to begin their discussion which has been negotiated by Chairmen Kline and Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Members Scott and Murray (D-WA). The meeting is set for 2:30 p.m., in HVC-201 of the Capitol Visitor Center, and will be webcast.

Stay tuned for more information!


Protecting Rights. Creating Opportunities. Changing Lives.

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) is an independent, nonprofit unparalleled peer-to-peer network of attorneys, advocates, parents and related professionals dedicated to protecting and enforcing legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families at the national, state and local levels.

COPAA is premised on the belief that every child has the right to high-quality education and an equal opportunity to achieve his or her full academic potential. States, school districts and schools have an obligations under federal and state law to ensure that each student receives an individualized education that prepares them for work, college, and participation in his or her chosen community.


We work to increase the quality and quantity of advocate and attorney representation. We believe the key to accessing individualized, effective educational programs is assuring that students with disabilities and their parents are equal members of the educational team.


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