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Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Endrew F. v Douglas County School District RE-1 (“Endrew F.”).  The central issue in Endrew F. was the degree of educational benefit that must be provided to a student with a disability in order for a district to comply with its obligation to provide a free appropri...

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The United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services recently issued a comprehensive guidance document on postsecondary transition.    

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Today, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued final rules amending the regulations to the Americans with Disabilities Education Act (“ADA”).  The final rules were issued to incorporate the statutory changes to the ADA set forth in the ADA Amendment Acts of 2008, which took effect on January 1, 2009. With the final rules, the ADA regulations...

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Today, the United States Department of Education issued a revised Non-Regulatory Guidance Document and a Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) document pertaining to implementation of the Mc-Kinney Vento Act.  The revised non-regulatory guidance document replaces the guidance document previously released in July of 2004.  The revised Non-Reg...

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Yesterday, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a Dear Colleague Letter (“DCL”) and Resource Guide pertaining to students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”).  According to OCR, The intent of the DCL and Resource Guide is to clarify and provide guidance on school districts’ obligations under Section 504 and the ADA as ...

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 U.S. Department of Justice and Office for Civil Rights issue Joint Guidance on Protecting the Rights of Transgender Students   Today, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued joint Dear Colleague Letter (“DCL”) that outlines the departments’ interpretation of school districts’ obligations un...

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 United States Department of Education Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Today, the United States Department of Education (“USDOE”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) regarding significant disproportionality.  According to the USDOE, the NPRM will amend Part B of the IDEA regulations to address widespread disparities in t...

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Today, the United States Department of Education published final regulations amending Title I and the IDEA that eliminate the 2% rule that allows states to develop alternate assessments that are aligned to modified academic achievement standards for students with disabilities.  Under the new regulations, which take effect on September 21, 2015...

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Earlier this month, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a new Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) document regarding service animals.  The FAQ contains 37 questions and answers designed to further clarifying the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities who rely on service animals.  The new FAQ is intended to be read in ...

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 On April 28, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education issued its final regulations on Maintenance of Effort (“MOE”).  The final rules cover many issues, including the methods that districts may select from to meet the eligibility and compliance standards with regards to funding sources.  These sources include: (1) local funds only; (2...

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At the request of the Office for Special Education Programs (“OSEP”), Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (“ECTA”) developed a proposed framework to be used to determine whether states are meeting their obligations toward infants and toddlers under Part C of the IDEA. In September 2014, the ECTA published a report outlining its recommendat...

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Yesterday, November 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (“OSERS”), together with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (“DOJ”), issued a joint Dear Colleague Letter (“DCL”) and Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) document regarding t...

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 Today, the Michigan Department of Education (“MDE”) submitted the final version of the latest MARSE Rules package to the Joint Committee on Legislative Affairs (“JCAR”).  Submission of the final version of the MARSE Rules to JCAR is the final step in the administrative rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedures Act, MCL §24.201, et seq.  JCAR has 15 legislative session days from today to determine whether to adopt the rules.  

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 In December of 2013, the Michigan Legislature passed legislation that requires local school districts to have at least two epinephrine auto-injector devices in each school building beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.  As part of the legislation, local school districts are also required to develop and implement a policy for the trai...

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 On June 19, 2014, the US Department of Education filed a Request for Information on Addressing Significant Disproportionality under the IDEA in the Federal Register.    The US Department of Education is seeking public comment on the actions that the Department should take to address significant disproportionality based on race ...

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On January 14, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (“USA”) which amended the confidentiality provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  The USA also incidentally affects the confidentiality provisions of Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.   T...

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On May 16, 2014, the Michigan Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MDDOH) submitted the final version of the Qualified Interpreter Rules to the Joint Committee on Legislative Affairs (JCAR).  Submission of the final version of the Qualified Interpreter Rules to JCAR is the final step in the administrative rulemaking process under the Administ...

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The Michigan Department of Civil Rights – Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Seeks Input on Rules Governing Qualified Interpreters. The Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing will conduct a public hearing to receive comment on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Michigan School for the Deaf, 1235 W. Court Street, Flint, Michi...

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The Michigan Department of Education seeks public input on the State’s Annual Part B Application. Input will be accepted until April 5, 2014 at 5 p.m. Input may be submitted via email to mde-ose@michigan.gov. Please use “Federal Application 2014” as the subject line. Input may also be submitted via facsimile to 517-373-7504 or mail to Program Finan...

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On February 25, 2014, the US Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Center (“PTAC”) released new guidance related to protecting student privacy while using online educational services. The US Department of Education established PTAC as a “one-stop” resource to learn about data, privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to the us...

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 The Michigan Department of Education (“MDE”) will conduct public hearings to receive public comment on its proposed changes to the MARSE Rules.  Public hearings on the proposed rules will be held on Monday, March 10, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Detroit School of Arts and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Lansing Community College West Campu...

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 On January 30, 2014, the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) published in the federal register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) related to implementation of the 2008 amendments to the ADA which took effect on January 1, 2009.  The DOJ says that the purpose of the NPRM is to update the department’s Title II and Title II regulations t...

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 On January 8, 2014, the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) and the US Department of Justice (“USDOJ”) jointly issued a School Discipline Guidance Package to assist districts in developing practices and strategies on administering student discipline in a nondiscriminatory manner.  The School Discipline Guidance Pa...

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Recently, the Michigan Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing ("DDHOH") submitted a new set of proposed Qualified Interpreter Rules to the Office of Regulatory Reinvention.  Public hearing dates have not been announced.  Stay tuned! 

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The US Department of Education has reopened the public comment period regarding proposed rules related to modified academic achievement standards and alternate assessments based on those modified achievement standards.   Written public comment will be accepted until November 26, 2013.  When submitting your comments, please include th...

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You may access the updated guidance document in the “Legal References” – Guidance Documents – State section of this website or by accessing the MDE’s website.

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  The Side-by-Side has been updated to include the October 2012 revisions to the Michigan Special Education Rules.  You may access the updated Side-by-Side in the “Legal References – Rules and Regulations” section of this website or by accessing MDE’s website.

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  US Department of Education issues Dear Colleague Letter re: Braille instruction                In a recent Dear Colleague Letter, 113 LRP 25708 (OSERS 2013), US Department of Education reaffirmed the importance of Braille instruction as a literacy tool for blind and visual...

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  Scholarships Available - The MCEC Foundation for Exceptional Children was created to provide support for educational opportunities (e.g. transportation, special equipment, tutoring or tuition) for students with exceptionalities continuing with their education. This scholarship program is intended to provide support for educational and ...

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The Michigan Department of Civil Rights – Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Seeks Input on Rules Governing Qualified Interpreters.  The Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing will conduct public hearings to receive comment on rules governing  Qualified Interpreters.  Public hearings on the proposed rules will be held on Wednesday, M...

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The US Department of Education announced today the release of a guidance document clarifying the obligation of school districts to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in extracurricular athletics.  The potential effect of this guidance on students with disabilities in school sports is already being...

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It is with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of Paul Zimmer, from the practice of law and from his long-standing affiliation with LaPointe & Butler, P.C., effective January 18, 2013.  Paul came to us in January 1998 after a distinguished career as an Assistant Attorney General with the Michigan Attorney General’s office. ...

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In a recently issued letter, the Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”), clarified that a bus suspension would count as a day of removal if transportation is included as a related service in the IEP regardless of whether the student attended school unless the district makes alternative arrangements to get the student to school.  Traditi...

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MDE Seeks Input on Rules Governing Special Education Programs and Services and Education of Pregnant Students   The Michigan Department of Education will conduct public hearings to receive comment on rules governing Special Education Programs and Services and rules governing Education of Pregnant Students.   Public hearings on the ...

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Breaking news: Michigan Legislature approves Cyber School Bill.  Among the changes the Cyber School Bill will allow an increase in the number of cyber schools in Michigan.  Currently, there are two cyber school operating in Michigan that are accepted as being part of the state’s school system.  The Cyber School Bill was submitted to ...

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The American Psychiatric Association is accepting comment on changes to DSM-5 definitions In May of 2013, the American Psychiatric Association intends to publish a fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  In the new edition, the definition of autism will combine Autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, child...

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Lieutenant Governor signs Autism Insurance Legislation.  The Legislation will require insurance companies to offer coverage for autism treatments.  The Legislation will go into effect in October of this year. 

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Recently, OCR published a Dear Colleague letter and FAQs document that provides guidance on the ADA and Section 504 requirements for schools.  In the letter, OCR reiterates much of the guidance it issued in a March 2009 guidance document.  For example, the letter reminds schools districts that they may not consider mitigating measures (ot...

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The Side-by-Side has been updated to include the June 2010 and October 18, 2011 revisions to the Michigan Special Education Rules and any revisions that have occurred to selected IDEA Federal Regulations since 2009.  The appendices to the updated Side-by-Side include electronic links to the referenced source documents, which is a change from p...

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On Tuesday, March 13, 2012, the Michigan Senate approved an Autism Insurance Reform Package which would require insurance companies to cover costs for autism treatments and therapies.  The Autism Insurance Reform Package is currently before the Michigan House.

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The Michigan Department of Education seeks public input on the State’s Annual Part B Application.  Input will be accepted until April 2, 2012.  Input may be submitted via e-mail to mde-ose@michigan.gov.  Please use “Federal Application 2012” as the subject line.  Input may also be submitted via facsimile to 517-373-8414 or by ma...

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In a recently issued Dear Colleague letter, OSEP reminds districts that IDEA’s least restrictive environment (“LRE”) requirement applies to all children with disabilities ages three through twenty-one, including preschool students with disabilities. IDEA’s statutory provisions regarding LRE do not distinguish between school-age children and prescho...

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  DEA makes it illegal to possess or sell “bath salts”     On October 11, 2011, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) exercised its authority to temporarily make it illegal to possess and sell three key ingredients in the synthetic drug commonly known as “bath salts.” Those ingredients are mephedron, methylene...

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This model policy includes: Diabetes Fact Sheet Actions for School Personnel Actions for the Parent/Guardian and Student with Diabetes Quick Tip Sheets for Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia Diabetes Resource List The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) Medical Management Plan, Individualized Health Plan and Emerg...

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Save the date.  Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. - Royal Scot of Lansing.  Survey forms will be going out shortly, followed by the Retainer Brochure for you to sign up to attend.

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The Office of Great Start, Early Childhood Education and Family Services are to conduct Public hearings  to receive comment on the proposed Michigan Part C of IDEA (aka Early On) Federal Fiscal Year 2012 application.  The Part C application includes a revised State Plan which incorporates changes to plan in light of the Federal Part C reg...

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OCR takes a process-oriented approach when conducting complaint investigations and compliance reviews.  To OCR, procedural compliance is the key.  OCR's Case Processing Manual provides insight into the procedures used by OCR to investigate complaints and compliance reviews, issue findings, and to secure resolution agreements that remedy d...

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Recently, the Michigan Department of Education revised its guidance documents pertaining to  State and Due Process Complaints.  Aside from removing some of the required information on the model forms, there are no substantive changes from the August 2011 guidance documents issued by MDE.  You may access the December 2011 guidance do...

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  The US Department of Education (“USDOE”) has revised its regulations governing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  Under the new regulations, the USDOE has made several exceptions to FERPA’s consent rule.  These exceptions include allowing greater access to student educational data for the purposes of researc...

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  In September of 2011, OSERS revised its Q&A Document pertaining to IEPs, Evaluations, and Reevaluations. The Q&A Document now has specific language addressing post-secondary transition goals as it relates to employment and independent living skills.   You may access the Revised Q&A Document in the “Guidance Documents...

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  Hot off the Press: At a November 16, 2011 Conference on the Part C Regulations, the United States Department of Education issued Non-Regulatory Guidance on the Part C Regulations. The Non-Regulatory Guidance focuses on those changes to regulatory requirements that directly affect infants and toddlers and their families and local e...

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  The US Department of Education (USDOE) took a different approach to the promulgation of regulations for IDEA 2004 when it decided to work first on the Part B regulations, and then later on tackle Part C. Although proposed Part C regulations ultimately surfaced in May 2007, nary a peep was heard from the USDOE after the conclusion of th...

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  On October 18, 2011, the Michigan Rules for Special Education Programs and Services and the School Social Worker rules were revised.  Click the link below to see a highlight of some of the revisions and new rules of which you should be aware:   340.1721b – Revised and NEW   ·       ...

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  The United States Justice Department (“DOJ”) recently issued a new technical assistance document that provides guidance on the revised ADA regulations pertaining to service animals. In the technical assistance document, the DOJ reiterates that only dogs are recognized as service animals under Title II and Title III, clarifies where ser...

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  In a recently released letter, OCR issued new guidance on how districts must respond to sexual violence under Title IX. The guidance reinforces the requirements established in OCR’s Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, other Students, or Third Parties (January 2001).    Title IX pr...

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Math EGLCE Workshop at Wayne RESA on May 26, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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The Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services seeks public input on a technical assistance document tiled, Evaluation Procedures.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a food safety bill, into law.  Incorporated in the act is the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA). 

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Award presented to Sharon L. LaPointe at the 71st Annual MCEC Conference on Thursday, March 3, 2011.

This is the highest award given by the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children and was named for a pioneer in special education.  The award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the education of children with exceptionalities.

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The Michigan Council for Exceptional Children created the Michigan Foundation for Exceptional Children in 2001.  This scholarship program is intended to provide support for education/training opportunities when students are no longer eligible for special education (and Section 504) programs and services provided by public education (i.e. graduation or reaching 26 years of age).  Awards can be granted up to $1,500 and would support anything from transportation, special equipment, tutoring, including tuition.  These funds are intended to augment, not replace, funds available through other agencies.

Complete applications must be postmarked by April 15, 2011.

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In a recently issued memorandum, OSEP wrote that Districts have an obligation to comply with IDEA's initial evaluation provisions regardless of whether the District plans to or is already using RTI strategies with its students. 

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Section 300.510 of the Individuals with Disability Education Act requires that a resolution session be convened to attempt to resolve a Due Process Hearing dispute within 15 calendar days (7 days for an expedited matter) after the complaint is filed.  Indicator #18 of the Annual Performance Report requires the Michigan Department of Education to submit data regarding resolution sessions to the U.S. Department of Education.  To enhance accuracy of the data, the MDE Due Process Hearing Procedures now require districts to submit a resolution session summary form.  This form must be submitted whether or not a resolution session was conducted.

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The Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services will conduct public hearings to receive public comment on administrative rules and documents.

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In a recently issued opinion, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox addressed whether provisions of the Revised School Code requiring employee background checks apply to employees of higher education institutions who are providing instruction to K-12 students.

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The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a letter discussing bullying in schools and the related implications of discriminatory harassment. OCR seeks to remind schools that bullying or harassment which is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability can be a violation of civil rights under Title II, Title VI, Title IX or Section 504.

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 The Michigan Department of Education has published a guide to the Michigan criteria for determining the existence of a specific learning disability. The criteria listed are to be used by the MET in creating an evaluation report and making recommendations to the IEP team.

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The Department of Education has awarded more than $19.9 million to support the education of special educators. Most of the funds will be used to increase the number of quality, fully qualified individuals to serve as special education personnel. It will also be used to support the education of special education paraprofessionals and educational interpreters. The remaining $6 million will be used as grants to support doctoral, post-doctoral and special education administration degree programs. In Michigan, Western Michigan University was the recipient of two grants.

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The Department of Education announced awards for two federal programs that help to create opportunities in higher education for students with intellectual disabilities. There were 28 grants for a total of $10.9 million. $10.564 million wil go to 27 two- and four-year institutions in 23 states under the model comprehensive Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID). The remaining $330,000 will go to the University of Massachusetts - Boston to support the TPSID grantees and other programs around the country.

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Revised Department of Justice ADA regulations were published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010. There have been changes made to the regulations governing service animals, wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices, design standards for recreational facilities and more. The revised ADA regulations will take effect on March 15, 2011.

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The Justice Department has published four new proposals for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The proposals aim to reconcile technological advances with the current ADA regulations. The Justice Department is proposing changes pertaining to accessibility of websites and movies, furniture and equipment, and 9-1-1 center technology.

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On July 27, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced 18 States and the District of Columbia are finalists for the second round of federal funding available from the Race to the Top program.

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The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has issued a revised Q&A for guidance on individualized education programs (IEPs), evaluations, and reevaluations.

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The report from the National Center for Special Education Research describes the perspective of teachers on the implementation of alternative assessments for students.

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Even though parents failed to give a district notice of their intent to make a private placement at public expense prior to removing their son from the district, a federal district court has ruled that the parents could receive reimbursement prospectively from the time that they did give notice and afford the district an opportunity to address their concerns. Shipler v. Maxwell, 52 IDELR 279 (D Md, 2009).

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