Brown v. Board of Ed., 347 U.S. 483 (1954) says that if a state provides public education to its citizens, it must make it equally available to all under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law. Educational systems are run by the states and local districts. San Antonio v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.1 (1973)(the U.S. Supreme Court held that Texas retained the right to decide how to finance education within the state and had no obligation to ensure equal funding among districts).The IDEA, however, is a funding statute. It allows federal intrusion into the local control over education. I make no value judgment about that intrusion – there are benefits and costs to either a large national system or a localized system. Remember, the IDEA requires states to make regulations that determine how the IDEA will operate within each state and those regulations are reviewed and approved by the United States Department of Education, which also issues regulations concerning operation of the IDEA. However, the big news concerns an announcement by the United States Department of Education about revisions to the regulations it makes concerning application of the IDEA that is taking the matter of modified academic achievement assessments out of state control.
Effective August 21, 2015, States will no longer allow states to “define modified achievement standards and develop alternative assessments based on those modified academic achievement standards” except with respect to those students “with the most significant cognitive disabilities.” States will be allowed to develop alternative assessments, but those assessments must be based on grade-level achievement. The U.S. Education Department considered public comment since 2013 in arriving at this decision and considered data showing that students with disabilities are capable of learning math and reading at grade level if provided with appropriate instruction. In other words, the Federal Government is mandating that students protected under the IDEA, except those few with significant cognitive impairment, be provided with an education that teaches them at grade level. Here is a link to the new regulation:
many thanks to my ISEA classmate, Robin Meran Lucas