The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures the education of the nation's disabled children. As a condition of receiving IDEA funds, states must provide educational and related services that facilitate learning to students with disabilities based on their individual needs. The Department of Education (Education) is responsible for ensuring state compliance with the law. In recent years, questions have been raised about Education's oversight of IDEA. GAO agreed to determine how Education monitors state compliance with IDEA for children aged 3-21, the extent and nature of noncompliance found, and how Education has ensured that noncompliance is resolved once identified. GAO analyzed Education monitoring documents, interviewed state and federal officials, and visited 5 state special education offices.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Education||The Secretary of Education should develop and provide states with additional guidance for collecting and reporting three measures that Education considers key to positive outcomes for students with disabilities: early childhood transitions, post-secondary transitions, and parental involvement.|
|Department of Education||The Secretary of Education should expedite the resolution of noncompliance by improving response times throughout the monitoring process, particularly in reporting noncompliance findings to states, and track changes in response times under the new monitoring process.|
|Department of Education||The Secretary of Education should impose firm and realistic deadlines for states to remedy findings of noncompliance.|
|Department of Education||The Secretary of Education should when correction of noncompliance is expected to take more than 1 year, make greater use of Education's authority to initiate compliance agreement proceedings rather than imposing special conditions on grants.|