http://idea.ed.gov/explore/home Welcome to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEPs) IDEA website. This site was created to provide a "one-stop shop" for resources related to IDEA and its implementing regulations, released on August 3, 2006. It is a "living" website and will change and grow as resources and information become available. When fully implemented, the site will provide searchable versions of IDEA and the regulations, access to cross-referenced content from other laws (e.g., the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), etc.), video clips on selected topics, topic briefs on selected regulations, links to OSEP's Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) Network and a Q&A Corner where you can submit questions, and a variety of other information sources. As items are completed and added to this site, we invite you to grow and learn with us as we implement these regulations. _____________________________ IDEA: New Web Site and Regional Public Meetings Take Action! The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) of the U.S. Department of Education recently launched a new website that is dedicated to information on IDEA ( http://idea.ed.gov/ ). On the home page you can select information on either Part B (ages 3-21) or Part C (ages birth-2). Currently, the website is still under construction and the two links take you to the same place. That may change when the Part C regulations are released. The information on the website includes announcements of upcoming events, topic briefs on a variety of IDEA related topics, as well as the text of the regulations, the statute and model forms. The upcoming events section of the website contains announcements for a series of regional community-based public meetings that OSERS will be hosting to provide the public with information and resources on the final IDEA regulations. There is no cost to attend these meetings and no advanced registration. NDSS strongly encourages students with Down syndrome and their family members to attend these meetings. This is an important opportunity for you to learn more about the changes in IDEA and what they mean for your childs education. IDEA 2004 contains many provisions that permit schools or districts to enter into agreements with parents that will affect their childs rights. Teachers and administrators will come out in large numbers to these meetings and you need access to the same information in order to be an informed participant in your childs next IEP meeting. In addition, your attendance will send a message to the Department of Education that parents are willing to go out of their way to learn about IDEA and ensure that it is properly implemented. More than fifteen parents who testified and countless others who attended the IDEA public meetings in 2005, and emails to your representatives and the Department of Education, were responsible for the preservation of critically important educational rights in the final regulations. You can also have a significant impact on IDEA implementation in your State by talking to Assistant Secretary Hager and Director Posny about the importance of their role in ensuring that States develop their IDEA regulations and policies with parent input and that parent-friendly information on all the key IDEA topics is disseminated widely at the local level. A recent study reported in the journal Exceptional Children examined Procedural Safeguards Notices (also called Parents Rights Notices) and found that most schools are falling short of the IDEA requirement that they tell parents about their rights under the law in understandable language.