U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Making a Good IDEA Better: The Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

April 12, 2002

An Overview of the Law and Critical Civil Rights Issues

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) has long maintained an active interest in both education and disability as sources of critical civil rights concerns.[1] At the intersection of these two concerns are educational opportunities for students with disabilities. In 1997, as a component of a series of reports on equal educational opportunity, the Commission examined the enforcement of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.[2] In that report, the Commission also examined related issues under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.[3] At this juncture, with the IDEA up for reauthorization in Congress this year, the opportunity is present for continuing to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the legislation and its enforcement. The purpose of this briefing paper is to apprise the Commission of the status of IDEA, to identify civil rights concerns that have arisen since it was reauthorized five years ago, and to make recommendations for how it might be strengthened and improved.

In the early days of public education in the United States, individuals with disabilities were largely denied access to formal education or were consigned to institutions or residential facilities that seldom addressed their needs.[4] Even as recent as the 1970s, children with disabilities were not afforded equal educational opportunities and were often placed in institutions or segregated from their nondisabled peers in separate facilities.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was first enacted in 1975 (then known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act) in an effort to ensure that all children with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21 had access to a “free appropriate education” that met their education and related service needs in the “least restrictive environment.”[5] It is upon these two substantive rights that the legislation is predicated. By extending civil rights protections under the IDEA, Congress intended to end the history of segregation and exclusion of children with disabilities from the public school system in part through maximum interaction with nondisabled children.

At the center of the IDEA is the Individualized Education Program (IEP), which serves as a tool to ensure that an appropriate program and curriculum is developed to meet each child’s unique needs. The IEP is a written statement, produced in collaboration with parents, teachers, and service providers, that represents the child’s needs, level of performance, annual goals, and short-term objectives. It also explains the extent to which a child will be integrated into classes with nondisabled students.[6]

The IDEA applies to every state that receives federal funds for the provision and administration of special education for students with disabilities, including state entities involved in education-related activities. This includes state and local education agencies, political divisions involved in the education of children with disabilities, state agencies, such as departments of mental health, which provide educationally related services, and state correctional facilities.

The IDEA contains four sections: (A) lists the general provisions of the law and its goals; (B) “Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities” describes the federal grant program to states, the responsibilities of state education agencies to monitor implementation, and the basic rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities and their parents; (C) “Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities” describes the program for addressing the needs of children from infancy to 3 years of age; and (D) “National Activities to Improve Education of Children with Disabilities” authorizes discretionary programs related to state improvement. Although Part B does not have a reauthorization requirement, the reauthorization process for Parts C and D provides an opportunity to examine and make changes to Part B as well.

For more than 20 years, the IDEA remained largely unchanged, but in 1997, based on two decades of experience, the law was amended to clarify, strengthen, and provide guidance on its implementation. The 1997 amendments placed emphasis on education results and improved quality of special education and included tools for enforcement. Of particular concern at the time was the integration of students with disabilities into regular schools and classrooms. The revised bill also addressed school discipline, giving educators more flexibility in disciplining children with disabilities, while at the same time directing them to act in anticipation of challenging behavior rather than punishing children for misbehavior associated with their disabilities.[7] Now, five years after the 1997 reauthorization process, Congress is again assessing the law’s adequacy and determining how it can be strengthened.

There is general consensus that the IDEA has made tremendous strides toward improving the education of students with disabilities. Today, more than six million students benefit from IDEA funding, and the integration of students has proven critical to students who have disabilities, as well as those who do not. It is commonly believed that integration fosters understanding and tolerance, better preparing students of all abilities to function in the world beyond school. According to one advocacy group:

IDEA ensures that children with disabilities may attend public schools alongside their peers. There is no question about it: students, schools, and communities are enriched when all children have a right to a free, appropriate public education.[8]

In addition, post-school employment rates for individuals served under the IDEA are twice those of older adults with similar disabilities who did not have the benefit of the IDEA. Further, postsecondary school enrollments among individuals with disabilities have also increased; the percentage of first-year college students reporting disabilities has more than tripled since 1978.[9]

Despite this progress, educators, parents, and lawmakers agree that, while the law itself is good, there are unresolved problems that warrant attention. Educational outcomes remain less for students with disabilities than for other students, often leaving them unprepared to graduate and subsequently transition to work. For example, according to information compiled by the Department of Education (DOEd), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS):

Congress must focus on ways to strengthen the IDEA with more guidance and build on the successes that have been achieved thus far. The National Council on Disability (NCD) cites 10 problems facing children with disabilities in accessing public education. The problems existed before the IDEA and persist to some degree: exclusion, recognition of special needs, disciplinary exclusion, evaluation, educational goals, placement and segregation, obtaining related services, parental involvement, access to records, and due process.[11]

Civil rights concerns likely to surface in the reauthorization discussions include: discipline of students with disabilities, overreferral of students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds to special education classes, and monitoring and enforcement of the statute (which was likewise a concern during the 1997 reauthorization). The pending reauthorization of the statute is viewed by many as an opportunity to strengthen the national resolve to leave no child behind, including one with disabilities.

Funding the IDEA

Congress has authorized the federal government to pay 40 percent of each state’s excess cost of educating children with disabilities. That amount, often referred to as “full funding,” is calculated by multiplying 40 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure by the number of children with disabilities educated under the IDEA.[12] As the table and figures below indicate, Congress has never fulfilled this promise. Actual funding has fallen well below the amount authorized for the last 10 years and, despite increases in recent years, the 40 percent threshold remains far from being met. In addition, funding for the IDEA Part D Support Programs, which provides resources for professional development, technical assistance, and dissemination of promising practices, has remained stagnant for many years.[13]


Table 1. IDEA Authorization Estimates, 1991–2002


Per pupil

 (in billions)

Actual IDEA 
(in billions)

% of per pupil 
cost paid by 
fed. gov’t.*





























































* Data not available for 1991 and 1992.
Source: IDEA Funding Coalition, “IDEA Funding: Time for a New Approach,” Mandatory Funding Proposal, February 2002, pp. 6–7.

Source: IDEA Funding Coalition, “IDEA Funding: Time for a New Approach,” Mandatory Funding Proposal, February 2002, pp. 6–7.

Source: IDEA Funding Coalition, “IDEA Funding: Time for a New Approach,” Mandatory Funding Proposal, February 2002, pp. 6–7.

In 2002, the average per pupil expenditure for the academic year is estimated at approximately $7,300. There are roughly 6.1 million students served under the IDEA. If Congress were fully funding states at the 40 percent allocation designated under the statute, it would need to provide more that $18 billion in federal funds; instead, schools are only receiving $7.5 billion, or nearly 17 percent.[14] While Congress has made significant budget allocations to the IDEA in the last few years (for FY 2002, Congress increased the Part B grants to states by 19 percent, from $6.3 billion in 2001 to $7.5 billion), a 139 percent increase is needed for the IDEA to be fully funded.[15] While there are many proposals for funding, there is strong support for spreading the increased funding out over the next several years through annual increases and allocating the money to mandatory funds in addition to discretionary funds.

By the end of this year, Congress is expected to approve the continued expenditure and use of federal funds to carry out discretionary activities under the IDEA. Herein lies a foremost point of disagreement: should Congress allocate more money to the IDEA without first repairing its problems, or can many of the problems be eliminated through full funding? According to a statement released by the chair of the House Education Committee, providing schools with guaranteed funding could have unintended consequences: schools may identify even more children as being in need of special education, when all they need is additional appropriate instruction.[16] The 1997 reforms changed the funding formula and required that students in need of additional reading, math, and English instruction not be identified for special education. There is some fear that mandatory funding would undo these reforms.

On the other hand, many education and disability rights advocates argue that Congress must live up to its promised funding levels. They argue that for the entire 26 years of the IDEA, the federal contribution has fallen far short of the congressional commitment to full funding, and as a result, state and local budgets have had to absorb the shortfall.[17] The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), an advocacy group working on behalf of students, issued a policy statement supporting the full funding of the IDEA to alleviate the budget crises that many departments of education and school boards face. In testimony before the Department of Education’s IDEA Reauthorization Forum, the CEC executive director stated:

Mandatory full funding for state grants is essential to ensure the federal government lives up to its commitment to children with disabilities. In addition, the Preschool Grants Program and Infants and Toddlers Program must receive full funding to assist young children with special needs to develop their potential.[18]

According to a legislative specialist with the American Association of School Administrators, despite the accomplishments made in special education over the last 25 years, largely due to the IDEA, there is much more that could be done if Congress would fulfill its funding obligations.[19] The 1997 amendments required that a study be conducted to determine the actual cost of educating students with disabilities so that the 40 percent funding level could be reevaluated. This study is expected to be completed and released this year.

Enforcement and Compliance Monitoring

While the IDEA has yielded significant progress in securing educational rights for millions of students, the National Council on Disability, among other organizations, has found the inadequate enforcement of the IDEA to be a large impediment to the civil rights guarantee initially intended with its passage. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Department of Education is charged with ensuring the implementation of the law through monitoring and enforcement activities. However, the compliance/enforcement scheme for the IDEA is different than for other civil rights laws because there is no individual complaint system in place. Under the IDEA, there are three tiers of enforcement, including the federal government, state governments, and due process through the judicial system:

Of particular concern to the Commission is the role of the federal government in the oversight of IDEA implementation and the failure of DOEd to adequately monitor and enforce compliance. In its 2000 study, NCD found that every state was out of compliance with IDEA requirements to some degree. The study confirmed that too many students with disabilities do not receive free appropriate public education (FAPE), are not educated in the least restrictive environment, are not able to access transition services, and do not receive the benefit of procedural safeguards in their evaluations.[21] Overall, NCD found that “federal efforts to enforce the law over several Administrations have been inconsistent, ineffective, and lacking any real teeth.”[22] Despite the evidence of noncompliance, DOEd has made limited use of its authority to impose enforcement sanctions, such as withholding funds. As a result, the burden of pursuing enforcement of the law has often fallen to the parents of disabled students who must invoke formal proceedings to ensure that their children’s needs are met.

Disproportionate Classification of Minority Students in Special Education

The IDEA amendments of 1997 required that states report the number of students with disabilities served by race/ethnicity. Recent research commissioned by the Harvard University Civil Rights Project and another study by the National Academy of Sciences determined that students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be placed in special education classes than their white peers. National statistics compiled by the Department of Education outline the disparities. For the 2001–2002 school year:

Table 2 demonstrates the extent of the disparities in special education for each specific type of disability. For every type of disability except for two (orthopedic impairment and deaf-blindness), African American students make up a larger proportion of the students with special needs than their representation in the overall student population. Asian American students, on the other hand, are less likely to be identified as having a disability in every category with the exception of three—deaf-blindness, hearing impairments, and autism—compared with their representation in the student population. Hispanic students are generally represented in special education in numbers proportionate to their overall student population, with the exception of three categories in which they are overrepresented: specific learning disabilities, hearing impairments, and deaf-blindness.

Table 2. Percentage of Students Ages 6–21 Served Under the IDEA, Part B, by Race/Ethnicity and Disability, 2000–2001 School Year


American Indian/





% of all

Specific learning disabilities







Speech or language impairments







Mental retardation







Emotional disturbance







Multiple disabilities







Hearing impairments







Orthopedic impairments







Visual impairments





















Traumatic brain injury







Developmental delay







Other health impairments







All disabilities







Population estimates for children 6–21 1.0 3.8 14.8 17.5*



Note: These estimates include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. 

*Because Puerto Rico is included, the Hispanic population numbers may be slightly inflated. 

**Note that a large number of American Indian/Native Alaskan students with disabilities are served by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and are therefore not included in state counts.

***Based on 2000 Census figures. 

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Data Analysis System (DANS), accessed at <http://www.ideadata.org>.

In addition to disparities in the identification of students’ needs and disabilities, there are distinct differences in educational placement (see table 3 below). The IDEA requires students with disabilities to be educated in the least restrictive environment and with the most interaction with their nondisabled peers as possible. However, data compiled by the Department of Education reveal that African American students with disabilities are more likely to be placed in special education environments outside the regular classroom, including residential facilities, separate schools, and correctional facilities. Conversely, white students with disabilities are more likely to be integrated into regular classrooms; they spend less than 20 percent of the school day in designated special education classrooms at a rate that exceeds their proportion of special education students. Further, researchers have found that white students are more likely to receive services such as counseling and therapy than are black students, and for longer periods of time, thereby limiting black students’ success in and after school.[24]

Table 3. Percentage of Children Ages 6–21 Served in Different Educational Environments by Race/Ethnicity, 1999–2000 School Year







Special ed. outside class less than 20% of day






Special ed. outside class 21%–60% of day 






Special ed. outside class more than 60% of day






Separate public school






Separate private school






Public residential facility






Private residential facility












Correctional facility






Private school not placed by public agency












Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Data Analysis System (DANS), accessed at <http://www.ideadata.org>.

The reasons for the disparities are complex. Some scholars argue that the disproportionate identification of African American students, particularly as emotionally and behaviorally disturbed, is the result of a combination of “risk factors both at school and in the community, misinformed decisions and judgments by education, mental health and juvenile justice professionals, and the impact of race, class, and culture across multiple social fields including the school.”[25] Other factors contributing to overreferral include:

According to researchers, the success of most districts in correctly identifying children with special needs is limited at best.[27]

School personnel not only fail to identify students with disabilities, but they also fail, with surprising frequency, to diagnose and address disabilities correctly, while in some cases identifying black students as having [emotional and behavioral disturbances] or mental retardation rather than learning disabilities.[28]

Educators agree that the results of misperceptions and misidentification of students’ competencies can be devastating to students who are inappropriately placed.[29] Thus, the Council for Exceptional Children identifies the elimination of “inappropriate, disproportionate representation of students from diverse backgrounds in special education” as a reauthorization priority.[30]

Discipline of Students with Disabilities

One of the key elements of the original IDEA, as conceived in 1975, was the recognition that, for children with behavioral disorders, access to school is meaningless if it does not include programming to address behavioral needs.[31] The issue of discipline for students with disabilities remains a concern of lawmakers, educators, and parents. Many schools still fail to appropriately address the behavioral consequences of disability by focusing on controlling students rather than addressing a child’s unique social and emotional needs. Behavior that can be attributed to a disability is commonly characterized as misconduct and treated with discipline rather than appropriate special education and related services.[32]

Prior to the 1997 IDEA amendments, the issue of discipline was only addressed as it pertained to taking action against a student who brought a gun to school; the law allowed school personnel to remove a child to an interim alternative educational placement for up to 45 days.[33] The 1997 IDEA amendments clarified disciplinary policy, authorizing schools to remove a student for up to 10 days for minor disciplinary infractions and for up to 45 days for behavior involving weapons or drugs. However, a child with a disability cannot be suspended long term or expelled for behavior that is a manifestation of his or her disability. In addition, schools were authorized to ask a hearing officer to remove students who are likely to injure themselves or others. Educational services are not required during the first 10 days in a given school year that a student is removed from class. If a child is subsequently removed for 10 or fewer additional school days for a violation of school conduct codes, services must be provided to enable him or her to continue to progress in the general curriculum.[34]

Schools are also required to assess each child’s behavior and develop positive behavioral interventions. The amendments describe how to determine whether the behavior is related to the child’s disability.[35] The IDEA requires behavior-related needs or disabilities to be addressed as an education matter, in the same manner as other disabilities. As such, students with behavioral needs must be afforded the same opportunity to learn in the general curriculum and be evaluated on a regular basis to determine their potential and needs as expressed in their Individualized Education Programs. The 1997 amendments to the IDEA clarified that when a child’s behavior impedes the learning of self or others, “special factor” strategies must be considered. According to one legal and education expert, improvements have been reported among schools and parents who have taken part in new behavioral interventions.[36]

One complaint of the discipline provisions of the 1997 amendments is that they are too complicated and confusing, and therefore should be reviewed during reauthorization.[37] According to the Assistant Secretary for Special Education, the department’s experience with the implementation of discipline provisions has highlighted the need for schools to focus on improved classroom management, schoolwide models of positive behavior strategies, and the use of behavioral assessments.[38]

In 2001, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report on discipline under the IDEA after surveying a national sample of middle and high schools. GAO found that, of the schools that responded to its survey, 81 percent reported one or more incidents of serious misconduct in the 1999–2000 school year. Students in special education were more likely to commit such misconduct—50 incidents for every 1,000 special education students as compared with 15 incidents per 1,000 regular education students.[39] GAO also found that, according to the reports of principals who responded to the survey, special education students involved in serious misconduct are being disciplined in a similar manner to regular education students. The length of suspension for each group is roughly equal, and less than half of suspended students in each group receive educational services during suspension. The same proportion of each group of students (about one in six) is expelled from school or placed in an alternative educational setting.[40]

Overall, the results of GAO’s study indicate that the IDEA has played a limited role in affecting schools’ ability to discipline students (as was a concern of those who thought the law created a double standard), but at the same time it also appears that school administrators fail to consider whether the consequences of discipline may be more detrimental to students with disabilities. Schools may not be doing enough to ensure that students with special needs, who are already at an academic disadvantage, are being provided educational services during suspension.

Moreover, evidence suggests that disciplinary action differs among students in special education, with race/ethnicity being a determining factor in the severity of punishment. According to data released by the Department of Education, in the 1999–2000 academic year, Latino, American Indian, and African American students with disabilities were substantially more likely than white students to be suspended, removed by school personnel, or removed by a hearing officer. African American students were three times more likely than white students to be given short-term suspensions. Similar disparities held true for long-term suspensions, with American Indian students (2.7 times) and African American students (2.6 times) more likely to be removed for 10 days or longer.[41]

Reauthorization Timeline

In recent testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education stated:

We know that we will never improve outcomes for students with disabilities by focusing on special education alone. We must look at the whole education system, and see whether we are providing the right services to the right children, at the right time, in the right settings, and with the right personnel to achieve the right results.[42]

He identified the following implementation challenges: highly qualified and well-trained teachers and administrators; accountability systems and assessments; access to and participation in the general curriculum; transitional services from school to work or postsecondary education; and identification of students with disabilities. All of these issues are likely to surface during reauthorization discussions.

Congress is just beginning the reauthorization process and is holding a series of hearings that began in March and will run through July 2002. On October 2, 2001, the President issued an executive order creating the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, which is assigned to collect information and release a report with recommendations for the IDEA by July 1, 2002.[43] Although there is no established timeline for the reauthorization to be complete, it is expected that legislative proposals will be presented in July or September 2002, and it is likely that the process may continue into the next legislative session.

[1] The Commission and some of its State Advisory Committees have studied disability rights and issued numerous reports, including Civil Rights Issues of Handicapped Americans: Public Policy Implications, May 1980; Accommodating the Spectrum of Individual Abilities, September 1983; Protection of Handicapped Newborns, hearings, June 12–14, 1985, and June 26–27, 1986; Handicap Protection for AIDS Victims in Washington, DC, May 1989 (District of Columbia Advisory Committee report); Medical Discrimination Against Children with Disabilities, September 1989; Helping Employers Comply with the ADA, September 1998; Helping State and Local Governments Comply with the ADA, September 1998; Employment Rehabilitation Services in Michigan, March 2000 (Michigan Advisory Committee report); Sharing the Dream: Is the ADA Accommodating All? October 2000.

[2] Pub. L. No. 93-112 § 504, 87 Stat. 355 (codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. § 794 2000 (2000 and Supp. 2001)). See U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Equal Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination for Students with Disabilities: Federal Enforcement of Section 504, September 1997 (hereafter cited as USCCR, Equal Educational Opportunity).

[3] Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-476, 104 Stat. 1143 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400–1485 (2000 & Supp. 2001)), amended by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, Pub. L. No. 105-17, 111 Stat. 37 (2000 & Supp. 2001).

[4] See USCCR, Equal Educational Opportunity, pp. 10–16.

[5] 20 U.S.C. §§ 1401(8), 1412(a)(5) (2000 & Supp. 2001).

[6] National Council on Disability, Back to School on Civil Rights: Advancing the Federal Commitment to Leave No Child Behind, Jan. 25, 2000, p. 30 (hereafter cited as NCD, Back to School on Civil Rights).

[7] Ibid., pp. 33–36.

[8] IDEA Funding Coalition, “IDEA Funding: Time for a New Approach,” Mandatory Funding Proposal, Feb. 20 2001, p. 2.

[9] U.S. Department of Education, IDEA 25th Anniversary, “Lesson 1: History and Impact,” accessed at <http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA25th/lesson1_History.html>.

[10] U.S. Department of Education, To Assure the Free Appropriate Public Education of All Children with Disabilities, 22nd Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2000, p. xxxvi (hereafter cited as DOEd, 22nd Report to Congress on IDEA); U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, “IDEA ’97 General Information,” accessed at <http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA/overview.html>.

[11] NCD, Back to School on Civil Rights, pp. 246–48.

[12] National Council on Disability, “IDEA Reauthorization,” working paper, accessed at <http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/reauthorizations/idea/idea_workingpaper.html> (hereafter cited as NCD, “IDEA Reauthorization”).

[13] Ibid.

[14] IDEA Funding Coalition, “IDEA Funding: Time for a New Approach,” p. 3.

[15] Ibid.

[16] John Boehner, chair, House Education and the Workforce Committee, “IDEA Must be Fully Funded—But First it Must be Fixed,” fact sheet, Sept. 18, 2001.

[17] IDEA Funding Coalition, “IDEA Funding: Time for a New Approach,” p. 2.

[18] Council for Exceptional Children, “CEC’s President Testifies on IDEA Reauthorization,” CEC Today, vol. 8, no. 6 (February/March 2002), p. 4 (hereafter cited as CEC, “President Testifies on IDEA Reauthorization”).

[19] American Association of School Administrators, “National Summit Examines IDEA Implementation” accessed at <http://www.aasa.org/issues_and_insights/instruction/IDEA_conf_06-20-01>.

[20] NCD, Back to School on Civil Rights, p. 37, table 1.

[21] NCD, “IDEA Reauthorization.”

[22] NCD, Back to School on Civil Rights, p. 5.

[23] U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Data Analysis System (DANS), accessed at <http://www.ideadata.org>. See also DOEd, 22nd Report to Congress on IDEA.

[24] David Osher, Darren Woodruff, and Anthony Sims, “Exploring Relationships between Inappropriate and Ineffective Special Education Services for African American Children and Youth and their Overrepresentation in the Juvenile Justice System,” draft paper submitted to the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, publication forthcoming (hereafter cites as Osher et al., “Exploring Relationships”).

[25] Ibid.

[26] Harvard University, Civil Rights Project, “CRP Action Kit—Special Education,” accessed at <www.law.harvard.edu/groups/civilrights/actionkits/special_ed/spedques.html>.

[27] Osher et al., “Exploring Relationships.”

[28] Ibid.

[29] NCD, “IDEA Reauthorization.”

[30] CEC, “President Testifies on IDEA Reauthorization,” p. 4.

[31] Eileen Ordover, “Behavior as an Education Issue Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,” issue brief prepared for the Center for Law and Education, August 1999.

[32] Kathleen Boundy, Center for Law and Education, “Disability, Behavior and School Discipline—Current Law, Historical Context, Future Action,” proposed position paper (hereafter cited as Boundy, “Disability, Behavior and School Discipline”).

[33] U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, “Discipline Procedures, Changes from Proposed Rule,” topic brief, March 1999, accessed at <http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/policy/IDEA/brief5.html> (hereafter cited as OSEP, “Discipline Procedures”).

[34] National Association of State Boards of Education, “IDEA Regulations,” Policy Update, vol. 7, no. 13 (July 1999), p. 2.

[35] OSEP, “Discipline Procedures.”

[36] Boundy, “Disability, Behavior and School Discipline.”

[37] Robert H. Pasternack, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Mar. 21, 2002, p. 8 (hereafter cited as Pasternack testimony, Mar. 21, 2002).

[38] Ibid.

[39] U.S. General Accounting Office, Student Discipline: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, GAO-01-210, January 2001, p. 6.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Boundy, “Disability, Behavior and School Discipline.”

[42] Pasternack testimony, Mar. 21, 2002.

[43] Executive Order 13227, President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, 66 Fed. R. 51287 (October 2001), as amended in 67 Fed. R. 6157 (February 2002). The President’s Commission will disband 30 days after submission of its final report, unless extended by the President.