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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Education Department Launches New Special Education Site

From Education Week's Blog

By Christina Samuels
June 1, 2017 is gone. Long live the new federal portal for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act information.

Back in January, a technical glitch took down the website that hosted the text of the IDEA and other special education resources, prompting a wave of concern among some in the special education community and even some lawmakers.

The disappearance of the website did not affect the 1975 law itself—the only entity that can make changes to the law is Congress. But the website's disappearance took on a symbolic importance after the Senate confirmation hearing of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

She was criticized by some disability advocates because of what they saw as her unfamiliarity with the civil rights law that covers more than 6 million students with disabilities ages ages 3-21.

The website came back in February, but DeVos made it clear that changes to the old IDEA portal were coming, and she sought comments on what a new website should look like.

The new portal, which launched June 1, now offers expanded search capabilities, resources for specific audiences, such as parents and educators, and links to other special education documents that are currently hosted in several other locations. And for nostalgia's sake, you can still access from the new site, but most of its content will be migrating to the new portal.

The department is still seeking feedback, so let it know what you think.

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