By Michelle Diament
March 6, 2018
A year after taking heat when a key special education website went down, the U.S. Department of Education is preparing to deprecate the site in favor of an updated approach.
The Education Department said that visitors to the legacy site, idea.ed.gov, will be automatically redirected to a newer incarnation, sites.ed.gov/idea, beginning April 30.
The website was at the center of a firestorm early last year when the Education Department’s central spot for information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act went dark.
The outage drew widespread attention from special education advocates and some lawmakers since it came in the first weeks of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ tenure and not long after she fumbled questions on IDEA during her confirmation hearing.
Education Department officials blamed technical issues for the problems that persisted for weeks and said the site had not been updated since 2013.
Subsequently, the Education Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services introduced a new IDEA website in June. Since that time, both the existing and newly-developed sites have been available.
“OSERS determined it would leave the legacy site live after the new site launched to provide stakeholders ample time to compare the two sites, adapt to the new site and provide feedback to OSERS,” the agency said in announcing the move to deprecate the old version. “OSERS has made updates to the site based on the feedback it received from stakeholders since the initial launch of the new IDEA website and will continue to gather feedback on the OSERS Blog.”
The Education Department said that it will continue to update the revised site. Content from the old version will be housed on a historical reference page.