Special Education Policy

Get insights into the federal, state, and local rules and polices regarding special education
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Special Education Letter to the Editor Schools Must Do Better to Meet IDEA Requirements
More states must follow through on this law.
September 19, 2023
1 min read
Image of a classroom under a magnifying glass.
Tarras79 and iStock/Getty
Special Education Do More to Ensure Schools Meet Obligations to Students With Disabilities, Feds Tell States
States must have "robust" systems to ensure schools obey federal special education law, new guidance says.
Evie Blad, July 27, 2023
4 min read
A paraprofessional guides a student back to his gym class while participating in remote learning at his home in Wharton, N.J.
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein guides Josh Nazzaro back to his gym class while participating in remote learning at his home in Wharton, N.J., in 2020. New research adds to long-standing critiques of federal funding for special education.
Seth Wenig/AP
Special Education What the Research Says Federal Special Ed. Funding Is Woefully Inequitable, New Studies Show
Outdated funding formulas continue to widen gaps that shortchange students with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, researchers say.
Mark Lieberman, June 1, 2022
5 min read
Richard Corcoran, the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education sits next to Florida Department of Education Board Chair Andy Tuck as they listen to speakers during Thursday morning's Florida Department of Education meeting. The board members of the Florida Department of Education met Thursday, June 10, 2021 at the Florida State College at Jacksonville's Advanced Technology Center in Jacksonville, Fla. to take care of routine business but then held public comments before a vote to remove critical race theory from Florida classrooms.
Richard Corcoran, Florida’s education commissioner, and Andy Tuck, the chair of the state’s board of education, listen to speakers at a meeting  in June.
Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP
Special Education Florida Changed Rules for Special Education Students. Why Many Say It’s Wrong
The new rule contains a more specific definition of what it means to have a “most significant cognitive disability.”
Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times, November 4, 2021
7 min read
Special Education School Districts Struggle With Special Education Costs
For decades, special education advocates have urged the federal government to "fully fund" the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Here are some examples 'ripped from the headlines' of how the funding gap is affecting school districts.
Corey Mitchell, January 22, 2020
2 min read
Equity & Diversity Dealing With Dyslexia: 'It's Almost Like It's a Naughty Word' (Video)
When Scott Gann learned his son Dustin had dyslexia, he was shocked at the school's reaction. No one there wanted to use the word.
Lisa Stark, May 24, 2019
2 min read
Special Education Ed. Dept. Reverts to Original Timeline for Rules on Racial Bias in Special Education
The action is expected to prompt a scramble among states relying on an earlier delay in the policy involving disproportional representation of minorities in special education.
Christina A. Samuels, May 21, 2019
2 min read
Special Education Education Department to Appeal Decision on Special Education Bias Rule
The action is the latest in a long-running legal dispute that has the potential to affect millions of dollars in federal special education funding.
1 min read
Special Education Who Gets Special Education Services? It Depends on Where You Live, GAO Report Finds
States identify students with disabilities at varying rates because because of different state and district policies, says a report from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency.
Christina A. Samuels, April 25, 2019
2 min read
Special Education Spec. Ed. Ruling 'Moving Toward Implementation' a Month After Judge's Decision
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was asked why it has taken so long to get guidance to states about a ruling that could affect how many districts use their federal special education money.
Christina A. Samuels, April 10, 2019
2 min read
Special Education What Special Education Cuts Are Really Proposed in the Trump Budget?
Social media has been full of anger over a special education "cut" that isn't really a part of the Trump administration's proposed budget.
Christina A. Samuels, March 27, 2019
2 min read
Special Education Trump Plan to Scrap Special Olympics Funding Draws Fierce Reaction
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos drew fire on social media after a congressional budget hearing at which she discussed proposed cuts, including to the program that fosters sports competition among children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Christina A. Samuels, March 26, 2019
3 min read
Special Education Will Special Education Come Up During DeVos' Budget Testimony?
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will likely spend much of her time discussing proposed departmental cuts, but special education funding is not facing any decreases in the proposed fiscal 2020 budget.
Christina A. Samuels, March 25, 2019
3 min read
Special Education Education Department Can't Delay Special Education Bias Rule, Judge Says
The rule requires states to use a standard method in determining if districts are biased in how they identify minority students, discipline them, or place them in restrictive settings.
Christina A. Samuels, March 7, 2019
3 min read