Summary: S.1578 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (05/20/1996)


Title I: General Provisions

Title II: Assistance for Education of All Children with


Title III: Systems Change

Title IV: Research and Personnel Preparation

Title V: Technical Assistance, Support, and Dissemination of


Title VI: Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1996 - Revises the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and extends its authorization of appropriations through FY 2002.

Title I: General Provisions - Revises IDEA to declare that the right to equal educational opportunities for all children with disabilities is guaranteed by the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to the Constitution.

(Sec. 103) Allows the Office of Special Education Programs to accept voluntary and uncompensated services.

(Sec. 104) Revises requirements for: (1) prescribing regulations; (2) eligibility for financial assistance; and (3) discretionary grant programs.

Requires the Secretary of Education to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for activities under titles IV and V of this Act.

Provides for specified enhanced services to children with disabilities. Lists entities eligible for awards. Authorizes the Secretary to limit, without rulemaking, competitions to projects that give priority to one or more targeted areas, if each project addresses the needs of children with disabilities and their families. Provides for application management, including a peer review process. Authorizes the Secretary to use certain funds for: (1) payments to non-federal entities for administrative support; (2) Federal employees to monitor projects; and (3) evaluation of program activities carried out under these programs.

(Sec. 107) Repeals IDEA provisions for: (1) acquisition of equipment and construction of necessary facilities; and (2) grants for the removal of architectural barriers.

Title II: Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities - Revises entitlements and allocations for assistance for education of all children with disabilities.

(Sec. 201) Authorizes States to determine whether to make subgrants smaller than a specified minimum amount to some local education agencies (LEAs).

(Sec. 202) Revises and consolidates State eligibility and planning provisions.

Provides that a child with a disability who qualifies for special education does not have to be classified by a specific impairment or condition.

Requires the State educational agency (SEA) to: (1) examine data to determine if significant racial disproportionality is occurring in the identification or placement of children under IDEA; and (2) review and revise policies accordingly.

Provides that, if a hearing officer agrees with the parents' unilateral placement of a child with a disability in a private school, the LEA may be required to reimburse the parents.

Requires a non-educational agency, if it is responsible for services necessary to ensure a free appropriate public education for children with disabilities, to pay for or provide such services directly or by contract or other arrangements. Requires States to: (1) ensure that interagency agreements or other mechanisms are in effect between educational agencies and non-educational agencies for defining respective financial responsibilities, resolving interagency disputes, and interagency coordination; and (2) establish a mechanism by which LEAs may seek reimbursement from agencies for the costs of providing related services.

Revises requirements for a comprehensive system of personnel development.

Allows LEAs to use appropriately trained and supervised paraprofessionals.

Requires States to: (1) establish performance goals and indicators for children with disabilities; (2) ensure that these children participate in general State and district-wide assessments, with appropriate accommodations, where necessary; and (3) develop guidelines for participation in alternative assessments for those children who cannot participate in such general State and district-wide assessments.

Consolidates funding and public participation requirements.

Revises requirements for State advisory panels and their duties.

Repeals requirements for three-year State plans.

(Sec. 203) Revises LEA and SEA eligibility and maintenance of effort requirements, with specified exceptions.

Allows specified activities, regardless of certain excess cost and noncommingling of funds requirements, including: (1) incidental benefits to non-disabled students; (2) simultaneous services on a space-available basis to non-IDEA-eligible children with disabilities protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA); (3) a coordinated services system that links education, health, and social welfare services, systems, and entities to improve educational and transitional results for all children and their families; and (4) a school-based improvement plan.

Revises requirements for LEA involvement with a State's Comprehensive System of Personnel Development.

(Sec. 204) Revises and consolidates specified requirements for State and local administration of evaluations, reevaluations, individualized education programs (IEPs), and educational placements.

Revises IEP content to: (1) focus on measurable annual objectives; and (2) emphasize ensuring that each child, as appropriate, has the opportunity to progress in the general curriculum, and to participate with nondisabled children in various environments.

Requires consideration of transition services needs: (1) for all students with disabilities beginning at age 14 (or younger, under specified circumstances); (2) under the applicable components of the IEP; and (3) in light of the student's participation in the general curriculum.

Provides for transfer of rights at the age of majority.

(Sec. 205) Repeals certain IDEA provisions relating to Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) State agencies.

(Sec. 206) Revises procedural safeguards, including provisions for written notices to parents.

Requires States to make mediation available to parents of children with disabilities in disputes with LEAs on any matter regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child or the provision of free appropriate public education.

Permits the transfer of parental rights to a student with disabilities upon reaching the age of majority under State law. Requires the State to have procedures for appointing the parent or another person to represent the student's interests if, under State law, such a student is determined not to have the ability to provide informed consent.

Sets forth alternate procedural safeguards, including provisions relating to: (1) short-term disciplinary actions; (2) long-term disciplinary actions; (3) determinations as to whether certain behavior is a manifestation of the disability; (4) conditions that apply when dangerous weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury are involved; (5) conditions that apply when serious disruptive behavior is involved; (6) the timing and effect of an assertion of a child's disability; and (7) referral to and actions by law enforcement and judicial authorities.

(Sec. 207) Revises requirements for: (1) withholding of payments to non-compliant States and judicial review of such determinations; (2) rulemaking on compliance and eligibility; (3) evaluation and program information; (4) preschool grants; and (5) payments.

(Sec. 209) Requires the Secretary to conduct studies and evaluations to: (1) assess the effectiveness of efforts to provide free appropriate public education and early intervention services, including assessing the placement of children with disabilities by disability category; and (2) measure the educational and transitional services provided to and results achieved by children with disabilities under IDEA. Sets forth additional post-school outcome tracking, collecting, and reporting requirements.

Title III: Systems Change - Establishes a program to promote systems change to improve educational and transitional services and results for children with disabilities. Authorizes competitive grants to SEAs, in partnership with LEAs and other interested individuals, agencies, and organizations, to improve such services and results on a system-wide basis. Allows grant recipients to collaborate in systems change activities with those in other States, through joint arrangements with institutions of higher education and sharing of staff and consultants. Requires coordination with this program of activities under titles IV and V. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 302) Extends through FY 1997 authorities and authorizations of appropriations relating to centers and services to meet special needs of individuals with disabilities, including regional centers for the deaf.

Title IV: Research and Personnel Preparation - Establishes a new program (in part by consolidating certain current activities) for improving early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities through coordinated research and personnel preparation. (Consolidates current part D personnel preparation provisions and current part E research provisions.)

(Sec. 401) Authorizes research and innovation grants and contracts for: (1) new knowledge production in learning styles, instructional approaches, behavior management, assessment tools, assistive technology, program accountability and personnel preparation models; (2) integration of research and practice, through demonstration and dissemination of successful practice; and (3) improvement in the use of professional knowledge by teachers, parents, and others in their classrooms and other learning settings.

Authorizes personnel preparation grants and contracts in the areas of: (1) high incidence disabilities, such as learning disabilities, mental retardation, and behavior disordered groups; (2) leadership preparation; (3) low-incidence disabilities, such as sensory impairment, multiple disabilities, and severe disabling conditions; and (3) projects of national significance.

(Sec. 402) Makes conforming amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965, Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

(Sec. 403) Extends through FY 1997 the authorization of appropriations for training personnel for the education of individuals with disabilities.

Title V: Technical Assistance, Support, and Dissemination of Information - Establishes a new program (in part by consolidating certain current activities) for improving early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities through coordinated technical assistance, support, and dissemination of information.

(Sec. 501) Authorizes grants and contracts for: (1) parent training and information centers and community programs; (2) coordinated technical assistance, support, and dissemination; and (3) technology and media activities. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 502) Makes conforming amendments to IDEA and the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.

(Sec. 503) Extends through FY 1997 various authorities and authorizations of appropriations.

Title VI: Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities - Revises the program for infants and toddlers with disabilities, with respect to: (1) encouraging States to expand opportunities for infants and toddlers with disabilities who are at risk of having substantial developmental delays if early intervention services are not provided; (2) continuing eligibility; (3) statewide system requirements (including authorized use of appropriately trained and supervised paraprofessionals); (4) the individualized family service plan; (5) allocation and use of funds; (6) procedural safeguards; (7) State Interagency Coordinating Council duties; and (8) Federal Interagency Coordinating Council (FICC) membership and duties.

(Sec. 615) Directs the FICC to convene a panel of experts to develop recommendations for a model definition of developmental delay.

Allows the use of funds for referring at risk infants and toddlers, in those States not currently serving them, to other IDEA services. Permits planning for transition to preschool services to begin up to six months before the child's third birthday, if parents and agencies agree.

(Sec. 616) Authorizes appropriations.