The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was reauthorized by an act of congress in 2004.
On October 13, 2006 the federal government approved and posted the rules and regulations governing that act. Subsequently, each state was given the responsibility of reviewing, and revising or modifying their respective state rules to be in line with the final rules and regulations from Washington. Georgia has been diligent in this process, and has provided Internet access to the rules they will be proposing for adoption in March, 2007.
Recently, the Department of Education was conducting informal public comment sessions, allowing constituents to share ideas on the proposed rules. With this valuable information, the department will re-tool the proposed rules for formal review and comment sometime before the March submission. If you have not already done so, consider reviewing these documents. They can be found in the Exceptional Children section of the DOE web site (www.GADOE.org).
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is currently in its fifth year and also preparing for reauthorization. Both NCLB and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, is changing the face of education. The lines that once divided special and general education are fading; requiring the way student learning is approached to also change. The approved federal and proposed state rules, reflect these changes. Research continues to support that students with disabilities learn best in curriculum-rich environments when appropriate supports, modifications, and accommodations are in place. Students with special needs are being held accountable to the same curriculum standards as their typical peers, and are expected to perform equitably on annual assessments and daily performance.
The Bryan County School District is working to stay abreast of these changes. Scientifically based and research supported curricula and methods continue to be utilized in the classrooms. In addition, continual training to improve instructional skills remains a priority for all teachers. These initiatives are consistent with the Bryan County Board of Education vision/mission statement by allowing all students an opportunity for academic, physical, social, and emotional growth and development to the full extent of their abilities, and thereby fostering each student’s self-worth by providing meaningful learning experiences in a supportive, safe, and healthy educational environment.
Williams is director of special education for the school system