NDSS met with high level officials at the USDOE to discuss concerns over the approved state Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility request applications, which waive certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and to discuss the program’s recent efforts to shift focus of IDEA state monitoring.
NDSS met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) Michael Yudin (Yudin was just appointed acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)). States are now required to submit a plan to transition all students to new academic content standards and assessments that prepare students to be college and career ready by graduation, as such, NDSS expressed concern that states are not focusing on how to ensure that students who take alternate assessments will access these standards. Moreover, NDSS requested that the USDOE make changes to current NCLB guidelines to require that students who take these assessments will be included in the general education curriculum and have the opportunity to earn a diploma.
NDSS also met with USDOE Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to discuss the program’s recent efforts to shift focus of IDEA state monitoring from compliance measures (timely resolution of complaints) to results measures (performance on assessments, postsecondary outcomes), which is called Results Driven Accountability (RDA). NDSS conveyed that both compliance and results measures are equally important to students with Down syndrome, and the need to protect the student’s rights under IDEA through compliance with due process is vital. NDSS is participating in a new USDOE RDA blog series, which is engaging stakeholders on specific questions related to RDA.