HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania has earned the highest level possible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the U.S. Department of Education has determined.
This year marks the fourth time in the past five years the state has received this determination. Among the seven-largest states ranked by the number of students with disabilities, this year, Pennsylvania is the only large state to achieve the “meets requirements” status, as well as being one of 14 states to receive this determination. The U.S. Department of Education began evaluating states in 2007.
Amended in 2004, IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to children with disabilities from birth to age 18 or 21. Specifically, Pennsylvania’s Department of Education meets the requirements of IDEA’s Part B.
Under law, the U.S. Secretary of Education must make an annual determination whether each state is adhering to the requirements of IDEA. The four required categories include: does the state meet the requirements and purposes of IDEA; does the state need assistance in implementing those requirements; does the state need intervention in implementing those requirements; and does the state need substantial intervention in implementing the requirements.
Each category provides various actions that the U.S. Department of Education must impose on states, ranging from positive recognition for meeting the requirements to enforcement measures that could result in the loss of federal funds.
In making the determination, the U.S. Department of Education considers each state’s annual performance report, performance plan, information obtained through federal monitoring visits, as well as other public information.
Editor’s note: PDE’s Federal Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Performance Report can be found at the Bureau of Special Education’s website.