2010 Utah Institute on Special Education Law Begins: Washington Update

The Senate's side of the Capitol Building in DC.Image via Wikipedia

I am attending the 2010 Utah Institute on Special Education Law. I will be presenting at the Post Institute trainings for hearing officers and mediators. I have already met a few readers of this blog here. Thanks for saying hello.

There are a number of highly regarded national speakers here. I am always amazed by how much is going on in special education law.

The first keynote was by Nancy Reder, the Director of Government Services for the well-respected National Association of State Directors of Special Education. She spoke on What's Happening in Washington. The short answer was that given the domination of health care reform, banking regulation, the BP oil spill and the impending elections- not very much.

ESEA, formerly known as No Child Left Behind, will eventually be reauthorized- maybe early next year, but don't hold your breath. IDEA will be reauthorized after that.

The seclusion and restraints bill has passed the House. The Senate has not yet acted, and once again do not hold your breath. One controversy that has popped up involves whether the law should prohibit IEPs from including mention of seclusion and restraints. The House agrees with advocacy groups that the law should not allow theses aversive techniques in any IEP. The Senate apparently does not agree and this major policy difference prevents this issue from being resolved.

The Congress seems to be paralyzed at this point, but seclusion and restraints continues to be a major hot button issue. Thanks to Nancy Reder and the Utah Institute for this useful information.