I have attempted to contact my state department of education to report that my child's school and the district were not in compliance with special education laws. How does the federal government work with states to ensure compliance?
Educational programs for children with disabilities and for infants and toddlers and their families are supported through grants to states under Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) monitors those programs to make sure they are administered in ways that are consistent with federal requirements. This is done through OSEP's Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System (CIFMS), which is described below.
In addition, OSEP has designated customer service specialists and state contacts for each state. The staff helps people understand IDEA requirements and access appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms. If you need assistance, please contact the OSEP customer service specialist or state contact assigned to your state.
Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System (CIFMS)
OSEP's oversight process consists of a four-part accountability system.
(1) verifies the effectiveness and accuracy of states' monitoring, assessment, and data collection systems;
(2) gives particular attention to states at high risk for compliance, financial, and/or management failure;
(3) supports states in assessing their performance and compliance and in planning, implementing, and evaluating improvement strategies; and
(4) focuses OSEP's intervention on states with low ranking performance on critical performance indicators.
OSEP conducts verification visits to states to review their systems for general supervision, data collection, and state-wide assessment. During these visits, OSEP staff work with state staff to ensure compliance and help improve the performance of federal programs.
In addition, each state submits an annual performance report that reflects the state's actual accomplishments compared to its established objectives. The reports are designed to provide uniform reporting and high quality information across states. OSEP annually reviews the reports, in conjunction with state-reported data, to ensure that states are improving results for children, infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
As part of its monitoring, OSEP uses performance data such as graduation and dropout rates to identify low performing states. OSEP staff and OSEP-funded technical assistance centers work in partnership with states to put in place strategies to improve results for children with disabilities.