ESSA Final Regulations on Accountability, State Plans, and Data Reporting

(2016, November) | Useful to Parent Centers and state agencies in understanding and implementing ESSA.

On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released final regulations to implement the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), with a focus on supporting states in using their flexibility to provide a high-quality, well-rounded education, and ensure equity remains at the core of implementation.

The Department released the final regulations after a public comment period that brought many productive comments and suggestions from parents, teachers, school leaders, district and state officials, members of Congress, civil rights organizations, and others. The final regulations as issued reflect much of that input. One key change to note is the extended timeline for identification of schools for support and improvement.

Resources Available on the Department’s Website

The final regulations:

Fact sheet:

Timeline for identification of schools for support and improvement:

A press release regarding the publication of these final regulations is also available:

Buzz from the Hub | November 2016

Young boy lying in a colorful leaf pileTheme: Disability Resources

Welcome to the November 2016 edition of Buzz from the Hub, the newsletter of the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR).

This month’s issue brings you news from the 2016 Strengthening Parent Leadership Conference held in early November—it was very successful and energizing for the more than 80 people who attended. New PTI and CPRC project directors and board members focused on honing management skills and learning more about the intricacies of the Parent Center world from the highly experienced Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (RPTACs), Federal Project Officers, and staff of the CPIR, the Branch, and NAPTAC. Soon we’ll be posting the many materials that were shared across the two days of the conference, so that everyone can have them at their fingertips for ready reference. Stay tuned.

This month’s Buzz also connects you with two new resources developed just for Parent Centers, the most recent of Federal guidance, several disability-related resources in English and Spanish, and advocacy resources.

All our best to you, as always,

The CPIR Team | Debra, Lisa, Jessica, Nolan, and Myriam



Welcome, New Parent Centers

Please welcome two new Parent Centers to OSEP’s Parent Center network. Both are operating in Region 3, and we had the pleasure of meeting them at the Strengthening Parent Leadership Conference in early November.

Project Empower of Northwest Florida | New CPRC
Project Director: Gary W. Walby
1521 Deer Moss Court
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563-9596

Pervasive Parenting | New CPRC
Project Director: Kodey Toney
PO Box 574
108 Joy Drive
Panama, Oklahoma 74951

Back to top  

New in the Hub

Two new resources from NAPTAC, the Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center.

State Indian Education Contacts | From NAPTAC.
NAPTAC developed this list of State Indian Education Contacts for Parent Centers and other service providers to use in identifying and connecting with the individuals who serve as their state contact for American Indian and Alaska Native Education. These individuals can be very helpful to Parent Centers and others in establishing and building relationships within Native communities in the state and in learning about ongoing activities, initiatives, and potential challenges in promoting the well-being and achievement of Native students.

Cultural Awareness and Connecting with Native Communities.
When Parent Center staff and other service providers visit a Tribal community, they may find it helpful to know a bit about Tribal etiquette and culture. While etiquette will vary from Tribal community to community, there are commonalities as well. This fact sheet lists many such cultural considerations. Observing them will enhance communication with Native families and your Parent Center’s connectedness with the Tribal community.

Back to top  

Latest Federal Guidance

Here’s one of the latest guidance from the Department of Education, as well as two ED guidances with recently released multi-language versions.

FAQ on Early Childhood Privacy and Confidentiality.
From OSEP comes this October 2016 guidance document in the form of an FAQ, to help early childhood programs under IDEA understand the confidentiality requirements under IDEA and address privacy and confidentiality concerns.

Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline | In English and in Spanish.
This 32-page guidance letter from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice is robust with information about how schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Includes an overview of racial disparities in school discipline, describes both Departments’ investigations and enforcement actions, and ends with an appendix of recommendations for school districts, administrators, teachers, and staff.

Multi-language resources on the 2014 School Discipline FAQ.
The multi-part School Discipline Guidance Package 2014 was released by the Departments of Education and Justice in 2014. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in English (linked in the header) about that package is now available in several other languages, namely: Spanish, Khmer, Laotian, and Vietnamese.

Back to top  

Spotlight on…Disability Resources

We know you’re always looking for disability-related information in a variety of formats. So… hope these help.

AD/HD webinars from Family Matters, PTI in Illinois.
Check out these 3 webinars: The Impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Accommodations for Students with AD/HD, and School Behavior and AD/HD. Share with your families!

Slide deck: Understanding Prader-Willi.
Created by the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, these 18 slides are intended to help families educate others on the complexities of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). Topics covered include: causes, challenges, treatments, and the progression of people with PWS from infancy to adulthood.

Resources in English and Spanish from Mental Health America.
MHA has a series of infographics in English and Spanish that all start with “Life with…” (“Convivir con…”). At the link above, scroll down the alphabetical list until you reach “Infografía” for Spanish infographics and “Infographic” for the English versions of: la ansiedad (anxiety), el trastorno bipolar (bipolar disorder), la depression (depression), and la psicosis (psychosis).

 Back to top

Resources You Can Share with Families

Here are several resources you can share with the families you serve.

The 10 Most Powerful Things You Can Say to Your Kids.
Effective conversation helps parents create lasting, meaningful relationships with their kids. These 10 powerful statements can get parents started.

5 Other Federal Guidances on Special Education to Know About. (which writes in family-friendly language in both English and Spanish) offers tidy summaries of 5 additional letters from the Department of Education in the last year. Share with families as appropriate—or just read them for yourself. What subjects do they cover? Charter Schools, Behavioral Supports in the IEP (August 2016), Evaluating Children with AD/HD (July 2016), Standards-Based IEPs (November 2015), and Using the Terms Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia in IEPs (October 2015).

 Back to top

Resources Just for Parent Centers

Parent Centers do amazing work, especially in helping parents and youth find their own voice. Here are several resources just for you.

School Discipline Reform and Advocacy.
This 15-page issue brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is driven by the need to strengthen advocacy efforts at the state and local levels in support of reforming discipline policies for boys and young men of color. It discusses the origins of the school-to-prison pipeline, provides a succinct summary of current discipline data, and then focuses on the “Trajectory of School Discipline Reform.” The brief also looks at the impact of restorative justice in schools, how 5 communities and school systems are changing policies, and important next steps.

Toolkit: Advocating for Change | Abogar por el Cambio.
This toolkit in English and Spanish supports planning for advocacy efforts and responding to opposition. It also includes Using Social Media for Digital Advocacy (Abogacia Electronica) and Survival Skills for Advocates (Habilidades de Supervivencia para Defensores).

Back to top

Logo of the Center for Center for Parent Information and ResourcesThe CPIR hopes that you’ve found useful and relevant resources listed in this month’s Buzz from the Hub. Please feel free to write to the editor, Lisa Küpper, at to suggest the types of resources you’d like to see in the future. CPIR’s listening! Your input is extremely valuable to helping us to craft newsletters that support your work with families.

Debra, Myriam, Jessica, Lisa, and Nolan
The CPIR Team


This eNewsletter from the CPIR is copyright-free.
We encourage you to share it with others.

Center for Parent Information and Resources
c/o SPAN, Inc.
35 Halsey St., Fourth Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

Subscribe to the Buzz from the Hub.
See past issues of the Buzz.

Publication of this eNewsletter is made possible through Cooperative Agreement H328R130014 between OSEP and the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN). The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the Center for Parent Information and Resources.

FAQs for Parent Centers About Website Accessibility

Transparent ball with internet word in a hand(2016) | Useful to Parent Centers in building and maintaining an accessible website.


This Frequently Asked Questions page was developed by the Accessibility Work Group within the Parent Center network to respond to Parent Center questions about website accessibility and compliance with 508 standards.

Work Group members: Barbara Buswell, Jacey Tramutt, Carolyn Hayer, and Roger Holt


Q: Does my Parent Center website have to be 508 compliant? What does that mean?
A: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federal agencies to provide software and website accessibility to people with disabilities. When websites are 508 compliant, they are accessible to all users. Since PTIs and CPRCs hold federal grants, PTIs and CPRCs do need to have a process in place to ensure 508 compliance. It’s not only the law, it’s the right thing to do! Ensuring equal access for people with disabilities also benefits people without disabilities— seniors, individuals with low literacy, individuals for whom English is a second language, and many other users.

Back to top

Q: Can you give some examples of what 508 compliance might look like?
A: Sure! Some examples include:

Images that convey content have a text equivalent

Images that have a function (images with links, donation buttons, etc.) have alternative text which describes the associated function

Videos have synchronized captions or transcription

When electronic forms are designed to be completed online, the form allows people using assistive technology to access the information and functionality required for completion and submission of the form

Useful text in lieu of “click here” that describes what information user is being directed to.

Back to top

Q: Do I need to hire a consultant/web developer?
A: No. A better approach is to create a process to address your 508 compliant issues in-house. A “go-to” person on staff that can handle 508 issues and requests from your constituents would be ideal. If you don’t have such a staff person at this time, a good place to start is by assessing the technology skills of your current staff members, and by creating a 508 plan. The Staff Technology Skill Survey (Word document) is a great tool to assess your staff’s skills in this area.

Recognize that your site does not become accessible all at once. Compliance is an ongoing process that evolves over time. The important thing is to have a process established and put in to motion.

Back to top

Q: What would a 508 plan include?
A: Think of a 508 plan as a slice of your organization’s technology plan. Things to consider:

If you haven’t yet, create a technology team. The team should include leadership from your organization. If you do have a technology team, who would be a good choice to take the lead on 508 issues? Do you need to add new members? Who will be the person responsible for responding to 508 requests and concerns?

What is your budget? Do you need to set aside money for staff training, closed-captioning, staff time, etc.?

Evaluate your site and prioritize. What do you want to tackle first? Second? See the Section 508 checklist located in the resources section of this document for ideas.

Set goals. What would you like to accomplish by the end of the year? By the end of the following year?

Q: What are some ways to get started?
A: Here are some suggestions for starting.

Use an online tool to check site accessibility on an ongoing basis.

Add a statement to your website that states that your organization strives to have your site be accessible and who to contact if a user has a problem accessing something on your site.

Sample statement: We try to make our website as accessible as possible for parents and others with special accessibility needs. Please let us know if you have any difficulty accessing our website information and resources and we will do our best to accommodate you! Reach out to us at: (Provide contact at your Parent Center) Thanks, and happy browsing through our website!

Develop policies and procedures that ensure ongoing review/updating of site.

Involve people with disabilities in the review process.

Take it slow – educate yourself before expending funds on experts.

Back to top

Q: What is WAVE?
A: WAVE is one of many web accessibility evaluation tools. You can type in your website and see an evaluation of your site and how you can make it more accessible. Find WAVE online at:

Back to top

Q: What resources can I utilize in my community?
A: All communities are different, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Independent Living Centers
  • Local Universities
  • Local School Districts

Back to top

Q: What resources exist federally?
A: Parent Centers have a 508 coordinator at the Department of Education, Don Barrett. His contact information:

Back to top

Q: Where can I go for more resources?

A: For authoritative starters, try the following:

Resources from the U.S. Department of Education

GSA Government-Wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

Resources from WebAIM

Americans with Disabilities Act
Regional ADA centers |

Back to top



Toolkit for Youth with Disabilities in Juvenile Corrections

(November 2016) | Useful to Parent Centers, families, and other stakeholders working with youth with disabilities in correctional facilities.

This web-based toolkit from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education can help State educational agencies, educators, families, facilities, and community agencies to better support and improve the long-term outcomes for youth with disabilities in juvenile correctional facilities. The toolkit includes topical briefs, family engagement strategies, and resources that summarize evidence- and research-based practices in juvenile corrections.

The toolkit focuses on four key areas:

Facility-Wide Practices (e.g., continuum of academic and behavioral supports and services, trauma-informed care, and restorative justice)

Educational Practices (e.g., access to high-quality education, individualized instruction, and IDEA compliance)

Transition and Re-entry Practices (e.g.,  transition planning beginning at entry, prioritizing family involvement, and coordinating aftercare services)

Community and Interagency Practices (e.g., interagency agreements, expeditious records transfer, and staffing)

These areas were identified as part of an OSEP-sponsored focus group series on Juvenile Corrections, which included nationally-recognized researchers and practitioners with expertise on this topic. The webpage housing the toolkit also includes linked resources to support the use of the State Correctional Education Self-Assessment (designed for states to use in self-assessing their systems for providing special education and related services to students with disabilities in correctional facilities).

Access the toolkit at:

Preschool Inclusion: What’s the Evidence, What Stands in the Way, and What Do the Stellar Programs Look Like?

(2016, February) | Useful to Parent Centers involved in discussions and decision-making groups focused on preschool inclusion.

This webinar focuses on:

  • an overview of the 40 years of research supporting early childhood inclusion;
  • a review of myths surrounding the children, adults, and systems that support inclusion; and
  • a review of common features across the inclusion models that have produced the most powerful outcomes.


  • Linda Smith (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development for the ACF at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Phil Strain (Director, PELE Center; Faculty, ECTA Center; Professor, Education Psychology & Early Childhood Special Education, University of Colorado Denver)

Presentation Recording

Streaming Presentation | Preschool Inclusion: What’s the Evidence, What Gets in the Way, and What do High-Quality Programs Look Like? (58 minutes)

Presentation File (PowerPoint) | Preschool Inclusion: What’s the Evidence, What Gets in the Way, and What do High-Quality Programs Look Like?

This webinar is part of the 2016 National Inclusion Webinar Series housed on the ECTA Center’s website, at:



Webinar | IDEA Behavioral Support and Discipline | OSER’s Dear Colleague Letter

Title slide in this webinar presentationA webinar for the Parent Center Network

Webinar Date:
Friday, September 16, 2016

Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR)


Renee Bradley
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
U.S. Department of Education

Diane Smith Howard
National Disability Rights Network

Kris Kernan
Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service

Sharon Coppedge Long
Oklahoma Parents Center

Todd Loftin
Oklahoma Department of Education


In this CPIR webinar, Renee Bradley, of OSEP, is joined by representatives from Parent Centers, protection and advocacy agencies, and state directors of special education to  unpack the important “Dear Colleague” letter  released by OSEP regarding behavior and school discipline. and discuss its impact on the field.

 Back to top

Download the Webinar’s Slideshow Presentation

Download the webinar’s PPT (i.e., as a PowerPoint file, 1.6 MB)

Download a PDF of the webinar’s slideshow (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Download the transcript of the webinar (Word, 46 kb)

 Back to top


Handout | Supporting Behavior of Students with Disabilities
This handout is designed to support OSEP’s 16-page Dear Colleague Letter on Supporting Behavior of Students with Disabilities, released on August 1, 2016. OSEP also released a 2-page summary of that letter for stakeholders. The handout features terms and topics mentioned by OSEP in its Dear Colleague letter, as well as terms and topics generally associated with behavior or school discipline issues. Its purpose is to connect Parent Centers with resources that they can use to: (a) find quick answers for families about providing positive behavioral supports (PBS) to students with disabilities; and (b) build the Center’s capacity to respond to questions on important topics related to PBS, IDEA’s discipline provisions, and more.

Handout | Important Links Mentioned in Dear Colleague Letter (Word, 16 kb)

Search the Hub library for additional resources on behavior and discipline

Back to top

Need the PDF Reader?

Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®.


Go to the Webinar Archives, to listen to and view other webinars in the CPIR series.

ESSA | Every Student Succeeds Act

Photo of a pretty Hispanic lawyer.January 2016
Resources added, March 2016

On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law as Public Law Number 114-95. ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 “to ensure that every child achieves.”(1)

ESSA is the nation’s general education law and, as such, has been revised by Congress many times over the years. The last reauthorization took place in 2001 and was called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The page you’re on right now replaces the information CPIR used to offer on NCLB.

Given the importance of education in the lives of children with and without disabilities, it comes as no surprise that the education community is highly motivated to learn the in’s and out’s of the ESSA—what’s new, what’s different, what must now change in how we approach and deliver education to the nation’s 50.1 million students in public elementary and secondary schools across the country.

CPIR is pleased to offer this page of resources on the ESSA and to streamline your search for accurate information on this newest version of our education law. This is a long page with a wealth of connections, so we’ve provided the quick-links menu below to help you jump quickly to your area of interest.

 Back to top

PDF Alert!
Many of the links we’ve included in this page will take you to a PDF file. These are identified as such, and we’ve tried to indicate how large each file is. If you don’t have the Adobe Reader, you can download the free viewer at:


Get a Copy of the ESSA

Public Law Number 114-95 is available online in hyperlinked, text, and PDF versions.

Hyperlinked version (which allows you to jump from the Table of Contents to specific sections of the law)

Text only (no hyperlinks)

PDF version

What’s S.1177? | You’ll notice that, when any of these links open, the law you’ll see is called S.1177. This indicates that the text you’re looking at is actually the enrolled bill passed in the Senate. It’s what was sent on to the President and what President Obama signed.

 Back to top

Quick Look at the Major Titles of the Law

The ESSA  is divided into 8 different titles, each emphasizing a different aspect of strengthening and supporting the educational systems of states and local educational agencies (LEAs). A look at the titles will give you a quick grasp of the law’s sweeping nature. The titles of the law are:

Title I—Improving Basic Programs Operated by State and Local Educational Agencies

Title II—Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, or Other School Leaders

Title III—Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students

Title IV—21st Century Schools

Title V—State Innovation and Local Flexibility

Title VI—Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education

Title VII—Impact Aid

Title VIII—General Provisions

Title 1 is the most well-known and prominent section of the original legislation passed in 1965 (the ESEA) and remains so in this latest reauthorization. The U.S. Department of Education provides Title 1 funding (through 4 formula grant programs) to LEAs with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. (2) For the 2014 fiscal year, Title I, Part A was the single largest investment for K-12 education, with an estimated $14.4 billion allocated. (3)

Summary of Each of ESSA’s Titles | The National Conference of State Legislatures provides us all with a 13-page summary of the major thrusts of each of ESSA’s titles. Reading it is a good way to grasp what’s required and authorized under the law. You can find the summary (PDF, 537 KB) at:

 Back to top

Reports from Congress on the New Law

Congress is responsible for drafting federal legislation. Typically, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives each drafts a version of a bill such as ESSA. The process can be lengthy and includes taking public input, receiving testimony from experts and stakeholders in the field, and working in committee. Differences between two versions of a bill (the House version and the Senate version) must then be reconciled into one bill that goes to the President for either signing or veto.

Legislation’s History | The entire history of a bill’s passage through the Senate and the House is diligently recorded and made publicly available. The history of ESSA’s travels through Congress and on to the President can be found at:

Conference Report | A conference report is usually issued to accompany the legislation. The conference report includes the actual legislation, as agreed upon by House and Senate, and identifies where there are major areas of disagreement. Sometimes called the joint explanatory statement, these sections of the conference report document the House position, the Senate position, and the recommended solution reached by members of the conference committee. (4)

The full report (PDF, 1.8 MB) | The Every Student Succeeds Act Conference Report to Accompany S. 1177 is available online at:

Summary of the conference report  (PDF, 220 KB) | A much better read than the report itself, the summary is 3 pages long and focuses exclusively on what ESSA does.

 Back to top

From the Authority on ESSA: The U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education is the federal agency charged with oversight of the ESSA. This includes writing federal regulations that will guide implementation of the law passed by Congress. Therefore, the Department is the first and most authoritative resource to consult about the rules and requirements of ESSA. It’s also an excellent place to connect with the abundance of resources that the Department has made available to states, LEAs, and stakeholders who now must understand and implement the reauthorized law.

The main ESSA page begins at:

Where to start? | Given the scad of resources available at the Department, deciding where to start can be a puzzler. Perhaps these 4 resources should be among the first to consult.

The Department’s Dear Colleague letter |  Written to the Chief State School Officers, the letter is short, announces the exciting reauthorization, and reiterates the main purposes of the ESSA. It doesn’t, however, get into any particulars.

Sign up for email alerts about the ESSA | Great way to keep on top of emerging news, grant opportunities, and requests for public input!

How we’ll transition into the new law, including effective dates | In the coming months, the Department will provide ongoing guidance to support schools, districts, and states in the transition to the ESSA. This Dear Colleague letter begins this process and provides guidance regarding certain activities that are affected by this reauthorization, including deadlines. (PDF, 61 KB)

Webinars on ESSA reauthorization | On December 21 and 22, the Department held webinars on ESSA. These provided highlights of the Act and discussed the transition process from NCLB to ESSA. The slideshow is online in PDF (508 KB), but it’s not for the faint of heart nor “newbies” to the law. To understand many of the key transition points, you’ll need to know a LOT about NCLB, Title 1’s assessment peer review, states’ reporting requirements, ESEA flexibility waivers, and more.

Transitioning to ESSA: Frequently Asked Questions | Just released on February 26, 2016! The Department has prepared these FAQs to support States and LEAs in understanding expectations during the transition to full implementation of the ESSA. More questions and answers will be added in the coming months, too. (PDF, 319 KB)

 Back to top

Summaries of Changes in the Law

The resources we’ve listed below focus broadly on the changes in the law, not necessarily how those changes affect students with disabilities. It’s important to remember that ESSA’s predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, “reinforced that students with disabilities are general education students first” (5), thus making changes in the law extremely relevant to all parents, including those whose children have disabilities.

Summary Analysis of the Every Student Succeeds Act. (PDF, 592 KB)
From the Education Counsel, this 11-page summary gives extensive coverage to key changes in the law and how these impact states, LEAs, schools, parents, and students.

Every Student Succeeds Act, Summary of Title I Provisions. (PDF, 1.5 MB)
This 35-page summary was developed by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) for the School Administrators Association of New York State. It goes far beyond merely summarizing Title I provisions, but the majority of the report is presented in easy-to-grasp bullet form.

Q&A: What You Need to Know About the Fix to No Child Left Behind Act.
This Q&A from the White House answers common questions about ESSA and includes a side-by-side comparison of NCLB and the bipartisan bill that passed Congress as ESSA.

ESSA: A Progress Report on Elementary and Secondary Education. (PDF,  963 KB)
Also from the White House, this 10-pager summarizes the progress the country’s schools have made since 2008 (e.g., higher academic standards, increased graduation rates, investments in early childhood education) and describes how ESSA will help our schools build on that progress.

What ESSA Means for School Boards. (PDF, 190 KB)
The National School Boards Association has prepared this 6-page primer on what ESSA means for local school boards, including a transition timetable and frequently asked questions.

Everything You Need to Know About the ESSA.   
The Alliance for Excellent Education has created a series of bite-sized materials—both print and video—that provides concise but comprehensive analyses of several key areas within ESSA—specifically, Accountability, Assessments, High Schools, Teachers and School Leaders, Linked Learning, and Deeper Learning.

 Back to top

How ESSA Impacts Students with Disabilities

With all that’s been said on this page and all the resources mentioned, the burning question for Parent Centers and disability advocates is… how does the reauthorization affect students with disabilities? What should parents of children with disabilities know about student rights and responsibilities under ESSA?  Here are several resources that will help you answer these questions.

ESSA and Students with Disabilities:  Analysis & Comments.
The  Advocacy Institute and the Center for Law and Education examine several key provisions of ESSA along with comments of how the provisions may impact students with disabilities.

CEC’s Summary of Selected Provisions in ESSA. (PDF, 159 KB)
CEC (The Council for Exceptional Children) has prepared this 3-page summary of selected provisions in ESSA that relate to issues relevant to children and youth with disabilities and gifts and talents. The summary includes new provisions as well as those provisions eliminated.

AUCD Preliminary Summary of Provisions within ESSA Impacting Students with Disabilities.  (PDF, 163 KB)
AUCD is the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Just before President Obama signed S.1177 into law as Public Law 114-95, AUCD released this summary, which identifies the ESSA provisions that most directly impact students with disabilities. Highlighted and succinctly explained are the following: annual statewide testing and accountability systems, alternate assessments and 1% cap, educational goals, bullying and restraints and seclusion, and the extent of Federal authority.

Webinar | ESSA of 2015: What it Means for Students with Disabilities. 
This webinar was hosted by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities  (NACDD). The link above takes you to a description of the webinar, the PowerPoint slides, and the option to listen to and view the webinar itself. If you view the webinar, don’t be alarmed by the fuzzing out of the first “introductory” slides. When the archive reaches the first content slide, the webinar proceeds at its normal pace.

The New Education Law: 6 Things to Know.
From NCLD’s Public Policy & Advocacy Team, this succinct article focuses on the 6 important things for parents to know about the new law, with emphasis on how it affects students with disabilities and the need for parental involvement and advocacy.

What about the Testing Cap for Students With Disabilities?
From Disability Scoop, here’s a short look at one of the major changes that the reauthorized law brings to the lives of children with disabilities.

 Back to top

Other Voices from the Field

Naturally, everyone has an opinion—-and recommendations, concerns, and suggestions. In no particular order, here’s a sampling of reactions and input from the field.

From the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools. (PDF, 445 KB)
A 2-page letter of support for ESSA’s provisions regarding charter schools and how these can support the education of students with disabilities.

From The Coalition for Teaching Quality.  (PDF, 409 KB)
A 3-page letter of appreciation for the passage of ESSA, with expressed concern that the reauthorized law eliminates a meaningful minimum entry standard for teachers and the need for states and districts to correct ongoing inequities in access to high quality teachers.

Education Technology in the ESSA.
Discusses important education technology provisions included in ESSA, including a significant new statutory authority for states and districts to pursue innovative educational technology (edtech) strategies (apparently buried in Title IV and referred to as the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program). From the American Action Forum.

From the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.  (PDF, 190 KB)
A letter of appreciation to the Congress on its bipartisan bill and a spare listing of provisions that relate to students with disabilities.

 Back to top


1 |  The Every Student Succeeds Act, Public Law 114-95, page 1.

2 |  U.S. Department of Education. (2015, October ). Laws and guidance / Elementary and secondary education: Improving basic programs operated by local educational agencies (Title I, Part A). Washington, DC: Author.

3 |  Miller, C. (2015, April 2). Funding the child: Analysis of Title I portability. Washington, DC: American Action Forum.

4 |  Davis, C.M. (2015, June). Conference reports and joint explanatory statements. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

Back to top


President Obama Announces High School Graduation Rate Has Reached New High

Today, President Obama will be at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. to announce that America’s high school graduation rate has reached a record new high of 83.2 percent. 

The high school graduation rate has risen steadily over President Obama’s time in office, growing by about four percentage points since the 2010-2011 school year — the first year all states used a consistent, four-year adjusted measure of high school completion. This increase reflects important progress schools across the country are making to better prepare students for college and careers after they graduate. President Obama will highlight investments and resources available for students to earn a degree beyond high school, and all his Administration has accomplished to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for America’s learners, from cradle through career. He will also reflect on the work yet to be accomplished to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed in a 21st century economy.


For further details on state-by-state graduation rates please click HERE

Reaching and Engaging with Hispanic Communities

(2016, October) | Useful to Parent Centers in conducting effective outreach and providing culturally aware services to Hispanic families.

This guide, subtitled A Research-Informed Communication Guide for Nonprofits, Policymakers, and Funders, is designed to help service providers and educators build communication strategies to more easily and effectively reach out to Latino children and families. The guide is based on current scholarly research, focus groups with Latino parents, and the ground-level experiences of community-based nonprofit organizations serving diverse Hispanic communities.

The guide includes a research-based communication framework and a step-by-step discussion of the framework’s components, which Parent Centers can use  to build and implement their own communication plan for effectively engaging with and serving Hispanic families. The guide concludes with recommendations for “Optimizing Websites to Reach and Engage Hispanic Families.”

Access Reaching and Engaging with Hispanic Communities, at:

The guide is a product of the Crimsonbridge Foundation and Child Trends.

Cultural Awareness and Connecting with Native Communities

(2016) | Useful to Parent Centers in developing cultural competency for conducting outreach and providing services to Native parents of children with disabilities.

This fact sheet comes from NAPTAC (the Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center) and has been written expressly for Parent Centers. The 3-page fact sheet offers suggestions for connecting with Native communities in ways that enhance communication and connectedness. As stated in the fact sheet:

When Parent Center staff visit a Tribal community, they may find it helpful to know a bit about Tribal etiquette and culture. While etiquette will vary from Tribal community to community, there are commonalities as well. This fact sheet lists many such cultural considerations. Observing them will enhance communication with Native families and your Parent Center’s connectedness with the Tribal community.

Access NAPTAC’s fact sheet at:

Note: The fact sheet has been excerpted from “Culture Card: A Guide to Build Cultural Awareness,” a publication of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).