The education of students with disabilities is one of the most heavily regulated areas in the field of education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law, guarantees children with disabilities aged 3 to 21 a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services and prepares them for further education, employment and independent living. Implementation of IDEA is supported by federal regulations and guidance from the USDOE’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and Office of Civil Rights, state laws and regulations and local laws, rules and policies. Together this body of laws, regulations and policies establishes enforceable standards and conditions for the provision of special education and related services to children with disabilities.
UFT-represented teachers, school psychologists and social workers, related service providers and paraprofessionals play a key role in ensuring that students with disabilities receive the instruction, support and services they need to learn and achieve their potential. These same laws, rules and regulations are vitally important to your success as an educator, assessment professional or related service provider as they secure the essential conditions you need to be successful in your work.
You will find links to the key federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies on this website. You will also find information related to specific program requirements under separate tabs on the vertical toolbar. If you work in a discipline that has a UFT functional chapter, you can get up-to-date information regarding requirements for your program and your contractual rights during chapter meetings and on the chapter website. We encourage you to use all of these resources to support your work and growth as an educator or professional.
The importance of having all of the conditions in place at the start of school in September cannot be overstated. Use this checklist to help you prepare for your Initial Planning Conference with your administrator or supervisor.
If your school is not adhering to special education requirements for your students, program or service, reach out to your chapter leader for assistance. You may also file a special education complaint.
If you have questions about special education requirements, contact the office of Mary Jo Ginese, Vice President at Large for Special Education by phone at 212-598-7706 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.