NAfME Provides Input to U.S. Department of Education on IDEA Website Improvements

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced its intentions to revamp its IDEA website, IDEA.ed.gov, and is seeking public input for the development process. IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is a staple piece of federal legislation that ensures students with disabilities are provided with a free and appropriate education that is tailored to their individual specialized needs.

As part of the process, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provided suggestions to the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), indicating tools, resources, and other information that we would like see provided in the newest iteration of the IDEA website that are relevant and beneficial to music educators.

A special thanks to Dr. Alice Hammel for assisting NAfME in the development of our comments. A copy of the letter is provided below.  


Title IV

 

 

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

Aprll 10, 2017

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to the U.S. Department of Education regarding the development of a new and improved IDEA website.  NAfME is among the world’s largest arts education organizations, representing over 131,000 music educators, students, and advocates across the nation.  Our mission is to advance music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by all, regardless of one’s circumstance and background. Below are suggestions we would like to see created and/or maintained in the development of the new idea.ed.gov webpage:

  1. The resources on the IDEA website that are most relevant to music educators include:
    • Individualized Education Programs (IEP)
    • Procedural Safeguards
    • Training Materials (Part B and Part C)
    • Presentations
    • Dialogue Guides
    • Q&A Documents
    • Response to Intervention (RTI)
    • Parent Center Hub with stakeholder success quotes
  1. Music educators are constantly seeking materials for use in furthering their professional development. Because of that, we are seeking:
    • Consistent and frequent updates to website content.
    • Further information on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and how the inclusion of “music” and “arts” in the definition of a “Well-Rounded Education” may impact students with disabilities by providing them greater opportunities to access music and arts education.
    • More training resources, modules, and briefs in formats similar to those provided by the National Information Center for Handicapped Children and Youth (NICHCY). Music educators often used these briefs for their own professional development.

The previous website served as an important tool and resource for our educators, and we urge the Department maintain its effectiveness in supporting music educators. We again appreciate the opportunity to provide our input on how to improve the IDEA webpage, and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

 

Sincerely,

The National Association for Music Education


Ronny Lau, Public Policy Advisor, April 13, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)