Thursday, February 9, 2017

IDEA Website is Back (sort of); Dept. of Education "Functioning Under the Same Laws"

"Please know that OSEP is here, functioning under the same laws, and happy to answer calls and emails about our work whenever possible."
On Thursday night, I left a voicemail for many offices at the Department of Education. This morning,  one replied -- the Office of Special Education Programs. Here are highlights of our email conversation:

OSEP:
I'm reaching out to you in response to your phone call to our office—the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. I just wanted to let you know that we are working with our tech folks to get IDEA.ed.gov up and running as soon as possible, and that we are incredibly sorry for all of the inconvenience the glitch has caused. I completely understand what a blow not having this excellent resource is—our staff use it all the time as well! In the meantime, please use the site below to access the regulations and other resources on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/osep-idea.html

Me: 
I know that you and other employees are working hard to continue the important mission of the Department of Education, and in your case, special education. 

As you can imagine, families like mine are concerned about the impact of the new administration on special education. Having the IDEA website go down during this time raises a lot of concerns - as if the department did this intentionally. I know that technical glitches happen, and I think it's important for the department to announce that the site is live and that the department continues to support students with disabilities and the principles of the IDEA.

Is there anything I can tell my concerned friends about the department's commitment in this area?

OSEP:
Thank you for your understanding! We are working on providing updates on these technical difficulties, and notifying the public of this new temporary page that the idea.ed.gov domain now redirects to.

Please know that OSEP is here, functioning under the same laws, and happy to answer calls and emails about our work whenever possible.

Thanks for helping us spread the word on the website!

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