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Guidance from the U.S, Department of Education (Updated March 2016) (Center for Parent Information & Resources, CPIR)


The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education regularly provides guidance to the field on the nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). “Guidance” can take several forms:

  • OSEP’s correspondence in response to questions received from the field;
  • policy documents and letters on priority issues;
  • State determination letters; and
  • non-regulatory guidance.

All are intended to clarify elements of the law and its regulations. Often, OSEP responds directly to questions from  state and local special education directors. These letters are an important part of understanding IDEA and how to implement it.


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