Special Education Action is a 501(c)3 nonprofit publisher covering special education.

Its mission is to ensure parents, educators, and students have the information and tools necessary to fully understand, address, and safeguard the unique needs of all students who require special education.

Recent Articles

2008 IEE Noncompliance Finding

17 Years of Independent Educational Evaluation Noncompliance: Virginia Department of Education Fails Students and to Perform Its General Supervisory Duties

For at least 17 years, Virginia Department of Education has failed to ensure compliance with IDEA and state IEE special education regulations.

During the last four years, VDOE has failed to ensure that all local education agencies statewide have implemented the changes required by U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs findings in its June 23, 2020, differentiated monitoring and support report on VDOE.

Prince William County Public Schools Found at Fault for Systemic Noncompliance; Must Change Independent Educational Evaluation Practices

May 3, 2024, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) found Prince William County Public Schools (PWCPS) at fault for failure to implement federal and state special education regulations at a systemic level.

VDOE identified four counts of noncompliance related to PWCPS’ division-wide independent educational evaluation (IEE) practices, to include failure to follow U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) June 2020 required changes to Virginia Administrative Code (VAC).

Updated 4.7.24—Virginia in More Hot Water; U.S. Department of Education Issues New Report, Finds VDOE at Fault for More Noncompliance

March 18, 2024: Article published. April 7, 2024: Article updated. Updated information appears below in bold/red.

March 13, 2024, U.S Department of Education (USDOE) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) found Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) in noncompliance for the fourth year in a row. OSEP released its findings in a new Differentiated Monitoring Support report and letter. The issues identified relate to state complaints, mediation, due process, prior written notice, confidentiality, and independent educational evaluations (IEE).

March 15, 2024, Superintendent Lisa Coons responded to OSEP’s letter and report by issuing a letter to USDOE that states VDOE’s commitment to change and includes a chart outlining VDOE’s proposed corrective action plan (CAP) and timelines.

Notable corrective actions include changes to Virginia regulations regarding state complaint and due process filings. Moving forward, parents and advocates will be able to file state complaints and due process against VDOE.

Long-term noncompliance continues to relate to independent educational evaluations (IEE).

UPDATED 3.29.24—VDOE to Investigate Fairfax County Public Schools for Systemic Noncompliance; District Fails to Implement IEPs in a Timely Manner

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Virginia, again finds itself the focus of a systemic noncompliance investigation.

This time, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is investigating FCPS’ failures to implement IEPs in a timely manner.

Notably, FCPS has failed to ensure timely provision of compensatory education to students and timely reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses to parents, even though both appear in IEPs proposed by FCPS and consented to by parents. The compensatory education and reimbursements at the core of the complaint relate to FCPS’ resolution agreement with Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

In some cases, parents and students have been waiting more than six months for FCPS to provide reimbursements and/or ensure provision of compensatory education.

Dept. of Justice Finds Florida School District Discriminated Against Students with Disabilities; Routinely Relied on Suspensions and Referrals to Law Enforcement

March 5, 2024, U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) released the findings of its investigation into Pasco County Public Schools (PCPS) and its settlement agreement with PCPS.

The investigation focused on the 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 school years and concluded PCPS discriminated against students who have disabilities when it “routinely relied on suspensions and referrals to law enforcement to respond to students’ disability-related behaviors that could have been addressed through proper behavioral interventions and supports.”

Due Process Hearing Officer Orders Private College Prep School Placement for Student; Parents and Student Prevail in Rare Virginia Decision

February 29, 2024, two Virginia parents and their student prevailed in a due process hearing against Prince William County Public Schools (PWCPS).

When Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell found a private college preparatory school to be the appropriate placement for the student, and ordered PWCPS to pay for the student’s tuition, the word unprecedented came to the minds of the parents and their advocate.