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Early Learning & K-12 Education Policies

This page and subpages provide basic information and URLs for those interested in learning more about laws, regulations and guidelines that pertain to the rights of individuals with disabilities within early learning and K-12 education settings.  It includes information about accessible educational materials and technologies.


IDEA includes language about accessible formats of print-based instructional materials for pre-K through grade 12 within educational settings.  Under 612(a)(23) and 613(a)(6) [300.172 and 300.210] the State Education Agency and Local Education Agency have the responsibility to provide specialized formats of print instructional materials to blind and other print disabled persons in a timely manner. NIMAS was included in the IDEA reauthorization as the original technical standard used by publishers to produce files. Specific references to Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) pertain to the requirements noted within IDEA. It is important to note that AEM includes AIM.


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA)

COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age.

Guidance from the DOJ, OCR and OSERS

Guidance for educators regarding access and learner rights.

Local Purchase Order and Contract Language

Local Education Agencies play a critical role in ensuring that all instructional media that is procured is accessible and usable by all students. IDEA includes important specifications related to the provision of print instructional materials which mean printed textbooks and related printed core materials.

State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA)

An AEM Center Partner.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit membership association launched by state education agency leaders in 2001 to serve, support and represent their emerging interests and needs with respect to the use of technology for teaching, learning, and school operations.Current work is guided by a strategic plan, Leading, Inspiring and Empowering: The 2017-20 SETDA Strategic Plan, adopted by the SETDA Board of Directors in October 2016 after extensive consultation with the membership.

National Education Technology Plan (NETP)

The National Education Technology Plan is the flagship educational technology policy document for the United States. The 2016 Plan, Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, articulates a vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible.

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law governing rights of children with disabilities to receive free and appropriate public education in least restrictive environment.

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Local Education Agency (LEA)

Agency legally authorized to provide administrative control or direction of publically funded schools.

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Print Instructional Materials

Printed materials written and published for use in elementary and secondary school instruction, required by a SEA or LEA for use by students in classroom.

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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

A technical standard used to produce XML-based source files for print-based educational materials.

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Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

Print-based educational materials converted into specialized formats, related to the requirements of the IDEA statute.

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