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Equal Education Opportunity

The Department of Education's (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague letter concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADA Amendments Act). The letter and accompanying frequently asked questions document (FAQ) provide additional guidance on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) in elementary and secondary schools, given the changes to those laws made by the Amendments Act.

The Amendments Act, effective January 1, 2009, amends the ADA, as well as the Rehabilitation Act. The Amendments Act broadened the meaning of disability and, in most cases, shifted inquiry away from the question of whether a student has a disability as defined by the ADA and Section 504 and toward school districts' actions and obligations to ensure equal education opportunities.

This Dear Colleague letter and FAQ document discuss various obligations of school districts, such as the requirement to evaluate students for disability, and to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities, as well as the changes made by the Amendments Act.

U.S. Department of Education OCR Dear Colleague Letter
ADA Amendment FAQ
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act 2008

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Software scans images and translates content into live text.

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Section 504

Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Written 504 plan used to guide provision of instructional services.

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Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Under IDEA, special education is provided at public expense, under public supervision, and without charge.

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