On November 16, 2015, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the United States Department of Education issued a “Dear Colleague” Letter regarding its new Policy Guidance on Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
In this letter, OSERS states that for children with disabilities who are below grade level, IEPs should include “ambitious” goals which are designed to “close the gap” in areas where the child is academically behind. This important policy letter calls into question past decisions by courts and hearing officers that schools need not “close the gap” for children with disabilities, and that low expectations can be appropriate. Within this Policy Letter, OSERS provided a very specific example of how grade level curriculum can be provided to a student several years below grade level in reading, and noted that the child’s goal for reading fluency should involve 1 ½ years of growth during one academic year.
Read the full policy here: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/guidance-on-fape-11-17-2015.pdf