Special Education Regulations

Laws, Regulations and Policy

Special Education laws, regulations and policy establish the requirements for educating students with disabilities.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Congress enacted IDEA based on its finding that “disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.”

Federal Regulations for Implementing IDEA

The U.S. Department of Education issues federal regulations for implementing IDEA and to govern the Assistance to States for Education of Children with Disabilities Program and the Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities Program. These rules are published in Part 300 of the 34th Code of Federal Regulations (34 CFR).


Annual State Application Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 for Federal Fiscal Year 2014

Each year the Rhode Island Department of Education applies for a grant award under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). RIDE has received approval of the FFY2014 application; interested parties may view the approval letter [PDF, 224KB].


Rhode Island Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities

Rhode Island establishes state regulations for implementing IDEA. These rules are designed to ensure a free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities, protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents, assist agencies to provide for the education of children with disabilities, and to assess and ensure the effectiveness of these efforts. The RIDE Office of Student, Community and Academic Supports oversees these state regulations.

See additional standards for meeting Rhode Island Regulations

Commissioner Approves Employment First Policy

Commissioner Deborah A. Gist has approved an Employment First policy for the Rhode Island Department of Education. Employment First is a commitment to students with intellectual/developmental disabilities to support their transition from public education into meaningful, community integrated training and employment opportunities at competitive wages upon exiting public education.

In 2014, the State of Rhode Island entered into a Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act for operating day activity centers and sheltered workshops for individuals with intellectual /developmental disabilities. As part of this settlement, the State of Rhode Island and the involved agencies that support youth and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities agreed to implement a state Employment First policy.

In approving this policy, RIDE is endorsing the belief Rhode Island students with intellectual /developmental disabilities are capable of working in integrated work settings for competitive wages and RIDE will work in partnership with the adult service system to achieve this outcome.

Rhode Island Special Education Procedural Safeguards Notice

Know your rights!
This notice is the state’s model form for explaining parents’ rights under special education law and regulations. Federal and state regulations require schools to provide you with such a notice containing a full explanation of your rights in special education.

State Criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities

The Rhode Island Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities provide for the establishment of state criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities. On June 4, 2009, the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education approved Rhode Island’s State Criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities.

Please see the Special Education Resource page for more information.

Be Informed!

Take a look at these related resources.