In September 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Bureau of Special Education issued a Penn*Link memo about the notices that school districts and other local education agencies send to parents when the LEA seeks consent to conduct a special education evaluation. This includes 'initial evals,' 'reevals' and the subset of reevals known as 'functional behavioral assessments.' The Bureau made the point that these requests for consent must include the information that we usually associate with a different Pennsylvania document – the NOREP.
The Bureau's message was prompted by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). In a letter answering the questions of a Pennsylvania parent, OSEP pointed out that OSEP's evaluation regulation incorporates OSEP's notice (a/k/a NOREP) regulation. See 34 CFR § 300.304(a) and §300.503. As a result, a permission form for an evaluation should have the kind of information that is also in a NOREP.
Without exactly saying so, the Bureau's September 2012 Penn*Link memo calls into question the use of the various IDEA forms and formats that the Bureau encourages Pennsylvania's LEAs to use. One possible "solution" would be to send a parent both a "permission to evaluate" form and a NOREP. But this is a bad idea. It would be confusing, with so many places for a parent to sign (perhaps with inconsistent messages); it would be needlessly duplicative and bureaucratic; and might make LEAs look foolish and wasteful.
I suggest a different solution, which you can see by clicking here
. My alternative simultaneously provides full notice and seeks consent for (in this example) a reevaluation. Importantly, this alternative solution satisfies all of the requirements of each of the regulations that OSEP and the Bureau have invoked. It does so in a single document. And it speaks with a simple clear voice, from a school administrator to a parent. Lastly, it presents itself a bit more as personal correspondence, and a bit less as a bureaucratic form.
I cannot of course speak for the Bureau of Special Education, but so far the reaction has been positive – and I suggest that the sample that is linked above is a very efficient, parent-friendly way of complying with all of the actual rules. Therefore, I recommend that you consider and use it.
Let me know if you have any questions or would prefer to receive the form in Microsoft Word format.
Jeffrey F. Champagne