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The IDEA Website Is Down (For Now), But IDEA Is Still Around

Under-Construction-sign-blog-Getty.jpgAbout a week ago, I sent out a few cheeky tweets about idea.ed.gov, the website hosted by the U.S. Department of Education that includes the text and regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

It turns out that I am not the only one who noticed that idea.ed.gov is not currently accessible. A mirrored site that I was referred to is also down. I've been getting inquiries from worried folks by email and through Twitter.

A department spokesman said Wednesday that the department learned about the problem with the website earlier that morning. "There have been server issues relating to this site going back to at least Jan. 27. We're actively working to resolve right now and hope to have the site up and running ASAP. The site was not taken down."

The timing for this outage is not very good. Parents and disability advocates have been in a heightened sense of alert since Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing, where she stumbled over some special education policy questions

But the absence of this particular website does not mean anything about the current existence of the 42-year-old IDEA, which can be changed only by an act of Congress, not by any single government official or a glitchy server.

The text of the law and its regulations can still be accessed through multiple official sites. For example, the text of IDEA, officially Public Law 108-446, is available through the Government Printing Office. The Federal Register hosts copies of both the Part B IDEA regulations, which apply to children and youths ages 3-21, and the Part C IDEA regulations, which apply to children from birth through age 2.

These sites are not as readily searchable as the Education Department's website, but they should tide us over until the problems are resolved.

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