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OSEP issues memo to states re: using RTI (SRBI) to delay initial evaluations

posted Feb 1, 2011, 9:12 AM by Diane Willcutts   [ updated Mar 17, 2016, 12:18 PM ]

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at USED issued a Memorandum to State Directors of Special Education on Jan. 21, 2011, regarding the use of a Response-to-Intervention process to delay-deny an evaluation for eligibility under IDEA.  The memo is attached, below.

(Note that, in Connecticut, RTI is called SRBI--Scientific Research Based Intervention.) 

According to OSEP, the memo was issued because “It has come to the attention of OSEP that, in some instances, local educational agencies (LEAs) may be using RTI strategies to delay or deny a timely evaluation for children suspected of having a disability.”


The memo clarifies that “It would be inconsistent with the evaluation provisions at 34 CFR §300.301 for an LEA to reject a referral and delay provision of an initial evaluation on the basis that a child has not participated in an RTI framework.” Such conduct would violate the child find provisions at section 612(a)(3) of the IDEA, according to OSEP.


In an Ed Daily story about the issuance of the memo (1-28-11), Jose Martin, a school attorney, is quoted as saying that he supports RTI and that he simply wants to help schools honor their child find responsibilities. “It shouldn’t be a choice between the two, but if you want to choose between the two, it better be child find, because you can get sued for child find failure. You can’t get sued for RTI failure,” he said.

Diane Willcutts,
Feb 1, 2011, 9:15 AM