Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why Aren't Congressional Research Service Reports Available to the Public?

I mentioned in my last post the report by the Congressional Research Service that analyzes the key case decisions under IDEA since the 2004 reauthorization and suggests areas that Congress might want to tweak in the next reauthorization. I listed the areas that the CRS delineated in that post.

Several of you have inquired regarding how you can read the report. The problem is that I have learned that reports by the Congressional Research Service are not public documents. This is complete nonsense. One would think that taxpayer funded studies might well belong to the taxpayers. But I have learned that this is quite a controversy. One must purchase a subscription in order to read the reports.

Really? I would understand if we were talking about military strategy or troop movements, but how is special education law and policy fairly considered to be classified information. Transparency really is a good thing! I have read news accounts that for a while one member of Congress was posting all CRS reports on his website, but it became overwhelming and he stopped providing this service.

Any way, if you have a subscription or can track it down, the title of the report is "The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Supreme Court and Selected Lower Court Decisions" and I believe that the report number is R40521 (although it may be 7-5700?).

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