Update [Feb 21, 2017]: On or around Feb 17th, the Education Department restored the IDEA website

The Backstory

>>> Lots of people have been messaging and emailing me about the disappearance of the Education Department's website about students with disabilities. The good news is that a mirror is available (see the column to the right). For the bad news / backstory, keep reading....

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that guarantees a public education with appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities. 

The Department of Education had run a website dedicated to IDEA since at least the summer of 2006. Located at idea.ed.gov, it provided a wealth of resources for special-needs students and their families, teachers, and schools.

On January 27, 2017, the IDEA website went offline. And stayed offline. When it became apparent that this wasn't just a one-day outage, word spread among concerned people. Meanwhile, the URL idea.ed.gov began redirecting to a page at the Education Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, which contains a little technical info about IDEA but nothing practical.

A notice on that page says that the servers that hosted the IDEA website are "experiencing technical issues" and that the Ed Dept is trying "to resolve this issue." Maybe a grizzly bear destroyed the server. If only the Education Department's IT staff had been armed. At any rate, it's not clear why it would take over two weeks and counting to fix this issue.

Brand-new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos - an experience-free billionaire who loathes public schooling and seemed unfamiliar with IDEA during her Senate confirmation - has been silent. The Washington Post managed to get hold of a spokesman who simply regurgitated the line about a server malfunction that they're working diligently on fixing. 

The Good News

A back-up of the IDEA website already exists. The Internet Archive's nearly omniscient Wayback Machine captured the IDEA website hundreds of times through the years. Unfortunately, the most recently captured versions have technical glitches, but the version from August 9, 2015, captured almost everything:


I've even registered a spiffy domain name that now points to this mirror:


Keep in mind that this mirror didn't quite capture everything. The videos don't play online, and some pieces of Part C (which was much less extensive than Part B anyway) are missing, but this is the vast majority of the site.

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