Special Education 101
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presentation of this document
Anatomy of the Act
1966 Congress amended ESEA to
include funds for disabled children and created the Bureau of
Education for the Handicapped.
1972 two court cases, PA
Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of PA, and Mills
v. Board of Education of DC established the rights of equal access
and due process for disabled students.
1972-4, faced with litigation,
27 states enacted laws protecting disabled students' rights.
1973 Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act sets a broad policy that no institution
receiving federal funds, including schools, can discriminate
against disabled students.
1975 Congress passed P.L.
94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, later
renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Part A - General Provisions
- Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities (state
grants, transitional services, and preschool programs)
- Infants and Toddlers
- National Activities to Improve Education of children with
Disabilities (research, teacher training and small programs).
There are over 6 million children
served by IDEA, or 12 percent of all students.
There has been a 35 percent increase
in the past 10 years in identification.The number of learning
disabled students has increased 300 percent since 1976.
Half of all special education
students are learning disabled.An estimated 80-90 percent have
Although outcomes have improved over
the past few years, there is still much to be done.
Disabled youth drop out of high
school at twice the rate of non-disabled students.
They are less likely to find
employment or enroll in higher education after graduation.
Black children are twice as likely to
be labeled as mentally retarded.
Boys are twice as likely to be in
special education as girls.
The US spent $78.3 billion in the
1999-2000 school year to educate disabled children.
Part B grants to state FY2002 was
$7.5 billion or roughly 16.5 of APPE in FY2002.
President's FY2003 budget allocated a
billion dollars more for IDEA state grants, or
IDEA funding has increased 227
percent since 1994.
President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education met with
over 100 experts, practitioners, parents, and students.They made 33
specific recommendations around 3 specific themes:
Commission's Report/ Summary of Findings
Focus on results, not on
Embrace a model of prevention not a
model of failure
Consider children with disabilities
as general education children first
[T]he current system often places process above results, and
bureaucratic compliance above student achievement, excellence and
The current system uses an antiquated model that waits for a child
to fail, instead of a model based on prevention and
Children placed in special education are general education
children first.Despite this basic fact, educators and policy-makers
think about the two systems as separate.
When a child fails to make progress in special education,
parents do not have adequate options and recourse.
The culture of compliance has often developed from the
pressures of litigation.
Many of the current methods of identifying children with
disabilities lack validity.
Children with disabilities require highly qualified teachers.
Research on special education needs enhanced rigor and the
The focus on compliance and bureaucratic imperatives in the current
system, instead of academic achievement and social outcomes.*
*Findings are reprinted from the
Commission's report and are abridged for space.
Frequently Asked Questions
is full funding?"
Congress defined the federal contribution for special education as
40 percent of the average per-pupil expenditure.There was no
scientific or policy basis for "40 percent."Conferees chose it
while reconciling House and Senate versions of the 1975 law.
A child is
covered by IDEA if he or she has been evaluated under IDEA
evaluation requirements, been determined to have one of the listed
disabilities (see below), and is in need of special education
services because of the disability.
disabilities: Mental retardation; impairments to hearing, speech,
or vision; serious emotional disturbance; an orthopedic impairment,
autism; traumatic brain injury; a specific learning disability; or
services are covered?
speech-language pathology audiology;
physical therapy and occupational therapy;
early identification and assessment;
recreation, including therapeutic recreation;
orientation and mobility services;
medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes only;
parent counseling and training;
and other services.
is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
An IEP is a
document developed by specialists, parents, teachers, and
administrators, establishing annual goals for a child with a
disability, and detailing the services that the public agency will
provide to, or on behalf of the child.
What is a free
and appropriate Public Education?
appropriate public education (FAPE) means special education
services are provided to disabled students at public expense, under
public supervision, and without charge.Such services must be
provided in keeping with an individualized education program (IEP)
that meets the requirements of law.
- The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the Progressive Policy