“No Child Left Behind is an excellent sword that we can use to open doors for the children we represent” (Wright, Attorney at Law). Peter Wright is an attorney who specializes in cases surrounding children with Special Educational needs. When he made this statement, he was referring to a law that President George W. Bush’s administration passed in 2001. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a law that requires states to assess the basic skills for children in certain grades. This was not the first law to be created by the government. Before NCLB was created, first there was Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the second was the Individual with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEIA) also known as Public Law 94-142. Every since the first law was created in the early 1970s schools all over have complained. So schools would not have to abide by these laws states would refuse the funding that was given to them by the government for education. When these laws were created, it was to protect all children with any kind of special needs. Before Section 504 was created schools could legally expel any child they thought may have had a learning disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
In 1973 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was created to be an anti-discrimination statute meant to stop discrimination against students with special needs from governmental actors and to protect these students’ equal rights. For a student to qualify for protection under Section 504 he or she must be determined to (1) have a physical or mental impairment that can limit one or more major life activities; (2) it must be on record that the child does have an impairment; or (3) the child must be looked at as possessing said impairment.
All students who qualify under Section 504 are entitled to a “free and appropriate public education” also known as FAPE. If a school violated the Section 504 laws the student must show (1) that he or she does have a disability stated in Section 504; (2) that the student does qualify for said benefit that he or she were denied; (3) that the student was denied because of his or her disability, and (4) that the benefit that student was denied is obtaining money from the government to help with the program (Hoffman-Peak, 2009). The US Department of Education (ED) is responsible for enforcing Section 504 for all schools receiving funds. Recipients of these funds include all public schools, colleges, and other education agencies within the state. Individual with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act
In 1975 Congress created the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142). This Act stated that any school receiving federal funds is required to provide equal access to education for children with any kind of disability. With the input of the child’s parents public schools had to evaluate the student and create an educational plan that would be as close as possible to that of a non-disabled student. The Act also stated that school districts must provide administrative procedures for parents so they may dispute decisions surrounding their child’s education. Once these administrative efforts had become exhausted, the parents would be allowed to seek a judicial review under Section 504. The system of dispute resolution created by PL 94-142 was to help with the financial burden created by litigation. In 1997 President Clinton and Congress amended the law to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This would be the first time since Public Law 94-142 was created in 1975 that a significant change was made while retaining the basic protections. The goal was to clarify, strengthen, and provide guidance on the law. The second time would be in 2004 when Congress would once again make amendments calling it Individual with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEIA). For 20 years the research showed that...