Special Education Law Analysis
Education in the United States has had a reputation of un-uniformity and mistreatment of certain groups especially students with disabilities. However, the recent past has yielded some advancement. Federal legislation has put into place three major laws that have lead to better treatment and higher quality education of students, especially those with disabilities. These laws are the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, and No Child Left Behind. Together these laws have formed the current education standard in the United States providing for better education for all students.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
Historically, children with disabilities have had few rights and little protection when it came to education. Before the mid 1970s, it was not unusual for children with disabilities to be turned away from public schools and if they were able to attend a school, there was nothing in place to assure that these children were receiving the attention and assistance that they needed. In the 1960s and 1970s parents of children with disabilities began to see that something had to change to allow their children to receive a quality education so families began suing state entities to gain access to educational services for their children (Smith, Polloway, Patton, & Dowdy, 2012). Congress decided to take a step forward and attempted to persuade states to provide educational services to children with disabilities and this led to the passage of the Education for all Handicapped Children Act (EHA) in 1975.
Education is a facet that is under the direct of state legislation; therefore, states were not required to comply with the new act. To persuade state governments to adopt the law, it was promised that forty percent of the funds used to educate children with disabilities would be reimbursed by the federal government (Smith et al. 2012). This forty percent was never actually realized; the federal government actually only reimburses less than half the promised amount of funds.
EHA was reevaluated by Congress in 1990. As a result, the law was changed to better suit the needs of children with disabilities and became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. IDEA remained active until the law was due for another reauthorization in 2004. This lead to the current version of the law: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. Purpose
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) was enacted to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education, to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected, to assist States, localities, educational service agencies, and Federal agencies to provide for the education of all children with disabilities, and to assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities (34 CFR § 300-301). The law covers children with basically any disability that impedes on their ability to learn in an educational setting without special assistance. IDEIA covers children from birth until age 21 with separate parts for children two years old and younger (part C) and children ages 3-21 (part B). (34 CFR § 300-301)
IDEIA was obviously written for children with disabilities, but there many forms and varying levels of disabilities. The act defines a child with a disability as a child evaluated has having mental retardation, a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, and...