History of Special Education Law

Topics: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Special education, Individualized Education Program Pages: 8 (1225 words) Published: November 23, 2014


History of Special Education Law
Michelle L. Johnson
Grand Canyon University: SPE- 355
June 15, 2014

History of Special Education Law
From the beginning of time until the end of time, there will always be students who require special education services. Throughout the 20th century, there have been many laws written to try and protect and help students with disabilities. Two in particular are the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1990). Special education classes were available in the 1950’s, but the outcome for the students was not what parents expected. The students in these classes could not preform academically, and were considered unteachable. They eventually were sent to special schools that focused on teaching them manual skills. The programs may have been available, but clearly it was discrimination towards those students with disabilities. This is why the laws written for the handicapped are so important, especially in the school system. The chart above compares two articles covering individuals with disabilities; one is an overview of disabilities, covering the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, also known as Public Law 94-142, and the other is an overview of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997.

In the article on an overview of disabilities, it says the handicapped children must meet two criteria; they must have one or more disability and require special education and related services (ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children, R. A., 1987). In this article, it also gives specific definitions of the disabilities that children have to have to be considered for assistance under Public Law 94-142. The acceptable disabilities listed range from deaf to blind to mental retardation, orthopedically impaired, and those that are speech impaired or have a learning disability, among many other disabilities. When a child is thought to have a handicap, there is a multidisciplinary team that will evaluate the child. The team consists of at least one teacher or specialist that has knowledge of the student with the disability. When the team meets, they will determine if the child will require special education services or not. All schools and agencies that provide services for children with disabilities must comply with P.L. 94-142 in order to receive federal assistance. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 is based on complaints and needs to be enforced by parents or other advocates of disabled children; Noncompliance of P.L. 94-142 will result in funds being stopped for the agency or school involved (Ballard & Zettel, 1978). This seems to be a good incentive for agencies to make sure they are compliant with all the laws governing children with disabilities.

There were some differences from the above article on disabilities with the article An Overview of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997. IDEA is organized into four parts to cover all of the provisions for students with disabilities. Also, under IDEA, students have to participate in state assessments, even if it is an alternate assessment from those in regular education. “IDEA 97 requires states to include students with disabilities in state and district-wide testing programs, with accommodations when necessary,” (Knoblauch & ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, R. A., 1998. p.3). Under IDEA, all students will have an individualized education plan (IEP) that has to be followed to ensure children with disabilities are getting the most out of their education, and needs to include a statement of transition starting at age 14. Another difference is that IDEA 97 includes disciplinary procedures for students with disabilities. It says that students will not be denied an education because of their behavior. It outlines the different strategies...

References: Ballard, J., & Zettel, J. J. (1978). The Managerial Aspects of Public Law 94-142. Exceptional Children, 44(6), 457-462. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=41ba31e7-5ca7-4b9f-af8b-6397f85b5446%40sessionmgr4003&vid=7&hid=4108
ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children, R. A. (1987). Disabilities: An Overview. ERIC Digest #420. Revised. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/ehost/detail?sid=649ed845-5bb9-4722-baf1-bf2e12c42623%40sessionmgr4005&vid=1&hid=4103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=eric&AN=ED291203
Heumann, J., & Hehir, T. (1997, September). "believing in children --. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA/article2.html
Knoblauch, B., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, R. A. (1998). An Overview of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (P.L. 105-17). ERIC Digest. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/ehost/detail?sid=d91c90f3-6f83-4434-b3b2-bb80ae7660a0%40sessionmgr4002&vid=1&hid=4103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=eric&AN=ED430325
Protigal, S. (1999). Public law 94-142 - education of all handicapped children act. Retrieved from http://www.scn.org/~bk269/94-142.html
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