Special education has come a long way since the concept came about in the 1700s. In that era people with disabilities were considered to be hopeless, an embarrassment to their families and were therefore hidden or abandoned. Today, in America, those who have special needs are increasingly gaining acceptance in society and their rights as individuals are being acknowledged, particularly in education. With the passing of important laws such as the Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, special education of students with disabilities has become a basic civil right. According to the federal government, all children, including those with disabilities, have a right to a free appropriate public education, also known as FAPE. While the government has the right to enforce these civil rights, it is up to each individual state to develop their own special education programs and procedures. Because each state has different demographics, there are various ways each approaches special education. To understand the special education systems that each state constructs, it helps to focus on one state, and analyze it in it 's entirety. It is beneficial to examine a state like New Jersey because this state provides several special education program options. The laws and procedures that are followed in New Jersey can be found in Title 6A: Chapter 14 of the New Jersey Administrative Code. The purpose of Chapter 14 is to guarantee that a free, appropriate public education is available to all students with disabilities as defined in the chapter itself. It ensures that the placement of each student and the various services provided are based on the child 's individual needs and are carried out in the least restricted environment, LRE, possible. New Jersey law makes sure that the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are protected, and that the effectiveness of the education of these students


Bibliography: 1. NJDOE: New Jersey Department of Education official website. http://www.nj.gov/njded/specialed/ 2. New Jersey Administrative Code. Title 6A. Chapter 14: Special Education. Effective: October 6, 2003. Expires: September 5, 2008 3. PRISE: Parental Rights in Special Education: New Jersey Department of Education. Revised: April 2004

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