Early Childhood Special Education Services: Federal Legislation Affects (page 2)
1973—Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 93–112)
- Section 504 was passed to promote participation in and ensure equal access to federally funded programs for individuals with disabilities. It created the impetus to educate students with disabilities that resulted in the Education for the Handicapped Act (EHA), later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- To be eligible for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under Section 504, a child must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
1975—Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Education for the Handicapped Act or EHA) (Public Law 94–142)
- All children with disabilities must be given an education.
- The education must be provided in the least restrictive environment.
- The education must be individualized, free, and appropriate for the child.
- Procedural protections require due process.
1986—EHA Amendments (Public Law 99–457)
- This law extended special education to children with disabilities who are 3–5 years of age.
- Services to infants and toddlers were provided at states’ discretion.
1990—Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The ADA covers the accessibility of public buildings, transportation, and communication to people with disabilities.
- The ADA does not address obligations to provide educational services to students with disabilities.
1990—Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- The IDEA expanded the foundations established in Public Laws 94–142 and 99–457.
- It has six principles:
- No student can be excluded from public education because of a disability.
- Procedural due process protections ensure student and parent rights.
- Parents are encouraged to participate in their child’s education.
- Assessment must be fair and unbiased.
- Students must receive a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
- Confidentiality must be maintained.
1997—Reauthorization of the IDEA (Public Law 108–446)
- The reauthorized IDEA ensured that children with disabilities had greater access to the general education curriculum.
- It also expanded opportunities for family members, teachers, and other professionals to work collaboratively.
2001—No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
- NCLB is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and emphasized the following:
- Accountability for results: NCLB is intended to identify schools and districts in need of improvement and to ensure teacher quality. Standardized test scores from children with disabilities must be included in school performance data.
- Emphasis on what works in scientific research: NCLB is intended to improve teaching and learning by providing better information to teachers and principals and by giving more resources to schools.
- Expanded parental options: NCLB is intended to provide more information to parents about their child’s progress and the school’s performance.
- Expanded local control and flexibility: NCLB provides flexibility in the use of federal education funds and in the improvement of teacher qualifications, in part, by including alternative certification.
2004—Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)
- This reauthorization addresses several issues: better aligning the IDEA and NCLB, appropriately identifying students needing special education, providing freedom to exercise reasonable discipline while protecting students with special needs, identifying parameters for “highly qualified teachers,” reducing paperwork, and fostering more cooperation in order to reduce litigation.
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