Thursday, August 28, 2008

IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) -- a U.S. Law

The culmination of many years of struggle on behalf of children with disabilities occurred on November 29, 1975, when President Ford signed Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA). This landmark federal legislation mandated a free, appropriate education for students with disabilities aged 3 to 21. The EHA has been called the "first compulsary special education law." Today, EHA is known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Despite the name change and other amendments, the basic rights and provisions it afforded students with disabilities and their families have remained largely the same: the right to an individualized education program, the right to protection in evaluation procedures, the right to due process, and the right to education in the least restrictive environment.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB 2002) contains sweeping changes in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. All students including those with mild disabilities are to be held to the same curriculum and assessment standards. Federal aid is contingent on an increase in proficiency in math, reading, and science among all students. States must maintain goals and assess results for various categories of students based on poverty, ethnicity, disability, and limited English proficiency.

2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA, USA
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