Why Were Special Education Laws Passed

October 8, 1971: In Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Following the decision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of students with intellectual and learning disabilities in state institutions. PARK v. Penn called for students with disabilities to be placed in publicly funded schools that meet their individual educational needs, based on appropriate and thorough assessment. In 2015, Congress again approved the Primary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act. In response to complaints from states and school districts, Congress removed many parts of the accountability law, including requirements for highly qualified teachers. The new Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law on 10 August. It was signed by President Obama in December 2015. Following the Brown decision, parents of children with disabilities began suing their school districts for exclusion and segregation of children with disabilities. Parents argued that by excluding these children, schools were discriminating against them because of their disability.

Waves of poor, non-English-speaking, Catholic and Jewish immigrants poured into the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Citizens feared that these new immigrants would bring class hatred, religious intolerance, crime and violence to America. Social and political leaders sought ways to “penetrate the lower strata of the population and teach children to share the values, ideals and controls of the rest of society.” In 2018-2019, more than 64% of children with disabilities spend 80% or more of their school day in general education classes (IDEA Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Collection), and early intervention services are provided to more than 400,000 infants and young children with disabilities and their families (IDEA Part C Child Count and Settings). Most children have families or caregivers who love and care for them in ways no one else can. This means that these families and caregivers must have a say in the discussion about their children`s education. Families and caregivers are involved in all special education decisions as advocates for children to ensure that everyone in the learning process, including children, is respected. Over the past 40+ years, we have exceeded our expectations for all children, including children with disabilities. Classrooms have become more inclusive and the future for children with disabilities is brighter. Significant progress has been made in protecting the rights of infants, young children, children and adolescents with disabilities, meeting the individual needs and improving educational outcomes of infants, young children, children and adolescents with disabilities.

June 4, 1990: The Education for All Children with Disabilities Act becomes the Education of Persons with Disabilities Act. President Clinton authorized IDEA with several important amendments emphasizing that all students should have access to the same curriculum, in addition to giving states the power to expand the definition of “developmental delay” from birth to age five to students ages six to nine. PARC dealt with the exclusion of mentally handicapped children from public schools. In the subsequent agreement, it was agreed that decisions on school placement should include a process for parental involvement and a means of resolving disputes. After PARC and Mills, Congress launched a survey into the situation of children with disabilities and found that millions of children were not receiving an appropriate education: Congress has amended and renamed the Special Education Act several times since 1975. On 3 December 2004, the Law on the Education of Persons with Disabilities was further amended. The new authorized law is the Improvement of Education for Persons with Disabilities Act 2004 and is known as IDEA 2004. The law is found in volume 20 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), beginning with § 1400. Special education regulations are published in Volume 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) beginning with Section 300. 19.

In November 1975, Congress passed Public Law 94-142, also known as the Education for All Disabled Children Act of 1975. The Congress intended that all children with disabilities “have the right to education and establish a process by which national and local education authorities can be held accountable for the provision of educational services to all children with disabilities”. The provision of educational services will ensure that individuals are not unnecessarily forced into institutional institutions. One only has to look at social housing to find thousands of people whose families are no longer able to support themselves and who have not received an education themselves. Billions of dollars are spent every year to keep people in these inhumane conditions. Congress first addressed the education of students with disabilities in 1966 when it amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a grant program to assist states in “initiating, expanding, and improving programs and projects.” for the education of children with disabilities”. In 1970, this program was replaced by the Disabled Education Act (P.L. 91-230), which, like its predecessor, introduced a grant program designed to encourage states to develop educational programs and resources for people with disabilities.

None of the programs had specific mandates for the use of grant funds; Nor has either programme been shown to significantly improve the education of children with disabilities. IDEA called on States to set targets for the performance of children with disabilities that are consistent with the goals and standards for children without disabilities. States were also required to improve graduation and drop-out rates and to report on the progress of children with disabilities in state and county assessments. Separating white and black children in public schools has a detrimental effect on children of color. The effect is greater if it has the sanction of the law; For the policy of racial segregation is generally interpreted as the inferiority of the black group. A feeling of inferiority influences a child`s motivation to learn. Legislated segregation therefore tends to delay the educational and mental development of black children and deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system. Students are not always entitled to special education. Prior to 1961, the United States did not publicly educate children with disabilities. If a child had cognitive or emotional impairments, deafness, blindness or speech therapy, parents had to homeschool their children or pay for private education. Parents began the process of educating the public by creating advocacy groups for their children.

They met with teachers and politicians, and in 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson began signing legislation to expand public education and its funding goals. In the results of IDEA 2004, Congress described a critical need for trained staff and that “comprehensive, high-quality professional development programs are essential to ensure that those responsible for the education or transition of children with disabilities have the knowledge and skills to meet the educational and related needs of these children.” No Child Left Behind, Every Student Succeeds Act In 2015, Congress approved the Primary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the law formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act. In response to complaints from states and school districts, Congress removed many parts of the accountability law, including requirements for highly qualified teachers. The new Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law on 10 August. It was signed by President Obama in December 2015. In June 2020, the U.S. Department of Education reported that, as usual, less than half of states were complying with the federal special education law for the previous school year. (USA Today, August 8, 2020) Most states fail because of educational commitments for students with special needs: So what else is new? USA Today (August 8, 2020) Report on the Government`s Implementation of IDEA (November 25, 2020). www2.ed.gov/fund/data/report/idea/ideafactsheet-determinations-2020.pdf ********** Legal notices and quotations for this article can be found in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd edition, chapter 3. Back to top Last revised: 18.10.21 In 1975, Congress found that poor African-American children were overrepresented in special schools. These problems persist.

In the results of IDEA 2004, Congress described persistent problems related to the over-identification of children belonging to minorities, including mislabelling and high drop-out rates: (B) More children belonging to minorities continue to be cared for in special schools than might be expected given the percentage of minority pupils in the general school population.