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The federal government became a partner with the states for educating students with disabilities.
The EAHCA provides federal funding to states to assist them in educating students with disabilities.
States are obligated to guarantee a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities in return for federal funding.
Precursor to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Critical Legislature The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) This law was created to overcome the short comings of the EAHCA such as:
Children with disabilities were excluded from public schools,
Children with disabilities who did not attend public schools did not receive an education that was appropriate for their needs,
Children with disabilities were not diagnosed, which prevented them from receiving a successful education,
Schools lacked adequate resources which forced families to find services outside of school.
The purpose of IDEA is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.
Critical Legislature Section 504 It is the first major effort to protect persons with disabilities against discrimination based on their disabilities. Covers disabilities beyond what the IDEA covers No direct federal funding is associated with Section 504 Section 504 protects any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity of a person, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.
Critical Legislature The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) The ADA mandates protection for persons with disabilities against discrimination in a wide range of activities in both the private and public sectors. The purpose of the ADA: To provides a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. To provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards which address discrimination against individuals with disabilities. To ensure that the federal government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in the act on behalf of individual with disabilities. To invoke the sweep of congressional authority, include the power to enforce the 14th Amendment, and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities.
Critical Legislature No Child Left Behind (NCLB) NCLB is a comprehensive and complex education law. It represented an unprecedented increase in the role that the federal government plays in education because the law dramatically increased federal mandates and requirements on states, school districts, and public schools. The primary purpose of NCLB is to ensure that students in every public school achieve important learning goals while being educated in safe classrooms by well prepared teachers. It is also designed to close the academic gaps between economically advantaged students and students who are from different economical, racial, and ethnic backgrounds as well as students with disabilities.
Key Elements In Today’s Schools Standard Based Educationmeans that what is taught must be tied to the state’s derived content and performance standards that now exist in all states in the core subject areas of language arts, English, mathematics, social studies, and science. The intent is to have a common set of goals and milestones. Inclusion: The most consistent theme in special education has been the commitment to providing persons with disabilities the opportunity to have a place in society. The concept of inclusion implies a sense of belonging and acceptance. Right to Intervention (RTI) – It is a way of determining whether a student has a learning disability; increasingly intensive levels of instructional intervention are developed, and if a student does not achieve, at some point he/she is determined to have a learning disability or is referred for special education evaluation. RTI has three tiers of intervention. The first tier includes every student in the general education classroom. It gives the teacher the opportunity to correct and rule out poor pedagogical approaches. The second tier provides a more intense research based instruction that focuses on a small group of students. In the third tier, the students are pulled out of the general education classroom and are provided assistance in the special education classroom.
Key Elements In Today’s Schools Differentiated Instructionis a process to approach teaching and learning for students of different abilities in the same class. The intent of differentiated instruction is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success by meeting each student where he/she is and assisting in the learning process. Evidence Based Practice requires teachers to use research based interventions. If one technique is unsuccessful, the teacher will attempt the next best proven practice. The overriding tenet of accountability is now how teachers instruct students.