This article originally appeared on long-time Delaware special education advocate Steve Newton’s LinkedIn account yesterday. I read it today and Steve not only hit a grand-slam with this article, but he hit it out of the park! This is the must-read of the month and the timeliness of this could not be more important! Normally, I would italicize this but for reasons which will soon become clear, I did not. Great job Steve!
The road is about to get a lot rougher for special needs kids in America’s schools
It’s never been easy.
IDEA [Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act] was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990 to stiffen the supports for disability-challenged American students that already existed in Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. IDEA established the rules for determining the need for special services, how supports within the education system would be determined, and provided for their monitoring via IEPs [Individualized Education Plans]. The trifold intent of IDEA was to (a) guarantee parents and students a role, a voice, and an appeals option in the process; (b) fund services that would allow special needs students to receive FAPE [Free Appropriate Public Education]; and create mechanisms for monitoring/enforcing the entire process.
Despite the fact that none of those goals has ever really been attained (Congress has never fully funded IDEA in any budget in the past 27 years), IDEA represented a massive improvement for special needs students across America. Millions of kids with specific Learning Disabilities (as in Math or English), with Emotional Disabilities, with ADHD, with Autism, and with other, lesser-known disabilities managed to finish school and go on to college, or employment, and independent, productive lives. Flawed as it is in the execution, IDEA has been a hugely successful law.
But the last decade has seen major problems setting in Continue reading