Special Education in the United States Susie Fahey and Mario Martinez Today More than 200,000 infants and toddlers receive services More than 6.5 million children and youth ages 3-21 receive special education and related services to meet individual needs. Access to Public Education Education of All Handicapped Children’s Act, EHA (1975) The right of all handicapped children to receive a free, appropriate public education. Funds provided to enable states and local education agencies to comply with the requirements. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA(1997) Reauthorization of EHA Requirements for states to provide special education that is aligned with federal standards as a condition for receiving federal funds Entitled every student to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment Reauthorization of IDEA – 2004 Current Status Reauthorized several times with the 2004 alignment with 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act: Established parameters for highly qualified teachers and assessment requirements Amended disciplinary procedure Individuals Education Program procedures and eligibility criteria for learning disabilities to include the use of general education interventions and progress monitoring. Create procedures for educating children with disabilities in private schools located within a school district’s boundaries Funding Cooperative federalism model- State and Federal funding Federal Regulations and Mandates established Statutes and regulations occur at the local level by school districts under the supervision of their State government. Subject to judicial review Funding IDEA authorized Congress to contribute up to 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure for each student Have failed to implement the original authorization Creates financial pressure for the local school district States provide 45% - Local Districts 46% 9% through Federal IDEA funding Qualifying- 13 Specific categories Autism Speech and language disability Developmental disability Deaf-blind Specific learning disability Visual impairment Intellectual impairment Hearing impairment Emotional and/or behavioral disability Orthopedic or physical impairment Other health impaired (attention deficit disorder, multiple disabilities, traumatic brain injury) Evaluation Process – Comprehensive school evaluation Parent and/or teacher identification Parent approval Provided at no cost to family Comprehensive – any area of need In native language of child Administered by a team of professionals Administered one-to-one Prior interventions must have taken place before evaluation Observation by person other than classroom teacher Evaluation then determines eligibility – one of 13 categories identified. Individual Education Program (IEP) Developed by team – at least one parent Statement of the child’s present levels of educational performance Describes the effects of the child’s disability on the affected areas of the child’s academic and non-academic school performance Statement of the annual goals, including short term goals Specific special education and related services to be provided to the child and the extent to which the child will participate in regular education program. Dates for initiation of services Annual review of IEP 3 year Review Transition Services Transitions services are designed to focus on improving academic and functional achievement for children. These types of services help develop a person’s ability to gain employment and independent living skills. The goal of transitional services is to prepare students with disabilities for adult living. In most states these services extend to age 21 or when the student meets his/her goals and objectives, which will be designated in their IEP (Center on Education Policy, 2005). Current Legislation “Blueprint” The Blueprint sets a goal that, by 2020, all graduating high school students will be college and career ready regardless of their disability status. Achieving this goal will likely include: Inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Professional development for principals and teachers to improve the effectiveness of instruction. Equitable allocation of effective educators to provide high-poverty, high minority schools. Support of school principals and special and general education teachers to effectively address the academic and socio-economic issues faced by students with disabilities. “Blueprint” Enhancement of early intervention programs, including Response to Intervention and Positive Behavioral Supports. Identification and implementation of drop-out factors that disaproportionately impact students with disabilities. Increase the rate of high school graduation for special education students with a standard high school diploma. Continued use of accountability systems. Greater use of technology to improve instruction. Effective use of student data to monitor student progress More effective collaboration between schools and parents. Not only equity but quality!