Special Education in the United States

Report
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

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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

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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


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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

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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)




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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.
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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!

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