The individuals with dsabilities education Act Essay
The individuals with dsabilities education Act
Laws and Practices The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1975), was originally called The Education of Handicapped Children Act. The act is a work in progress. It has been amended several times, including a major revision in 1997. This Federal law attempts to insure access to effective public education for people with a variety of disabilities. School personnel must become well versed with the Act, knowing what actions to take at each specific stage of a student’s development. Legal guidelines also apply to student’s referrals to special services. As times change, research surfaces, and issues arise, the act has been amended.
Ensuring adequate funding for compliance with the act is always a challenge. It is often the focus of changes to the law. The law now extends to the time prior to the students enrollment in special education. Pre-Referral Interventions In the 1997 IDEA bill, parents were conferred the right to refuse an evaluation of their child for possible eligibility for special services. Mediation is provided in case of such an event. If the student opts for this evaluation a specific set of requirements apply. A multi-disciplinary team should be assembled early in the student’s educational process.
The team may include administrators, guidance counselors, and special and general education teachers. Also members of the community who work with the student and experts in the particular disability may be included. This team may choose one of several decision making models to arrive at a strategy. Environmental and individual personality factors are assessed and attempts may be made to modify the students learning environment. The underlying assumption is that the student, whenever possible, should remain on a general education track. If the process results in a referral, a team familiar with the student will already be in place.
Once that referral is made, the IDEA legislation provides the means to ensure that the rights of the individual are upheld. Six Key Components First, the IDEA legislation proposes that access to free appropriate public education (FAPE) is a right for individuals with disabilities. The method of education is unique to the needs of each individual learner. This is the theoretical underpinning for all the IDEA laws. If a child receives a pre-referral intervention or is referred to special education, the parents will not be subject to any additional fees in excess of those for other students.
“Public” means that the public schools are required to educate all students, and adhere to federal requirements regarding education. Secondly, the act requires that all disabled students are evaluated effectively. Information about the student should be gathered from a number of sources then used in the development of the student’s learning plan. This information will also be used to determine which services the student is eligible for. During this stage, a diverse, knowledgeable team of professionals is developed to help the student’s progress.
Thirdly, IDEA provides for the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a written document that provides a road map for the student’s educational progress. A detailed Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be developed for each student. This should occur in short order after the student is referred and evaluated. The act stipulates what information is used in writing the IEP, who writes it, and what the school is obligated to do for the student. The IEP must be consulted, and may be amended, during the placement process. Fourth, IDEA states the principle of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).
Placement in classrooms must be in the best interest of the student. If this means that classrooms need to be modified in some way, it must be done unless it is to the detriment of the other students. The disabled student, as much as possible, must be included in the general education classroom. Providing assistance in order to do this is preferable to assigning the student to a special education classroom. If this is not feasible, there still should be a range of options available to foster as much inclusion as possible. Fifth, IDEA states the importance of parental involvement in decision making.
The parent has the right to participate in any meetings concerning the student’s education. IDEA proposes that the process of educating the student is a partnership between that student, his or her parents, and the public schools. Parents are always an equal partner and are critical to the ultimate success of the student. This team will help determine placement for the student through a number of means, including norm referenced and criterion referenced tests. Since the student’s capabilities and potential eligibility for services are being assessed, these tests must be carefully chosen and peer reviewed.
The presence of a parent or guardian should never be seen as a hindrance. This presence can only help the process for all involved. Finally, the sixth provision of the IDEA legislation imposes procedural safeguards to ensure the rights of all involved. Full disclosure of the factors leading to any school decision regarding the disabled student must be made to his or her parents. A mediation process is provided to resolve any disagreements that may arise. The six principles of IDEA are designed to ensure educational access from the time of first assessment until well after the special education program is exited.
As times change, the IDEA law has been modified in a number of ways. Related Laws PL 99-457 (1986) – These amendments to IDEA provided for the creation of an individualized family service plan (IFSP) for each family served. It extended provisions of PL 94-142 (Free Appropriate Public Education) to preschool aged children. PL 101-476 – The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 mandated that the least restrictive environment (LRE) be provided to physically challenged vocational students. This act changed the term “handicapped” to “disabled” (U.S. Dept of Education, 2003).
More people were covered as a result. The FAPE principle is stated again in this act, along with the requirements for an IEP and associated services. Assisted technology is now included as one of the associated services. Laws applying to inclusion and providing the least restrictive placement for the learner were reinforced. Much needed additional funding for early intervention services was provided. Finally, the act requires that each learner’s IEP must have a plan for transition to employment included by the age of 16.
PL 105-17 (1997) – This law was a major revision to the original IDEA legislation. Disciplining special education students can be a thorny issue. In the past, many forms of classroom discipline risked violating IDEA laws. This issue was addressed in greater detain in this amendment. An amendment that would have eliminated the requirement to provide certain services to students who have been suspended was not included in the final bill. In addition to the IEP, the student’s educational team must also conduct functional behavioral assessments.
A behavioral intervention plan must be developed, reviewed, and amended as necessary. The IEP itself must be more specifically tied in to general education requirements than in the past. Special education is to be de-emphasized and modified mainstreaming will be emphasized. For students with disciplinary problems that affect the learning of others, The IEP team must devise a strategy for behavioral management. For students who commit particularly dangerous acts, the team may impose a longer suspension or removal to an alternative setting.
However, the team is also required to make a ruling, using accepted procedures, whether the behavior of the student was a function of his or her disability. (U. S. Dept. of Education, 2003). The behavioral management plan is then reevaluated from that perspective. HR 1350 IDEA Reauthorization (2004) – This reauthorization addresses financial issues as well as making several revisions to previously instituted policies. A risk pool was established to help offset state costs for students whose educational costs are particularly expensive.
Full funding is not guaranteed by this act, but a gradual process leading to that goal was instituted. This bill sets additional standards for teacher certification. Overall performance goals are outlined and certification goals are established. Mandatory performance data will be gathered. A particular focus of this bill is to use this information to determine if there is a disproportionate enrollment of minority students in special education. The bill also makes further requirements for the IEP. Goal statements must include functional as well as academic goals.
Provisions for IEP transfer between states are made. For students exiting special education, the bill requires the development of an educational summary along with recommendations for further education or entry to a career (Apling, 2002). IDEA in Practice Under the 1997 revision, general education teachers will become more involved in the education of those with disabilities. They will help in developing the student’s IEP, in addition to helping create the least restrictive environment (LRE) for the student to participate with regular classes.
The IDEA legislation is recognition that the cookie cutter approach to education is often not effective. This is particularly true for those who have disabilities. At the same time, it proposes a great many regulations that educators must adhere to. However, these regulations should be seen as a helpful tool for guiding the disabled student toward the best possible educational experience.
IDEA recognizes that not only do these students have the same right to a public education as anyone else, but that it is also in the best interest of society to provide that education.Sources Apling, Richard & Jones, Nancy Lee. (2002). “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Overview of Major Provisions”.
Washington D. C. : The Congressional Research Service. Francis, Leslie P. & Silvers, Anita. (2000). Americans with Disabilities: exploring implications of the law for individuals and institutions. New York: Routledge. U. S. Dept. of Education. (2003). “An overview of the bill to provide a broad understanding of some of the changes in IDEA ‘97”. Accessed 12/17/2006. Available from: http://www. ed. gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA/overview. htm.