The Effects Of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act On Special Education In America
The Individual Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was federal legislation passed by Congress in 1997 to assure that students with disabilities get a fair and appropriate education for an individual at their ability level. The focus of the act was to incorporate students with disabilities into the general curriculum. One of its goals was to integrate these students as much as possible, based on their ability, into the regular education setting of a school. For subjects in which students need assistance, such as social skills or any of a number of academic subjects, the student would be placed in a special education setting. However, the goal of the IDEA is to find a least restrictive environment for the student, meaning that the student will be educated in a setting that is appropriate to his or her abilities, and not a generic special education program where a group of children with many disabilities are lumped together. The main goal of this paper is to analyze how the IDEA is written and than analyze how it is being implemented in special education programs throughout the country by looking at two different studies, one done by the Office of Special Education Programs, a national agency that conducted a study on state and local implementation and the impact of the IDEA. I also conducted a parent survey to study how the IDEA is being implemented in a local district. Through this, I attempted to obtain real-life data to see how well the IDEA is being implemented in schools at the state, district, and local levels. It should be noted that the study by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is a national study involving all 50 states, whereas my study is a study of local districts in which I asked parents to give their responses as to how they felt the special education program of their children was being handled by the Eastern school district of Kalamazoo County Schools. The study on the eastern school district also measures parental involvement in their child's education, which is another important aspect of the IDEA.