Legal History of the Education for Students with Disabilities Cindy Smith, M.S., J.D. October 29, 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org Compulsory Education In 1840, Rhode Island passed the first compulsory education law and by 1918 all states had such laws, yet children with disabilities were often not allowed to attend school on the basis that it was presumed that child with disabilities could not benefit from education. In 1922, Congress passed the Compulsory Education Act which requires the state to ensure that every parent or guardian in custody of a child 8 to 16 years old send the child to public school for the time school is in session each year. Beattie v. Board of Education 1919 Wisconsin State Supreme Court concluded that a child with cerebral palsy should be totally excluded from public schools because his presence was ?harmful to the best interests of the school. Individual rights must be subordinated to the general welfare.? The School District argued that the child produced a ?depressing and nauseating effect upon the teachers and school children that by reason of his physical condition he takes up an undue portion of the teacher?s time and attention, distracts the attention of the other pupils, and interferes generally with the discipline and progress of the school.? Example of State Law Excluding Children with Disabilities from Education Chicago Municipal Code made it illegal for individuals that were ?diseased, maimed, mutilated or in any way deformed so as to be unsightly or disgusting object or improper person to be allowed in or on the public ways or other public places? (Chicago Ill. Mun. Code, 36-34 (1966) (repealed 1974)) Brown v. Board of Education 1954 The strongest statement in support of the education system by the Supreme Court came from Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1954 when the Supreme Court decided the Supreme Court concluded that- ?in these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education; such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be available on equal terms? Early Federal Legislation In 1966, Congress first addressed the education for children with disabilities when it amended the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 to establish a grant program to assist states in the implementation, expansion and improvement of programs and projects?for the education of handicapped children. Early Court Decisions on Behalf of Children with Disabilities Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Pennsylvania (1971) Mills v. Board of Education of District of Columbia (1972) Both were class action lawsuits that challenged the constitutionality of statutes which acted to exclude children with disabilities from education. Held that children with disabilities must be given access to an adequate publicly supported education. Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (P.L. 94 -142) Combined a bill of rights and federal funding for states to educate children with disabilities. Basic tenets are zero reject, nondiscriminatory assessment, procedural due process, parental participation, least restrictive environment, and individualized education program. Subsequent Reauthorizations and Amendments to EAHCA Handicapped Children?s Protection Act of 1986 (P.L. 99 ? 372) Education of the Act Amendments of 1986 (P.L. 99 ? 457) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (P.L. 101 -476) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1991 (P.L. 102 ? 119) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (P.L. 105 ? 107) Individuals with Disabilities with Education Improvement Act of 2004 (P.L. 108 ? 445) Purposes ?to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living? ?to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parent?s of disabilities are protected? P.L. 108-446 Sec. 602(d)(1) Free and Appropriate Public Education Provision (FAPE) have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge; meet the standards of the State educational agency; include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and are provided in conformity with the individualized education program. P.L. 108-446 Sec. 602(9) Least Restrictive Environment To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. P.L. 108-446 Sec. 612(5) The Individualized Education Plan is a ?written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed and revised? in accordance with the provisions of IDEA. The purpose of the IEP is to ?tailor the education to the child, not tailor the child to the education? The IEP must specify the special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, and the program modifications for the child and the supports for school personnel.. A child with a disability cannot be removed from general education in an age appropriate regular classroom solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum. P.L. 108-446 Sec. 614(d) Parental Participation Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by strengthening the role and responsibility of parents and ensuring that families?have meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children at school and at home. P.L. 108-446
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