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Education Commission Issues Report
Before compiling these findings and recommendations, the Commission conducted
public hearings in several cities.The Commission also received input from
more than 100 special education experts, individuals with disabilities,
and parents of children with disabilities. (Read
reports and transcripts)
The President's Commission made three main recommendations:
Commission stressed the importance of:
Identify and intervene early;
The report classified the disabilities covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) into three major categories: sensory disabilities, physical and neurological disabilities, and developmental disabilities.
objective criteria should be used to identify students with these disorders,
in many cases identification is a judgment call based on the child's need
for services. The Commission noted it "could not identify firm practical
or scientific reasons supporting the current classification of disabilities
1. While IDEA provides basic legal safeguards and access, "the current system often places process above results, and bureaucratic compliance above student achievement, excellence, and outcomes."
2. "The current system uses an antiquated model that waits for a child to fail, instead of a model based on prevention and intervention."
3. All special education students are general education students first. The costs should be viewed as an additional cost and not that of a separate program. "General and Special Education share responsibilities for children with disabilities."
4. "When a child fails to make progress in special education, parents don't have adequate options and little recourse."
5. "The culture of compliance has often developed from pressures of litigation, diverting much energy of the public schools' first mission: educating every child."
6. Thousands of children are misidentified or not identified each year because "many of the current methods of identifying children with disabilities lack validity."
7. Children with disabilities require highly qualified, better-prepared teachers.
8. "Research on special education needs enhanced rigor and long-term coordination necessary to support the needs of children, educators and parents."
9. "The focus on compliance and bureaucratic imperatives in the current system, instead of academic achievement and social outcomes, fails too many children with disabilities . . . Parents want an educational system that is results oriented and focused on the child's needs -- in school and beyond."
the Report of the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education,
New Era: Revitalizing Special Education for Children and their Families"
in Word and PDF: