Fulfilling the Promise - 35th Anniversary of IDEA

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In This Issue . . .

Circulation: 82,883
ISSN: 1538-320
November 30, 2010

35th Anniversary of IDEA HistoryIn 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.

To understand the battles being fought today for children with disabilities, it is important to understand the history and traditions associated with public schools and special education.

Years ago children with disabilities were referred to in legal decisions as imbeciles. If a child was mentally retarded, by statute, the child had no right to an education. If a child was in a wheelchair, the child was a fire hazard and excluded from public school. If the child needed institutionalization, the parent had to pay the cost.

On November 29, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed into law the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142). This week we celebrate the 35th anniversary of IDEA.

"Today, in America, we recognize that people with disabilities – like all people – have unique abilities, talents, and aptitudes. And that America is better, fairer, and richer when we make full use of those gifts.” - Senator Tom Harkin

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, you will learn about the history of special education law and find information about celebrating the 35th anniversary of this landmark legislation, IDEA.

Please don't hesitate to forward this issue to other friends, families, or colleagues.

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Fulfilling the Promise of IDEA

...every choice not afforded me, every defeat, every lesson I ever learned, every success I have ever known, everything I have been through with my own kids, has brought me to this exact point in time.

In this year of the 35th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Susan Bruce is thankful. Susan feels she is doing what she was destined to do. Fulfilling the Promise of IDEA: What I Was Called to Do.

Pete Wright during oral argument at US Supreme Court Carter case

The History of Special Education Law

Pete describes how public education and special education evolved, the impact of landmark cases about racial and disability discrimination, the circumstances that led Congress to enact Public Law 94-142 in 1975, and how the law has evolved over the past thirty years.

Read the History of Special Education Law by Pete Wright.


IDEA - 35 Years Later

"In 2010, we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). While tremendous progress has been made over the years, we must continue the hard work and address the challenges that still exist.

Although we are able to help many individual students to achieve their goals, we must strive to ensure that all children have the support they need and to find ways to meet each student’s needs within the context of each school."

OSERS Celebrates 35 Years of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)


35 Years of Progress

35th celebration videoThis video takes a look back to what the conditions were like before IDEA, and how its passage has changed the educational landscape for students with disabilities today.

Download the Publication from the US Department of Education - IDEA History:

35 Years of Progress in Educating Children With Disabilities Through IDEA


But for all of the Progress...Lingering Roadblocks

"For 35 years, IDEA has guaranteed students with disabilities their civil right to a free, appropriate public education. Through it, millions of students with disabilities have received an education that prepares them to be full participants in our economy and our communities.

But for all of the progress, we can all agree that we haven't completely fulfilled the promise of IDEA. Our children continue to face prejudices and lingering roadblocks."

US Department of Education Secretary Duncan Addresses 35th Anniversary Celebration of Special Education Law.

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