Rights for Students with Special Needs

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Chapter I INTRODUCTION The earliest official recognition of educational rights for students with special needs occurred in the United States with the passage of PL 94-142 in 1975 (Boyer, 1979; Hallahan, Kauffman, & Pullen 2009). One of the major components of this legislation was the mandate that students with disabilities be educated with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent possible, often called the “inclusion mandate” (Dybvik, 2004, p. 44). This legislation has been re-authorized and additional provisions added to ensure the rights of students with disabilities to a free, appropriate education in the least restrictive setting. It was nearly 20 years later in 1994 that education rights for individuals with disabilities were globally recognized. The Salamanca Statement (United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization [UNESCO], 1994) was the catalyst for establishing education policies in the United Kingdom and other industrialized nations. This document, aimed at a global audience, promoted participation of all students in mainstream education, including students with disabilities. In developing nations, however, recognition of rights for students with special needs came to the forefront more recently with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This historic human rights treaty became effective in 2008 and contributed to the emergence of global educational policies regarding inclusion (United
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