The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is an act introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on October 31, 1989. IDEA was signed into law almost a year later by President George H.W. Bush. The Purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is to give students with disabilities the rights and educational opportunities as children without disabilities.

IDEA is separated into four parts:
A. General Provisions
B. Assistance for education of all children with disabilities
C. Infants and Toddlers with disabilities
D. National Support Programs Administered at the federal level

Under the IDEA Act schools have to undergo the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process for each student with a disability. In order for this process to begin the parent has to request, in writing, for their student to be evaluated to determine if they are eligible for an IEP or if they need a 504 accommodation plan (extra test time, sit in the front of the class room, etc.) If the parent does not agree with the schools findings, they can request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), at no charge to the parent.

Significance of the Law

Before the IDEA act was created, many students with disabilities did not receive the proper education because of their disability. Many states had laws that barred them from public schools. The few places that allowed students with disabilities to attend school were either very expensive or did not have the necessary resources to provide a
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