The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act Essay

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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a four-part piece of American legislation that ensures students with disabilities will receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that meets their individual needs. From 1975 to 1990, IDEA was known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA). In 1990, the United States Congress reauthorized EHA and changed the title to IDEA (Public Law No. 94-142). This law had a dramatic, yet positive impact on millions of children with disabilities in every state and local community across the country. Overall, the goal of IDEA is to provide disabled students with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities. Although the laws governing special education students have changed over the past thirty-six years, very little has changed in school districts’ special education departments. Why is this? What factors must be present at the district level for successful change to occur? Perhaps the answer has to do with how district leadership handles change. Unfortunately, many school district leaders are not equipped to lead change. With no special training and faced with making difficult decisions, leaders struggle to implement a sustainable plan that benefits individual students’ needs. To step back and see the big picture takes expert leadership.
Review of scholarly literature
“Perhaps no American institution has been reformed more often, with less apparent effect, than schools” (Evans, 2011,

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