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History of Special Education Law: A Timeline

  • Brown v. Board of Education

    The primary focus of this case addresses how the separate but equal law is unconstitutional because it encourages discrimination and goes against the 14th Amendment. The outcome of this case is that Brown won because the judges deemed education critical and necessary for all members of society to participate in democracy. The ruling also supported the desegregation of all facilities. (United States Courts, n.d.)
  • Civil Rights Act

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthered the efforts of desegregation. The Department of Labor (n.d., para 2) states "the... Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Provision... forbade discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing".
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act

    The ESEA was intended to help students from low-income households gain integration in schools; students were segregated because of their race. The government was allowed to hold federal funding from school districts that continued to allow segregation, improving desegregated schools (Russell Sage Foundation, n.d.).
  • PARC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

    PARC went to court to prove that children with mental retardation can learn, that academics are not all there is to education, and to guarantee early access to education for children with mental retardation. The findings, in this case, stated that children with mental retardation could receive special education; and there will be plans to identify, evaluate placements for and educate children with mental disabilities (Fichter, 2012).
  • Larry P. v. Riles

    School districts were administering biased and discriminatory IQ tests and using the scores to place African American students in educable, mentally retarded (EMR) classrooms. The students in this case won, and the rulings state that no one can use IQ tests to place African American students in EMR classes (US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1979).
  • Mills v. Board of Education

    Students with disabilities were expelled, suspended, excluded, reassigned, or transferred. Their families were prohibited from prosecuting because officials did not review their cases promptly. The court established rules for due process and fair hearings, and a Memorandum to educate, treat, and take care of mentally and physically impaired children between three and twenty-one. Also, no one could change a student's IEP until a hearing was completed (Kids Together, n.d.)
  • The Rehabilitation Act 504

    With this Act, all federal funds programs had to include people with disabilities. No one could be excluded based on their disability because it would be discrimination (Kids Together, n.d.).
  • The Education for All Handicapped Children's Act (PL 94-142)

    This Act came after a finding that half of the children with disabilities in the US did not attend a school or were mainstreamed in a class where they could not learn. This Act provided the standards for IEPs and ensured funding to school districts, making special education possible for students with disabilities (Yell, 2019).
  • Armstrong v. Kline

    Families were seeking education support for their children outside of the typical school year, more than one-hundred-and-eighty days. With the focus on summer school, because the students were proven to lose significant academic growth over the long breaks, it would be impossible to recover the lost skills. The court favored the families because the students needed to continue to accrue self-sufficiency and appropriate education (US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1979).
  • Hendrick Hudson School v. Rowley

    A student who was deaf attended school, she received support from the district, but the family wanted a sign language interpreter assigned to their daughter. The school denied the request, but the courts found that the school needed to fulfill the request from the parents (Hayes, 2018).
  • Irving Independent School v. Tatro

    This case focused on related services and whether medical care was a related service. The courts sided with Taro in this case because the student needed catheterization throughout the school day to be at school. Also, This medical procedure could be performed by the school nurse or other trained personnel (A, 2018).
  • Burlington School Committee v DOE

    A student was voluntarily removed from school when the parents disagreed with IEP changes. Hearings determined that the parents could be reimbursed for private school costs. The judges decided that the families could be refunded. Still, they must see litigation through to the end before the school would be required to return funds to them (School Committee of the Town of Burlington v Department of Education of Massachusetts, n.d.).
  • EHA Amendment

    This Act ensured special education services to infants and toddlers and said they should receive them in their natural element. The IFSP was created, and funding provisions for organizations serving the young, disabled, and developmentally delayed began (Yell, 2019).
  • Honig v. Doe

    Some students had been indefinitely suspended for behaviors that related to their disability. Still, the students should have been able to stay in school while officials determined how to address the situation. The court found that students with disabilities cannot be suspended for more than ten days, allowing time for IEP review or litigation to begin and that the student cannot be moved elsewhere during the litigation and review stages (Steketee, 2022).
  • Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garrett F.

    A student required medical care and one-on-one to attend school. The district said that the medical needs were costly and required nursing care. The student won because the demands were not only medical, and the services were necessary to keep the student in school. The student was covered by IDEA and received a one-on-one (Suggett, 2017).
  • Danny R.R. v. State Board of Education

    The least restrictive environment is the focus of this case. The judge determined that non-academic achievement is equally important as academic achievement. Students with disabilities should be mainstreamed if the student can attend with support. If there is insufficient support, the child should be integrated as much as possible (Kids Together, n.d.).
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    The Americans with Disabilities Act declares that any program, employer, or service must be inclusive, accepting all people regardless of disability. Furthermore, the Act states that if there are two similar programs, one meant for people with disabilities and the other without, the person with the impairment should be able to join either program (Kids Together, n.d.).
  • EHA Amendment

    The Education for All Handicapped Children Act was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA. Congress updated specific terms in the original document to stress the person, not the disability. Many topics were added to the Act, like Autism, traumatic brain injury, and clarity for related services. Other changes were to add IEP transition planning for students sixteen years old, rehab, and assistive technology services (Yell, 2019).
  • Oberti v. Board of Education

    This case focuses on the least restrictive learning environment and related services. Students should be able to attend classes in their school district and offered supportive services to keep them in the general education classroom. States go on to be required to address the needs of each student because children with disabilities can still achieve (Butters, 2020).
  • Board of education in Sacramento CA v. Holland

    The ruling, in this case, found that the first assumed classroom for a child with a disability is the general education classroom. Judges are to assess several factors when ensuring that students with disabilities are included to the maximum of the child's abilities with or without support (Kids Together, n.d.).
  • EHA/ IDEA Amendment

    )This Amendment improves IDEA because educators had a massive amount of paperwork to complete concerning a case, and research on best practices was challenging to access. The most significant change was for educators because they had to show improvements in their student's achievement (Yell,2019).
  • No Child Left Behind Act

    This Act reauthorizes the ESEA making schools accountable to the federal government for all student achievement in math and reading. States must measure and record students' achievement toward state standards. Students below the average must be brought above it by a specific date. Even students with disabilities must participate in state testing to ensure they are receiving quality instruction (Yell, 2019).
  • IDEA Amendment

    Special education teachers had to be certified in special education for the first time. This Amendment made schools responsible for student performance, removed some requirements for most children with an IEP, and required that teachers use researched teaching methods (Yell, 2019).
  • Gaskin v. Commonwealth of PA

    Students were denied their right to education with support to stay in the general education classroom. The PDE did not enforce the laws it should have, making the school district offer all the support necessary for students with disabilities to stay in the general education setting. This case included an Advisory Panel, compliance monitoring, and changes to the IEP. Any complainant concerning LRE would be thoroughly investigated (PSEA, n.d.).
  • Edward v. the Douglas County School District

    The focus of this case was for children with disabilities to obtain a higher standard of education. The judge ruled in favor of Endrew because the educational program has to fit the student. The learning experiences should be ambitious, considering the student's challenges (Sladky, 2017).