History of U.S. Laws in Special Education

By leelRSD
  • The White House Conference of 1910

    Establish remedial programs for children with disabilities or special needs and find ways to educate children with disabilities rather than institutionalizing them
  • Compulsory Attendance

    Education laws established in all U.S. states requiring children to attend school by the age of 5 or 6 years old;The development of "compulsory attendance" helped provide mandatory opportunities for ALL children with or without disabilities to attend school.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Lawsuit challenging the "separate, but equal" basis for racial segregation in public schools in Kansas; Lawsuit became a catalyst for change in special education ensuring all students, including students with disabilities, attained the right to receive an education; led to several future court cases defending children and youth with disabilities rights
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    Civil Rights Movement

    The Civil Rights Movement impacted the formation of modern day special education. The CRM and 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision (granted equal protection to minorities under law) helped bring justice to similar issues people with disabilities were also facing. Special education advocacy groups during this time became leaders in the hopes to improving educational opportunities for the children with disabilities
  • Civil Rights Act

    Legislation that prohibited discrimination in housing, employment and education; protected students from discrimination of race, color, religion or national origin and was a foundation for the ADA- eliminating discrimination and segregation for students with disabilities
  • Elementary and Secondary education Act

    Cornerstone of Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty"; this program provided extensive funding for elementary and secondary education; eventually was revised creating Title I districts that have a high percentage of students from low-income families; Title III mandated educational programming even when school was not in session, and provided for special education and related services in isolated or rural areas
  • The Education of the Handicapped Act

    Replaced the 1965 ESEA and expanded previous federal grant programs and created state grant programs for children with disabilities; the first freestanding special education law; mandated students with disabilities to be educated and required students with disabilities to receive special education and related services necessary for progression
  • PARC v. Pennsylvania

    The Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens challenged the state of Pennsylvania in a lawsuit excluding students with mental retardation from receiving a publicly supported education. The result of the case ended with a consent agreement specifying that all children with mental retardation between the ages of 6-21 must be provided a free public education.
  • Mills v. Board of Education

    Lawsuit filed against the District of Columbia's Board of Education defending the students with behavioral, physical and emotional disabilities who have been denied a public education due to their disabilities. The result provided a due process safeguards and procedural safeguards and the proceeding legislation: Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

    First disability federal civil rights law that protects the rights of people with disabilities; prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by agencies receiving federal funds; the term "handicapped" was officially used to define a person with a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of that person's major life activities
  • Education For All Handicapped Children Act

    Established equal access to a public education; officially established the "Procedural Safeguards" that ensures the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are protected
  • Education For All Handicapped Children Act

    Required schools to create IEPs for children eligible for special education services and related services; students with disabilities were allowed to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE)
  • Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley

    School district refused to provide a deaf student with a sign language interpreter; court ruled in favor of Rowley because she was not given an opportunity to succeed at her full potential that with a sign language interpreter could be possible
  • Irving Independent School District v. Tatro

    A three year old girl with spina bifida and suffered from a neurogenic bladder was denied services/assistance with her catheterization cleaning (CIC) by the school district she attended; the court ruled in Tatro's favor that CIC is considered a Related Service under the EHA rather than a medical service where a doctor is required to be present
  • EHA Amendment

    Made categorical grants to states contingent on providing services to children with developmental disabilities from birth to their third birthday; established "early intervention services" for children experiencing developmental delays; services were required to be provided in a natural environment where children without disabilities also were able to participate (inclusion)
  • Honig v. Doe

    Two students, John Doe and Jack Smith, were suspended by the Louise M. Lombard High School for actions due to their disabilities. The court ruled in favor of the students stating that this was a violation of the "stay put" provision under the EHA (The item states: a child with a disability must remain with his or her current educational placement pending completion of any review proceedings, unless the parents and state or local educational agencies agree to removal)
  • Danny R.R. v. State Board of Education

    Court case where a local school district failed and refused to follow the EHA to place Danny, a student with Down Syndrome, in a class with non-disabled peers; this court case established a child's right to inclusion and the LRE (least restrictive environment); a student should be provided services and supplementary aids in the regular education classroom, but cannot be denied the opportunity to participate in one
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

    Emphasized the public to use "people first" language when discussing a person with a disability; transition indication in IEP was required for students 16 or older; traumatic brain injury and Autism considered disabilities under IDEA
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    The United States's first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in jobs, public services, public accommodations (accessibility requirements), and transportation
  • Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon

    Court case involving Rafael Oberti, a student with Down Syndrome, refused the opportunity to be placed in a regular education class; the court case established inclusion in the regular education classroom with supplementary aids and services and if placement outside the classroom becomes of better benefit for the child, the school district must attempt to include the student in as many school programs with other peers who do not have disabilities “to the maximum extent appropriate."
  • Gaskin v. Commonwealth

    This court case sought to change Pennsylvania’s systems for training districts in inclusion and for monitoring and enforcing their compliance; ensured that schools were implementing the necessary supports to make sure inclusion would work as stated under the IDEA
  • IDEA Amendments

    Passed to reauthorize and make improvements to the IDEA and required every state in the U.S. to have in effect policies and procedures to ensure a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for all students with disabilities
  • No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

    Created to increase student achievement and hold states, school districts and schools accountable for producing measurable gains in student achievement for reading and math including students with and without disabilities
  • IDEA Improvement Act

    An improved revision of the IDEA influenced by the NCLBA, under President Bush, the act emphasized increased accountability for student performance in schools and school district levels; the new act provided changes in IEPs, discipline (case by case basis), due process and identification of students with learning disabilities