IDEA At Age Forty: Weathering Common Core Standards And Data Driven Decision Making

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Vaughn Bicehouse
Jean Faieta


IDEA, Inclusion, Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, Special Education


Special education, a discipline that aims to provide specialized instruction to meet the unique needs of each child with a disability, has turned 40 years old in the United States. Ever since the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) in 1975, every state has been directed to provide a free and appropriate education for all students with disabilities (Gallagher, 2000; Rothstein, 1995). The focus of this paper is to revisit the foundations of the special education movement in the United States to show how special education has progressed since 1975. The current Race to the Top movement impacts school districts across the nation, creating great concern about what this means for students with disabilities and how it affects their struggle to succeed within the public school domain. In fact, after 40 years, (P.L. 94-142) known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, is the current high stakes standards and assessment climate taking the “special” out of special education? 


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