The Development Of Special Education Essay

The Development Of Special Education Essay

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There are many events that have driven the gradual development of special education over time. These events have served as a framework to the understanding of the field and its constant changing nature. Knowledge of the history of special education is critical if we are to make additional progress. The idea of excluding students with disabilities can be traced back in history. The beliefs were that students with disabilities were best kept at the boundaries of society.
The first noteworthy court case to have had an effect on special education was Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. This court case addressed racial segregation and determined that segregating based on race violated the equal education opportunity. The Brown decision led the way for higher thinking that all people regardless of disability, race, or gender have the right to a free and public education (Pittman). In 1973, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act indicated that a person with a disability cannot be excluded from any program or activity receiving federal public or private assistance. Even up to 1975, most children with disabilities in the U.S. were being inappropriately educated or completely excluded from the school setting (Lipsky, 1997).
More current legislation, such as the No Child Left Behind Act and IDEA 2004, have improved the quality of special education programs at the state level. IDEA 2004 allows for alternative models to identify learning disabilities, such as response to intervention. While RTI is chiefly a general education initiative, it has a significant impact on how the school community views struggling students (Pittman). RTI is viewed as a new alternative way for students to be identified as having learning disabilities; the emphasis ...


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... Act. The Brown decision led the way to a growing understanding that all people, regardless of race, gender, or disability, have a right to a public education. It is a landmark case that led to the “separate is not equal” mentality. This court case brought attention to many cases of discrimination; not just blacks vs. whites, but students with special needs vs. typical students.
The Reinactment of the IDEA further defined the purpose of special education. It helped clarify the intended outcome for students with disabilities. Prior to the Improvement Act, students with special needs were provided with FAPE, an IEP, and LRE. With the Reinactment Act in place, special education and related services are now designed to meet the unique needs of each child, Preschool through age 21. IDEA 2004 allows for alternative models to identify learning disabilities, such as RTI.

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