Positive Impact Essay

1171 words - 5 pages

Running head: NCLB AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITES 1NCLB AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITES 6Federal Involvement in Special Education Law:How No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Impacts Students with DisabilitiesShannon J. EiversConcordia UniversityOctober 9, 2014Federal Involvement in Special Education Law:How No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Impacts Students with DisabilitiesFederal and local laws have only focused on special education since 1966. Beginning in the 1950s, people began to pressure the federal government to develop programs and practices for children with economic disadvantages and disabilities. Eventually these issues took hold and in 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) into effect. This was the first major piece of legislation that addressed inequality of students, specifically those from low income families.The main focus of this early legislation is the widespread realization that special attention and resources were needed for students with disabilities. The earliest legislation recognized this need by setting aside funds for the sole purpose of special needs students. These early policies have been replaced by more elaborate and detailed legislation regarding the specific needs of special education students.The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is the latest version of the ESEA. While the NCLB is more elaborate and focused than its predecessor, both pieces of legislation have the same goal; to provide an academic atmosphere where every child has the opportunity to succeed, and to aid disadvantaged students by means of Title 1 funding. While neither of these policies was designed explicitly for the benefit of special needs students, they both had an enormous impact on special education programs, resources and opportunities.NCLB is based on four principles of educational reform:Stronger accountability for results;Increased flexibility and local control;Expanded options for parents;An emphasis on teaching qualifications and methods.Some of the specific provisions in NCLB work squarely against the goals of special education and the mandates given in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its reauthorization (2004), even though the reauthorized IDEA incorporated much of NCLB. These provisions have many negative consequences "including marginalizing the students it intends to help" (Allbritten, Mainzer, and Ziegler, 2004, p. 75).NCLB has had some positive effects on special education, not least of which is the enormous attention that general education teachers and administrators now give to the lowest achieving students in the schools. Never before has the federal government clearly required schools to become accountable for the performance of students with disabilities. Yet there are many consequences of the law, some of which work directly counter to these positive developments. Specific provisions in NCLB make special education students the most problematic for...

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