History of Special Education
Special education has faced many changes during the last century. During this time there have been many opinions on the way students with differences should be taught and treated. This paper will discuss the history of special education during the twentieth century. We will also discuss the laws associated with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Finally we will discuss the current and future challenges that the laws have on special education.
History of Special Education
For most of our nation's history, children with special needs or disabilities were shunted aside. In spite of mandated education laws that had been in place since 1918, many students were denied education and forced to learn at home or be institutionalized. For the few mild or moderate disabilities students who were allowed to enroll in special programs in public school, they were often placed in classrooms separated from other students and denied a proper education. William (2008), points out, “Rarely was there anything 'special' about these programs. American society largely continued to view many people with disabilities as being crippled, feeble-minded, mentally defective, or diseased, under a medical model of disability.” These views and ideas often led many students with disabilities to drop out before graduating from high school.One of the first movements of special education in the United States started after World War ll, when several parents organized advocacy groups surfaced in the states. The American Association on Mental Deficiency was one of the first groups to form and held its first conference in 1947 to address the needs of Special Education in the U.S.Several landmark cases also had a huge influence on the history of special education. One well-known case was the Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.This case “extended equal protection under the law to minorities, and paved the way for similar gains for those with disabilities” (Pardini, 2002). Parents and supporters of students with disabilities were able to use this case to improve educational opportunities for their children, and “established the right of all children to an equal opportunity for an education” (Heward., 2009, p. 26). Individuals With Disabilities Education ActIn 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA), which is also known as Public Law 94-142, was passed by Congress and has been reauthorized and amended by Congress five times since it passed. In 1900, congress changed the name from Education of All Handicapped Children Act, and enacted The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act instead. This law was later reauthorized in 1997 and named Public Law 105-17, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA), was passed into a federal special education law, with final federal regulations being published in March 1999, and retained all of the earlier versions of Public Law 94-142. In 2004 this...