A few days ago marked 35 years since the federal special education statute, now known as IDEA, was signed into law. It is hard to believe that within my lifetime, and probably yours, it was legally permissible to exclude children with disabilities from our public schools entirely.
Think about that for a minute.
A little over a generation ago, students with disabilities had no legal entitlement to an education at all, let alone a Free and Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”), as we have come to know special education designed to meet a child’s unique needs.
We have come a long way since then. And yet, we still have so far to go.