Special Education's History

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Submitted By dsbj2007
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All children have the right to an education, regardless of disability. However, children with disabilities have not always had that right provided to them. Research and knowledge-based evidence throughout the last century has greatly changed educators’ opinions and positions on special education. A key point that will be discussed in this essay is the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), as well as current and future challenges of special education.
The initial creation and development of our educational system disregarded the needs of children with disabilities. Because of very limited educational options, most disabled children were either educated in their homes or their parents paid for them to attend expensive private schools (The History of Special Education in the United States, 2009). Through parent-formed advocacy groups the educational needs of children with disabilities were brought to the public’s eye in the early part of the 20th Century (The History of Special Education in the United States, 2009). In 1961, President John F. Kennedy awarded federal aid to the States through the creation of the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation (The History of Special Education in the United States, 2009). Shortly thereafter, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (The History of Special Education in the United States, 2009). This act provided funding to schools that enrolled children with disabilities, thus giving disabled children better access to public education (The History of Special Education in the United States, 2009).
In 1975, with the passing of Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), special education was finally given the appropriate attention it deserved. The act was amended five times before its name was changed to the Individuals with…...

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