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Schools And Society

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Autor:  anton  06 December 2010
Tags:  Schools,  Society
Words: 1498   |   Pages: 6
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Government Provided Rights to Individuals with Disabilities

Over the years the Government has provided numerous rights to individuals with disabilities. These rights only came about from the combined efforts of parents and professionals. These years have brought about many improvements.

Public Law (PL) 94-142 is the starting point of legislation for special education. PL 94-142 consists of six major components. These components are FAPE (free appropriate public education), LRE (least restrictive environment), IEP (individualized education program), procedural due process, nondiscriminatory assessment and parental participation. (FAPE), A free appropriate public education states that regardless of severity of disabilities, a child must be provided with an education in line with their disability with no cost. Other services can also be included in this education if needed. (LRE), The least restrictive environment states that children with disabilities must be educated to the greatest extent possible with students who have no disabilities. The environment must be in line with the student’s needs. (IEP), An individualized education program is a plan written by professionals and parents for the student with disabilities. The IEP must state the present level of education, yearly goals and objectives for the year, educational services, to what extent the student can participate in general education, any plans for service and their length, and evaluation every year to determine if the student’s goals have been met. Procedural due process gives parents several rights pertaining to their child’s education. These rights are confidently, examination of records, obtaining an independent evaluation, written notification changes proposed to their child’s educational classification or placement, the right to an impartial hearing whenever there are disagreements regarding their child’s educational plans and representation by legal counsel. Nondiscriminatory assessment is the assessment of a child prior to placement. Students must receive several types of assessments by trained personnel that are free of bias from race, culture or language. Parental participation requires parent involvement in the decision making process that affects their child’s education. (Gargiulo, R., 2006, p. 50–51). Public Law (PL) 94-142 consists of these six components.

Public Law 99-457 is the 1986 amendments to PL 94-142. They are not actually amendments but additions to PL 94-142. The components of this law affect preschoolers with special needs. It states that preschoolers do not have to be labeled with a specific disability. It does require that the students age 3 to 5 receive a free public education appropriate to their disability. If a school district fails to comply they could lose federal funding. The student must receive a multidisciplinary assessment conducted by professionals. The student must also have a written IFSP, individualized family service plan. It has a review period of six months to decide if it is still the right course of action. This IFSP must be developed within 45 days from the initial referral date. (Gargiulo, R., 2006, p. 52-53).

Public Law 101-476 is the 1990 amendments to PL 94-142. This was the year it was renamed IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Congress recognized that teenagers with disabilities must be prepared for life after public school. Therefore requiring students to have an ITP (individual transition plan), as part of their IEP. The ITP coordinates activities and links to help the student transition to post school activities such as independent living, job training, and/or additional schooling. PL 101-476 helped provide additional services such as social work and rehabilitation counseling. Autism and brain injuries were also added as distinct disability categories. Another component states that individual states no longer have immunity for violating IDEA. (Gargiulo, R., 2006, p. 53).

Public Law 105-17 is the 1997 amendments to IDEA. These amendments were revisions to several components from funding to discipline and including IEP. Students with disabilities who are found with drugs or weapons at school, or threaten another student may be removed from placement only after a hearing and for no more that 45 days. Even if expelled or suspended they must still be provided a free and appropriate education. Students with disabilities who commit a less serious offense may be disciplined similar to students without disabilities. IEP’s will now show the progress and involvement of the student with disabilities in general education. The age of transition planning went from 16 down to 14 and general educators became part of the IEP team. Related service definitions will now include orientation and mobility. School authorities and student’s parents must both agree to compressive reevaluation. States are required to offer mediators to resolve disputes instead of due process hearings. Parents do not have to participate. The category of development delay may now be used at the discretion of local and state educational agency to describe children ages 3 to 9. First evaluations and reevaluations must not be restricted to formal, standardized testing. A variety of test must be used to gather the most accurate information. The results of test, reviews of portfolio, input from parents, teacher observations, and related service providers may be used in determining whether the child has a disability and in the development of an IEP. A new scheme of determining the distribution of federal funds has been set, once the threshold of 4.9 billion is met. Once this level is obtained the state and local school systems will receive funding based on 85 percent of population of student ages 3 to 21 and 15 percent of students ages 3 to 21 that are considered in poverty level. No state will receive less that before this new scheme was started. This reauthorization requires schools to establish more personal performance goals for students with disabilities in order to access academic progress. These students can also be included in the state and district assessment programs or given alternative assessments that meet their needs. (Gargiulo, R., 2006, p. 54-56).

The latest amendment was the HR-1350 Reauthorization, this was a resigning of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act and No Child Left Behind Act. The first goal of the reauthorization was to ensure that all disabled students were granted special education teachers equipped with the skills and training needed to provide the best education possible, the next step was a tutoring program for students with disabilities who need extra help. The final step granted more flexibility and control over the student’s education to parents, teachers, and principals giving control, to the people the student needs most.

All the work that Congress has done comes together to give individuals with disabilities all the opportunity given to other individuals. Prereferral interventation is designed to reduce unnecessary referrals, while still providing individualized assistance. This process is designed to develop creative, alternative instructional and/or management strategies especially for individualized learning needs. The documentation that occurs because of this interventation process provides the information used to start the referral process.

During the assessment process a multi-disciplinary team of professionals is used to complete the necessary profile of the students strengths and needs. One of these professionals must be a teacher. This team is responsible for designing an assessment package for the individual. During the process a multitude of tests must be used.

During the assessment process, there are different types of tests performed such as norm referenced and criterion referenced test. Norm referenced tests consist of standardized tests linked to the child’s performance relative to children the same age. The criterion-referenced test is a type of test used to compare a certain level of mastery such as math grade level. These test help to decide if the child has a disability.

An IEP, individualized education plan, is put in place no later than 30 days following the evaluation and determination of disability but before placement is made. An IEP is a statement containing the current performance level, annual goals and benchmarks needed to fulfill the educational needs of the student, explanation of restriction of general classroom, modification of state or district test if needed, services needed by student and when, how often, and how long services will last, statement containing transition service need, and how program will be measured. All these elements are needed for a successful IEP.

We must provide the individual a continuum of placement possibilities, with the least restrictive environment being ideal. People all think differently so some believe that placement should begin with the most restrictive and work downward while others believe the opposite. First and foremost the child should be placed according to their individual needs. Each student has their own disability and should be placed according to their level of disability.

Our Government has come a long way in providing an individualized education for individuals with disabilities. Parents and teachers have made long strides to make sure that individuals with disabilities are treated fairly. These individuals are also given the same rights and opportunities provided to persons without disabilities. They now have the opportunity to be educated in the least restrictive environment unlike years ago when many individuals with disabilities were institutionalized or kept at home.

Gargiulo, Richard M. (2006). Special Education in Contemporary Society.

(pp. 50-56). Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

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