PARENT WORKSHOP ON SPECIAL EDUCATION LAWS

Parent Workshop on Special Education Laws

By Albert E. Bruno

Capella University, Summer 2012

 

Table of Contents:

Project Outline

Table of Contents

Introduction

Content of Project Presentation

Implementation of Project

Assessment

References

Appendix A (Workshop Handout)

Appendix B (Workshop Assessment)

 

 

Project Outline

Observably, there is so much apathy among parents of adolescents with disabilities, especially inner city high school settings (Ryndak & Downing, 1996). More creative workshops are needed to encourage parental participation in the education for their adolescent children with disabilities. Parent workshops provide great opportunities for parents to meet teachers and administrators and discuss their children’s educational programs (Staples & Diliberto, 2010).One novel approach is the development of a parent workshop presenting the celebrated milestones that have defined and shaped today’s, special education programs in America’s rich yet turbulent history, beginning in 1900.

What will be presented, in lecture style with handouts, is a chronology of 10 landmark acts of federal legislation in education for students with disabilities. These 10 federal laws have spurred the creation of special education programs nationwide from 1918 to 1997, from exclusion to inclusive participation in K – 12 in public school settings. To note, they include the following: Compulsory Education (1918), Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Civil Rights Act (1964), Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), Gifted and Talented Education Assistance Act (1970), Vocational Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 (1973), Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975), Americans with Disabilities Education Act (1990), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990) and IDEA Amendments (1997). These 10 federal laws have and continue to indelibly impact the education of students with disabilities in present and future learning contexts. There will be ample opportunities for questions and discussions.

Parents of adolescents with disabilities are the targeted group of this workshop training. Reflecting on the celebrated milestones that have defined and shaped special education helps to demonstrate to parents the power of parental support and participation in their children’s learning programs. History chronicles how proactive parents worked together and rallied to finally realize a federal law for their children with disabilities: An impossible dream answered because of the hard work that parents invested in planning and organizing their litigious battles for equal education. They (the parents) used the courts strategically and purposefully to force states to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities (Yell, Rodgers, & Rodgers, 1998). The role of parents and their network of connections and associations were the difference-makers, the momentum gainers, and truly made it happen. It is a great historical lesson that parents can feel proud about, and students with disabilities are and continue to be the benefactors, the winners.

Garnering parental support and participation remains the most important consideration in building a winning formula in school communities. This workshop demonstration, in particular, reinforces the great resolve of parents working together as change agents, challenging the sociopolitical barriers and communicating their concerns to education boards and city councils. It is a uniting theme for parents. Specifically, this workshop demonstration is an adult training session in a professional setting and is anchored in relevant research with insights, aligning with specialization outcomes in the Professional Studies in Education Program at Capella University, leading to a M.S. degree. The workshop topic, the chronology of special education laws (1918 to 1997), is researchable, and the needed resources are accessible. It is a uniting theme for parents to revisit. Primary sources such as federal legislation, presidential and government documents, and congressional records will be examined and presented. Secondary sources (i.e. scholarly journals, interpretations, and books on-the-subject) will complement the research effort.

The first objective of this workshop demonstration is to meet with parents of students with disabilities. Meeting the parents is the first step of working together. Parents have so much to offer teachers, and teachers have a lot of questions about their adolescents’ preferences and learning styles. The second objective is the crux of the workshop, learning about the celebrated milestones that have defined and shaped special education programs nationwide. Reflecting on the efforts and achievements of the past can serve as an impetus for future, parental collaborations and successes for adolescents with disabilities. The third objective is to provide valuable information for parents about the procedural rights and specific programs (Whitbread, Fleming, & Park, 2007). Informed parents can be transformed into proactive stakeholders, benefitting their children’s education. Parental participation is crucial to school success; necessarily, it is the glue that bonds students and teachers together in learning contexts.

 

 

Introduction

Observably, there is so much apathy among parents of adolescents with disabilities, especially in urban high school settings (Ryndak & Downing, 1996). More creative workshops are needed to encourage parental participation in the education of their adolescent children with disabilities. Parent workshops provide great opportunities for parents to meet teachers and administrators and discuss their children’s educational programs (Staples & Diliberto, 2010). One novel approach that will be utilized is the development of a parent workshop presenting the celebrated milestones that have defined and shaped today’s, special education programs in America’s rich yet turbulent history, beginning in 1900. This proposed workshop demonstration reinforces the great resolve of parents working together as change agents, challenging the sociopolitical barriers and communicate their concerns to education boards and city councils; in essence, parents organized, mobilized, and legalized a widespread, humanitarian movement for children with disabilities. It is a great historical lesson that parents can feel proud about, and children with disabilities are and continue to the benefactors, the winners in present and future learning contexts.

What will be presented, in lecture style with handouts, is a chronology of 10 landmark acts of federal legislation in education for students with disabilities. The 10 federal laws have spurred the creation of special education programs nationwide from 1918 to 1997, from exclusion to inclusive participation in K – 12 in public school settings. To note, they include the include the following: Compulsory Education Act (1918), Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Civil Rights Act (1964), Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), Gifted and Talented Education Assistance Act (1970), Vocational Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 (1973), Education for All Handicapped Children (1975), Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1990), and IDEA Amendments (1997).These federal laws have and continue to indelibly impact the education of students with disabilities in present and future learning environments.

 

 

Content of Project Presentation:

Social Barriers, Learning, and the History of Special Education Laws (1918 – 1997)

The goal here is the development of a parent workshop presenting the celebrated milestones that have shaped today’s, special education programs in America’s rich yet turbulent history, beginning in 1900. The role of parents and their network of connections and associations were the difference-makers, the momentum gainers, and they (the parents) truly made special education programs happen for their children with disabilities. What follows is a chronology of special education laws (1918 – 1997), and the social barriers and learning issues encountered in the movement to be included in public school programs.

Over 100 years ago in the early 1900s, students with disabilities were excluded from school participation. They were shunned and discriminated against, and they were viewed as “unteachable”

(Winzer, 1993); those social barriers isolated students with disabilities at home with parents as their primary caretakers. However, the severely disabled were institutionalized, often living in deplorable conditions. Affording the high cost of private schools was usually out of the question for these students and their families.

In 1910, national attention was focused on the first White House Conference on Children. One goal of this conference was to establish remedial programs for children with disabilities. According to Yell, Rogers, and Rodgers (1998), an appropriate education for children was discussed and defined for the first time:

As the children were moved from institutions to public schools, permanent segregated classes were formed in public schools to meet their needs, resulting in a change from isolation to segregation. Educators believed that the segregated classes were beneficial to the children because small class size would allow more individualized instruction; homogenous grouping would facilitate teaching, and the less competitive nature of these classes would do much for the self-esteem of the children (p. 221). The term “special classes” was agreed upon; progress was being made, but it was very slow: Only a small percentage of children with disabilities were moved to public schools as a result.

After World War I, there was an educational awakening and pride was permeating across The United States of America and in 1918, compulsory attendance became mandatory, outlawing children from working full-time in factories. Known as the Compulsory Education Act (1918) throughout America, it required students (K-12) to regularly attend schools; but in most cases, children with disabilities were excluded from school participation. Institutionalization and exclusion of children with disabilities were being questioned by parents. These parents were consumed with concern for their children’s futures: They (the parents) organized and mobilized, asking and hoping to have their children included into local public schools. After all, they argued for good reasons, they were American citizens and paid local and state taxes like others .The education movement for children with disabilities was taking its formative shape. Progress would be slow, but parents of children with disabilities would not relent, continuing to persevere and fight against the oppressive, social barriers of exclusion and separation.

In 1934, the Cuyahoga Court of Appeals in Ohio, ruled that the state statute mandating compulsory attendance for children, six through 18 years of age, gave the department of education the authority to exclude children with disabilities. According to Yell, Rogers, and Rodgers (1998), this was a commonplace practice, writing:

This type of ruling indicates the internal contradiction frequently presented in legal rulings on students with disabilities of the time. The court stated that the students have a right to attend, noting the importance of education as evidenced by the compulsory education and the inclusionary provisions, but did not rule to resolve this conflict. States continued to enact statutes that specifically authorized school officials to exclude students with disabilities (p. 220).

The compulsory education laws, at the very least politically, forced states and school officials to rethink their positions on educating children with disabilities. Unfortunately for children with disabilities, states and school officials ran-for-cover and did the easy and convenient thing: They followed suit and perpetuated the unfair, existing practice of excluding children with disabilities from school programs. According to Russo, Morse, and Glancy (1998), both children and adults with disabilities of the time were subjected to unequal treatment, resulting in intentional or unintentional discrimination; they write:

Historically, it was more convenient to remove the disabled from the social mainstream than it was to integrate them in public schools or to provide them with jobs or training. An attitude of neglect toward the disabled permeated the federal, state, and local governments, which systematically segregated or excluded persons with disabilities (p. 8).

The Compulsory Education Act (1918) did little for securing an education for children with disabilities; as a result, what it did do positively, though, is serve formal notice to states and school officials that public schools at the time needed to somehow accommodate the ever-increasing, learning needs of children with disabilities. Within the next 60 years, special education programming would become an unthinkable reality come true for children with disabilities via the penetrating powers and fruits of the civil rights movement in America.

After the Compulsory Education Act (1918) was passed, advocates for children with disabilities kept organizing their efforts and kept gaining momentum to empower disabled children. The humanitarian concern to provide an education for children with disabilities continued to grow rapidly in America. By 1946, an important shift in education was underway: The increasing demand to recognize the dignity and the needs of children with disabilities. Simultaneously pressing the national agenda, the issue of racial segregation or the separation of children in public schools had taken center stage in America because most educational leaders viewed racial segregation as wrongful and in need of urgent reform.

Welcomed reform came in the form of legislation with the enactment of Brown v. Board of Education (1954). It ruled against racial segregation in public schools, outlawing the practice of the “separate-but-equal” doctrine. Central to this landmark case was the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law found in the 14th Amendment. This ruling was arguably the greatest victory for minority rights in education, law, and society. Poignantly and for posterity, Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren wrote:

In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right that must be made available on equal terms (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, p. 493).

Many advocates for children with disabilities believed that Brown, containing Chief Justice Warren’s spirited statement on the right of an education for all, was equally applicable to those denied an opportunity to obtain an education because of a disability. Relevantly, Martin (1998) explained the vast importance of Brown (1954):

The Brown decision has contributed to battles and movements on behalf of the marginalized, including the peoples of color, women, gays and lesbians, and the disabled. Likewise, the decision has profoundly influenced the evolution of ‘rights consciousness’ with American society – that is, ‘judicial activism’ on behalf of human rights, notably the rights of the oppressed groups and individuals (p. 34).

In an accurate portrayal of describing the lasting legacy of Brown (1954) on American society, Martin (1998) writes:

Brown (1954) tapped deeply into the fundamental national sense of the United States as a community of shared beliefs and values. It embodies the best of our hopes and ideals. It resonates with our best selves and our highest and most honorable callings. It springs from our bedrock national commitment to freedom, justice, and equality. In a sense, Brown is a metaphor for the American dream (p. 235).

Paralleling the larger issue of desegregation in public schools, the disabilities movement was officially born and charging forward with a fury because of the widespread, policing effects of Brown (1954) on American society.

However, some modern-day scholars claim that Brown (1954) has fallen short in its promise to children with disabilities, in particular. That commentary is cited periodically. Poignantly, LaNear and Frattura (2007) write about allowing different voices to tell an effective history of special education law in the United States. LaNear and Frattura (2007) write:

Despite the apparent guarantees inherent in the Brown Court’s rationale, a unitary, integrated system of public education – in racial terms – still eludes us 50 years later…Schools consistently continue to envision and serve students in separate – if not equal – groups or categories. Unfortunately, this practice is encouraged, even rewarded, by federal statutes that purposefully and specifically create these groups (e.g. special education vs. general education) – and categories (e.g. autism, learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, and traumatic brain injury (p. 94).

Observably, LaNear and Frattura (2007) make some valid points about separating children with disabilities and creating groups and categories. These categorizations are perplexing in determining an appropriate education for children with disabilities. Given unresolved programmatic issues, the merits of Brown (1954) far outweigh any negatives or difficulties presently experienced in serving children with disabilities. Imagining a scenario without the merits of Brown (1954) is certainly unsettling to most. The equal protection clause for all in Brown (1954) is deeply embedded into federal law and will last into perpetuity.

Civil Rights Act (1964)

Certainly, Brown v. Board of Education (1954) helped pave the way for future federal legislation to mandate the education of students with disabilities. Most legal experts agree that Brown is the greatest, single piece of federal legislation in education law, ever, and they are right on-the-mark. After achieving Brown in such a resounding way, advocates for minority rights and the disabled fully recognized that the courts were the gateways to achieving monumental successes for minority rights; by the early 1960s, human and minority rights became synonymous terms in the American sociopolitical and legal frontiers, and the disabled, too, were now considered a special minority and a significant part of the civil rights (CR) movement.

The early 1960s saw civil rights grow as a national, humanitarian movement, permeating all segments of society. Observably, the CR movement gained immeasurable support with the tremendous work of Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy, and his brother, US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. In particular, as a result of lobbying groups and his own personal experiences with the mental retardation of his younger sister, Rosemary, President Kennedy formed the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation to study ways to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities. In that report, President Kennedy compassionately stated:

We as a nation have long neglected the mentally ill and the mentally retarded. This neglect must end, if our nation is to live up to its own standards of compassion and dignity and achieve the maximum of its manpower. The tradition of neglect must be replaced by forceful and far-reaching programs carried out at all levels of government, by private individuals and by state and local agencies in every part of the union (Kennedy, 1963, p. 13).

Although President Kennedy helped lay the necessary groundwork before being assassinated, it was Kennedy’s successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson, which would actually sign the CR Act (1964) into law with Robert Kennedy at his side. The CR Act (1964) would be remembered as an accomplishment of Johnson’s Great Society; however, Kennedy’s New Frontier, it should be noted, put the landmark legislation into motion. Essentially, this law outlawed discrimination based on race, color, creed, sex, or age in schools, employment, and public facilities. Although the CR Act (1964) was broad-based in its protections, students with disabilities won, too, in strengthening their case to be included and accommodated in public education programs. As in Brown (1954), the disabilities/special education movement gained considerable ground by “piggy-backing” the main agendas of the legislative mandates – that was a great strategy that paid big dividends and benefits for students with disabilities. As a result, the special education movement was now strongly recognized and partnering with human and minority projects nationwide in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965)

Many have called the 20-year span from 1955 – 1975 as America’s golden age of federal legislation in education. Governmental influence was never more apparent in federal legislation and in the courts, starting with the impacting Brown (1954) decision. Just one year after the CR Act (1964) was signed and made into law; broad-based education advocates on the national level pushed for and achieved the sponsorship of a federal, K-12 education program. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty in America. President Johnson urged Congress to reform schools (K-12) nationwide, and Congress finally delivered. Upon signing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, 1965), President Johnson lamented the long and arduous reform process, writing:

For too long, children suffered while jarring interests caused stalemate in the efforts to improve our schools. Since 1946, Congress has tried repeatedly, and failed repeatedly, to enact measures for elementary and secondary education (Johnson, 1965).

The ESEA (1965) contained major provisions for improving educational programs for children from low-income families. Spring (2010) explains: “One interesting result of federal support of education under the ESEA was the increased power this gave to state departments of education in relations to local school districts” (p. 375). Specifically, the ESEA (1965) was unique in its funding design because it set a new funding formula, subsidizing specific populations in public and secondary schools, and students with disabilities were brought to the forefront and benefited in its push to be recognized; it was a first for them.

Relevantly, Martin, Martin, and Terman (1996) explain the noteworthy significance of ESEA for students with disabilities; they write:

While the original ESEA did not provide for direct grants on behalf of children with disabilities, in the second year of that Congress, Public Law 89-313 provided that children in state-operated or state-sponsored schools for the handicapped could be counted for entitlement purposes…Congress in 1966 mandated a Bureau for the Education of the Handicapped (BEH) under the Title VI of states to initiate, expand, or improve programs for educating children with disabilities. This program, popularly known as Title VI, had a legislative title that made it the first education of the handicapped act (p. 27).

ESEA (1965) was a huge success for parents and advocacy groups for children with disabilities. The special education movement was officially born and (federally) on-the-books. It was a great moment in the legislative history of special education. Determined to achieve more, parents felt these children deserved more, and they got it according to Martin, Martin, and Terman (1996); they write:

Disappointed in their efforts to increase federal grants for special education, advocates pursued a strategy earmarking a portion of general education programs. Fifteen percent of the ESEA’s Title III (which funded innovative and exemplar local programs) was set aside in 1970 for programs and projects serving children with disabilities (p. 27).

With ESEA’s adoption and its subsequent amendments in 1966 and 1970 energized, mobilized, and legalized the special education movement. As a result, the special education movement had made a quantum leap in its legitimate development and officialdom in federal law. Hence, after countless, strenuously-commendable efforts, the special education movement was now recognized and on-the-move and gaining momentum. More legislative successes would be garnered in monumental ways in the 1970s for children with disabilities.

Gifted and Talented Education Assistance Act (1970)

In 1970 as an amendment to ESEA (1965), the federal government enacted the Gifted and Talented Education Assistance Act (GTEA, 1970). The GTEA (1970) authorized federal support for gifted, talented, and learning disabled children and youth; it became known as Public Law 91-230. It, too, was another, major piece of legislation protecting the educational rights of a new and different kind of special education student: the gifted and talented. This broadened the definition of children with disabilities.

Programs for the gifted and talented were first implemented in the late 1950s, dismissed in the 1960s, and resumed again in the early 1970s with the enactment of Public Law 91-230. Naturally, it would seem, disputes continuously arose about what criteria was to be used to determine whether a student could be identified as a gifted and talented student, providing him/her with eligibility for special education services. In 1978, the U.S. Department of Education adopted this definition of a gifted and talented student:

Gifted and talented means children, and whenever applicable, youth, who are identified at the preschool, elementary, or secondary level as processing demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, specific academic, or leadership ability, or in the performing and visual arts, and who by reason thereof require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school (Congressional Record, 1978, p. 12179).

The federal definition helped resolve what qualifies a student for consideration as gifted and talented; however, in years after that, most states developed their own definitions and criteria for acceptance. By 1970, by way of two amendments in 1966 and 1970, not only was special education on-the-books, but remarkably, the definition of special education was widened to include and justifiably accommodate students identified as gifted, talented, and learning disabled. All this happened in just four years, 1966-1970, as the special education movement continued to mushroom in national importance. For parents and advocacy groups for children with disabilities, the journey was far from over because they believed there was much more to accomplish. They were right, and they were resilient; recognizably, the special education movement was hot and had hit its stride

Vocational Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 (1973)

With momentum gaining, advocates for children with disabilities kept pushing for educational rights and programming in public schools. Noteworthy to cite, in 1971, the Pennsylvania Citizens for

Retarded Citizens (PARC) filed a class action suit against the state of Pennsylvania for excluding children with mental retardation from public school programming. The suit ruled in favor of PARC, forcing Pennsylvania Public Schools to provide a free, public education to children with mental retardation between the ages of six and 21. The next year, in 1972, a class action suit was filed in federal court against the District of Columbia’s Board of Education by parents of all out-of-school children with disabilities; the suit became known as Mills v. Board of Education (1972). The parents won again, ordering the District of Columbia’s Board of Education to provide children with disabilities a public-supported education. To note, in these high-powered precedents, affirming the importance of Brown (1954) was a significant part of the winning formula, and the equal protection clause was emphasized as a defense. PARC (1971) and Mills (1972), eliminated any doubts that special education programming was now a reality and mandated in public schools throughout America. Advocates believed more in the courts needed to be accomplished for students with disabilities.

Even with PARC (1971) and Mills (1972) decisions as legal ammunition, public organizations and schools kept ignoring and defying the rulings, practicing exclusionary and discriminatory practices toward children and adults with disabilities. The ones that ignored the ESEA Amendments of 1966 and 1970 and the PARC (1971) and Mills (1972) rulings were few in number but still too many for parents and advocates to continue to tolerate. A year after Mills (1972), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was signed into by President Richard M. Nixon to outlaw discrimination against a person with disabilities by any agency receiving federal funds. According to Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Section 504 (1973) was a timely, much-needed law for students and adults with disabilities; he wrote:

Section 504 is the civil rights declaration of the handicapped. It was greeted with great hope and satisfaction by Americans who have had the distress of physical and mental handicaps compounded by thoughtless or callous discrimination. These Americans have identified Section 504 with access to vital public services, such as education…they consider to be it their charter…it is a key too, and a symbol of, their entry as full participants in the mainstream of national life (Congressional Record, April 26, 1977, p. 12216).

The enactment of Section 504 (1973) to many signaled an official, watershed response to the non-complying mavericks out there in governmental/educational agencies challenging the participatory rights of children and adults with disabilities; many saw it as an extension of the Civil Rights Act (1964), but now, children and adults with disabilities had their own, distinct law to help extinguish continued discrimination toward them.

In addition, Section 504 (1973) required agencies that receive federal funds to make physical modifications and accommodations for persons with disabilities. Specifically, this meant that these agencies had to provide adaptive equipment and even make redesigns to accommodate and integrate persons with disabilities in the compelling case for wheelchair accessibility, for example. The passage of Section 504 forced agencies receiving federal funds to construct ramps and elevators; halls had to be widened, and public bathrooms had to be redesigned and accessible for persons with disabilities. Observably, Section 504 (1973) had done plenty officially to police and ensures participation of children and adults with disabilities in federally-funded programs, but to parents and advocacy groups, the conquest was still incomplete because children and adults with disabilities had not achieved the pinnacle: an education law named as their own. It would not be long before their wish would be realized in an enormous way for children and adults with disabilities and for posterity

Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975)

The parents and advocacy groups had accomplished so much in 19 years, starting with Brown (1954) and culminating with Section 504 (1973). That was very good for the disabilities movement, but they were not satisfied and the mission was still incomplete – they were determined to reach the pinnacle, achieving an education law for children with disabilities. It would bring a rightful finality to a long, arduous journey.

Then, two years later, the dream would become reality with the signing of the Education for All Handicapped Act (EAHCA or EHA, 1975) into law by President Gerald Ford on November 29, 1975. Passionately, the author of the EHA (1975), Senator Harrison Williams affirmed:

The failure to provide an education which meets the needs of a single handicapped child, or refusal to recognize the handicapped child’s right to grow – is a travesty of justice and a denial of equal protection under the law (Congressional Record, 1974, p. 15272.).

The EHA (1975) required that identified students with disabilities now had to the right to five, key procedures in determining their placement; they included the following: 1) nondiscriminatory testing, evaluation, and placement procedures, 2) educating in the least restrictive environment, 3) due process, 4) a free education, and 5) an appropriate education delineated in an individual education plan (IEP).

These new procedures put in place for students with disabilities were unprecedented and remarkable achievements, considering the treacherous and unjust history of the special education and disabilities movement. EHA (1975), for the first time, ensured a free and appropriate education blueprinted in the child’s IEP. Relevantly, Yell, Rogers, and Rogers (1998) expound on the robust significance of the EHA (1975):

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) was the centerpiece of the EAHCA. The goals and objectives of the student’s program as well as the educational placement, the length of the school year, and evaluation and measurement criteria are developed in the IEP process are contained in the document. An IEP must be developed for each student in special education. The EAHCA both delineated the educational rights of student with disabilities and provided the promise of federal funding to the states. Funding would flow from the federal government to the state educational agencies (SEAs) and finally the local educational agencies (LEAs). Local districts had to have programs meeting the state requirements. Federal funding was to supplement state and local dollars and could not be used to supplant these funds. Additionally, 75% of the federal funds were to flow through the state to the local school districts (p. 226).

The EHA (1975), that is the education law for student with disabilities, had finally arrived. Specifically, to many, the EHA (1975) came too late and was long overdue. What comes to mind and is often stated: “Better late than never.” A free and appropriate education, by means of the IEP process, was now a staple in the American, educational frontier for all-time; almost equally as important, EHA (1975) spurred federal funding to states to allocate to local governments to ensure inclusion and accommodation of all students with disabilities.

For parents and advocacy groups, it was a time for rejoicing and reflecting on a monumental, legislative and legal achievement for children with disabilities; clearly, they undisputedly earned it the hard way, and that has been chronicled. The pinnacle was reached at last; nevertheless, the mission that was once thought to impossible was miraculously transformed and realized into federal law. As a result, the educational opportunities soon became unlimited for children with disabilities, and the mission was now complete. Attention all parents, advocates, and advocacy groups working/lobbying resiliently for children with disabilities during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s: For posterity, they (the parents) had earned it and much, much more.

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

With resounding effect and for posterity, President George H. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law on July 26, 1990, by affirming: “I now lift my pen to sign the Americans with Disabilities Act and say: Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down” (1990, p. 1165). The purpose of the ADA (1990) was to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities based on their disability. Specifically, the ADA (1990) primarily focuses on prohibiting discrimination in employment and in public housing and transportation issues.

Relevantly, Yell (1998) cites that Congress reported that by 1990, 43 million Americans were identified with physical or mental disabilities. With all the great advances, exclusionary and discriminatory treatment still blocked children and adults with disabilities from fully integrating themselves into society; Yell (1998) explains:

Congress found that discrimination against persons with disabilities persisted in employment, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, institutionalization, health services, voting, and access to public services. Congressional findings also indicated that individuals with disabilities who had experienced discrimination based on disability had little or no recourse to redress such discrimination. Furthermore, this discrimination denied persons with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis, and severely disadvantaged them socially, vocationally, economically, and educationally (p. 129).

Given all the documented exclusionary and discriminatory treatment, America was ready for an all-purpose, all-inclusive ADA (1990) to unite and legally entrench the special education/disabilities movement into America’s consciousness for all-time. Yell (1998) expounds on the significance of ADA (1990) in modern-day America:

The ADA extends the civil rights and anti-discrimination protections of Section 504 from the federal government, its contractors, and recipients of federal funds to employers, state and local governments or any instrumentality of the government, and any privately owned business or facility open to the public. The primary goal of the law, therefore, is that persons with disabilities will enjoy equal opportunity to fully participate in the life of the community and have an equal opportunity to live independently and enjoy economic self-sufficiency through the removal of the barriers that exclude them from the mainstream of American life (1998, p. 129).

Many legal experts see the ADA (1990) as an extension of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973). Explicitly, the ADA (1990) was wider in scope than Section 504 (1973) and more broadly inclusive in design and intent. For example, Section 504 (1973) specifically prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in governmental/educational agencies receiving federal funds; inclusively though, the ADA (1990) builds off Section 504 (1973) by connecting and extending these services against discrimination in the private sector as well. The ADA (1990) had broad applicability and is the final linchpin in the anti-discrimination of persons with disabilities campaign in America. The mavericks that kept exclusion and discriminatory practices alive for years were hopefully silenced forever.

As great and inclusive as its design would lead one to believe, the ADA (1990), however in practical terms, provided little extra than did Section 504 (1973) for the education of children with disabilities. Observably, the ADA (1990) has confused educators still about how to apply it correctly and appropriately these days. Relevantly, Yell (1998) explains the effect of ADA (1990) on educating children with disabilities:

Areas of public education that are affected include employment, general nondiscrimination (which parallels the requirements of Section 504), communications, and program accessibility. Additionally, administrators, counselors, and teachers working with students with disabilities need to become aware of the content of the ADA, because of the law’s implications for the lives of the students they serve. When students with disabilities leave school and enter the workforce, they will need to engage in self-advocacy. A duty of educators is the responsibility to inform students with disabilities (and their parents) of their rights contained in the ADA (p. 143).

As is plain to see, ADA (1990) basically reauthorized Section 504 (1973) and added employment protection in education; however, improved curricular programming for children with disabilities was not addressed. Enormously, ADA (1990) impact was felt and realized on grand scale by America’s moral commitment to finally engrave a namesake law all persons with disabilities, impacting and changing the face of America.

In a visual sense, the ADA (1990) represents the top tier of the anti-discrimination movement. By itself, the ADA (1990) has done nothing monumental in education, unlike its legal precedents that have significantly advanced the special education movement. As a result, what ADA (1990) has done in American society is reaffirm the important protections of the CR Act (1964) and Section 504 (1973) and make all the education laws for children with disabilities ironclad in strength.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990)

The amendments to the EHA (1975) in 1990 were renamed and reauthorized as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1990). The EHA (1975), known as Public Law 94-142, remains the landmark law for education of children with disabilities, but by 1990, changes in the law were necessarily imminent, and the IDEA (1990) was adopted.

There were three, major changes included in IDEA (1990). The first change, that is the changing of the term, handicapped student to child/student with disabilities, was merely a change in language; it was a legal attempt to achieve political correctness for the betterment of children with disabilities by focusing on the child/student first before disability. The second change, which is students with autism and traumatic brain injury, were identified as a distinct class entitled to the law’s benefits, responding to the increasing number of these students. The adoption of IDEA (1990) now programmatically served students with autism and brain injury: This was a sharp break with the past when these students were excluded from participation. The gap in services was recognized, and their inclusion in the new law was welcomed and applauded by all.

The third change, that is a transitional plan, was required to specifically outline post-secondary outcomes in every student’s IEP age 16 or older; it was a tremendous victory for an ever-increasing number of aging-out students with disabilities that were graduating and exiting public school programs.

Alarmingly, in our recent history, students with disabilities were often left with no educational and vocational choices after high school; typically and in effect, this meant that students with disabilities remained isolated, creating family strife about the dismal uncertainties presented to them. It was woeful neglect, maybe unintentional at that time for the most part, but nevertheless, it was neglectful and hurtful to transitioning students with disabilities. Their plight was saved with IDEA (1990), and the problem of transitional planning was seemingly remedied.

The transitional planning established a growing number of successful vocational programs for students with disabilities. Vocational training for students with disabilities works well because students are trained in schools and then placed in community work settings, often with the assistance of job coaches and teachers. Vocational educational and transitional services for students with disabilities are provided for in the individual education plan (IEP), outlining goals and objectives for successful transitioning to postsecondary environments in work, school, or training. Specifically, IDEA (1990) ensured by law that students must have an individual transition plan (ITP) to accompany the IEP. The implementation of functional and vocational assessments should be made a staple in transitional planning for students with disabilities and research findings support the effectiveness of these assessments (Levinson, 1994). Observably, students with disabilities meet success in vocational placements in trades like mechanical repair, building trades, culinary arts, and plumbing. In order to maximize success in vocational programs, students are now placed in a variety of training placements, providing hands-on experiences at different jobs. Support from teacher personnel is critical to success, identifying job skills and creating relevant, task analyses. IDEA (1990), by its design, answered the parental concerns for vocational and postsecondary training for students with disabilities that are transitioning and/or graduating from high school programs.

In spite of accommodating changes for parents, IDEA (1990) still had its detractors and parent critics out there raising havoc from time-to-time. Relevantly, Martin Martin, and Terman (1996) explain:

The IDEA provides many procedural protections for the parents of children with disabilities. These include notice to parents of proposed actions, attendance at meetings concerning the child’s placement or IEP, and the right to appeal school decisions to an impartial hearing officer. Although the IDEA provides these protections, some parents and advocates feel that schools frequently flaunt the law… Some see the IDEA’s elaborate set of procedural protections as encouraging adversarial relationships between parents and schools. This is particularly true since Congress in 1996 amended the IDEA to allow courts to order schools to reimburse parents for their legal fees. Congress reasoned, after hearing testimony, that parents could not afford in many instances to challenge the school systems’ greater resources and so provided the legal fee remedy (p. 34).

Most of the parental concerns focus on the placement of a child with disabilities. Conflicts occur on whether the child should remain in a regular education classroom or not. Martin, Martin, and Reed (1996) explain the modification of the regular education classroom in detail; they write:

The IDEA requires the school to consider modifications in the regular classroom before moving the child to a more restrictive placement. This means that regular education teachers sometimes need specialized training to deal with a child’s special needs. The IDEA requires state educational agencies to develop plans for personnel development, requires school districts to provide such training, and does not allow the district to plead lack of qualified staff as a justification for removing a child from the regular classroom (p. 35).

In response, most school districts took a proactive approach by training and sensitizing regular education personnel to the specific, educational needs of students with disabilities. These training or staff development sessions were collaborative efforts with special education staff to create a bonding, team effort between the regular and special education departments; it makes sense, and it usually works internally and for the betterment of children with disabilities.

IDEA (1990) was more than a reauthorization of the EHA (1975) as some believed at the time of its adoption. Rather, IDEA (1990) modernized the EHA (1975) into a more responsive and more accessible process for parents of children with disabilities. As time moved ahead in the 1990s, parents and advocacy groups still clamored for more opportunities to be heard to redress their concerns. As we have experienced, their concerns would be heard by more explicit means with the enactment of the IDEA Amendments (1997).

IDEA Amendments (1997)

With parents and advocates clamoring for more input into procedure and placement for their children, the IDEA Amendments (1997) were ideologically formulated to respond to the growing, parental concerns and to simultaneously improve the educational achievement of students with disabilities. On June 4, 1997, President Bill Clinton signed the IDEA Amendments (1997), specifically Public Law 105-17, into law. For understanding and for posterity, President Clinton remarked:

Since the passage of the IDEA, 90% fewer developmentally disabled children are living in institutions – hundreds of thousands of children with disabilities attend public schools and regular classrooms; three times as many disabled young people are enrolled in colleges and universities; twice as many young Americans with disabilities in their twenties are in the American workplace…We have to continue to push these trends, to do everything we can to encourage our children with disabilities…To the millions of families (with children with disabilities)…we are saying, we are proud of you for your devotion to your children, for your belief in them, for your love for them, and we are going to do everything we can do to help you succeed in preparing them. To the teachers and administrators who make the difference, we are saying, we are depending on you and we are going to do what we can to support you…To the American people, we are saying that we do not intend to rest until we have conquered the ignorance and prejudice against disabilities that disable us all” (Clinton, 1997, p. 24).

The IDEA Amendments (1997) reconstructed the IEP design, stating short-term objectives for assessing a student’s progress; specifically though, the IDEA Amendments (1997) would enable parents and educators to accurately determine a student’s progress and be specified in the IEP. Relevantly, according to Yell, Rogers, and Rogers (1998), parental concerns were addressed in the IDEA Amendments (1997) like never before; they write:

Congress also attempted to alleviate what was believed to be the overly adversarial nature of special education by encouraging parents and educators to resolve differences by using nonadversarial methods (IDEA Amendments of 1997). Specifically, the 1997 amendments require states to offer mediation as a voluntary option to parents and educators as an initial process for dispute resolution (p. 226).

Parental access and participation were strengthened because parents could now accurately view their child’s progress, discuss changes, and enter into mediation, if needed. The IDEA Amendments (1997) succeeded in reaching and involving the parents.

A significant addition to the IDEA Amendments (1997) was a section affecting the disciplining of students with disabilities. Congress heard testimony regarding the differences associated with disciplining students with and students without disabilities, violating the same school rules. To help remedy these concerns, according to Yell, Rogers, and Rogers (1998), Congress added a much debated section; they write in detail:

The 1997 amendments required that if a student with disabilities has behavior problems (regardless of the student’s disability category), the IEP team shall consider strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports, to address these problems. In such situations, a proactive behavior management plan, based on a functional behavioral assessment, should be included in the student’s IEP. School officials may discipline students with disabilities in the same manner as they discipline students without disabilities with few notable exceptions. If necessary, school officials may unilaterally change the placement of a student for disciplinary purposes to an appropriate interim alternative setting, another setting, or they may suspend the student to the extent that these disciplinary methods are used with students who are not disabled (p. 226).

Observably, the IDEA Amendments (1997) have created an unhealthy split in disciplinary thinking, and the gap is widening. Poignantly and controversially still, Yell, Rogers, and Rogers (1998) expound on the differences in disciplining students with disabilities; they write:

The primary difference is that students who are disabled, the suspension or placement change may not exceed 10 school days. School officials may unilaterally place a student with disabilities in an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for up to 45 days if the student brings a weapon to school or a school function or knowingly possesses, uses, or sells illegal drugs at school or a school function. The alternative educational setting must be determined by the IEP team. Additionally, a hearing officer can order a 45-day change in placement if school officials have evidence indicating that maintaining the student with disabilities in the current placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others and that school officials have made reasonable efforts to minimize this risk of harm (p. 226).

The IDEA Amendments (1997) did not accomplish much in achieving its purpose of clarifying disciplinary procedures for students with disabilities; ironically, it spurred more questions and concerns about what are equitable consequences for disruptive, violent, and criminal behaviors exhibited by students with disabilities.

Critically speaking, the IDEA Amendments (1997), that is the disciplining section of the act, falls short in practice; its conceptual framework may contain commendable intentions but is flimsy. Its flimsiness is revealed in the wording of the disciplinary provisions, serving as an open-ended clause of elasticity to be interpreted and utilized by administrators as they see fit for situations and conflicts presented before them. In plain view, the IDEA Amendments (1997) serve as an administrative arm/mechanism put in place for administrators to make schools safer. For example, an administrator has authority to remove a student with disabilities “if keeping the child in his or her placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others” (IDEA Amendments of 1997, p. 1). This is the protection-for-schools clause, and it is used to maintain order in the school environment. To keep students with behavioral/emotional disorder in their present placements, administrators invoke the full-proof effectiveness of the manifestation clause: “A child with a disability cannot be long-term suspended or expelled from school for behavior that was a manifestation of his or her disability (IDEA Amendments of 1997, p. 1). This an example of the stay-the-course and stay-in-school clause, asserting the student’s placement at a particular school despite the manifestation of maladaptive behaviors related to his or her disability.

Assessing the effectiveness of the IDEA Amendments (1997) is almost like reviewing a literary tale of two acts. On the one hand, positively speaking, the IDEA Amendments (1997) improved student learning by restructuring the IEP design, and it, too, succeeded in involving parents like never before in their child’s education. On the other hand, negatively speaking, the disciplinary section of the IDEA

Amendments (1997) were not as effective and successful as its authors had hoped. For example, its implementation has added significant costs to school districts with more hearings and court costs plus out-of-school placement costs as well like never seen before. We have become a litigious society over time because the courts have yielded remarkable results as we have seen with the arduous journey that special education has taken through the courts. As a result and to the detriment of school processes nowadays, this section of the IDEA Amendments (1997) has negatively fueled the litigious spirit of some parents of students with disabilities, creating strife and unforeseen, legal expenditures. This is not what the authors of the IDEA Amendments (1997) had in mind when they wrote this section. Clear to this writer, this section of the IDEA Amendments (1997) needs to be significantly revised.

Concluding Remarks: A Tribute to the Parents

A tribute to the parents of students with disabilities because it was their tireless efforts and help from advocates and friends do the unthinkable and defy all the odds: The parents rallied together with great persistence and resolve, pursing a vision for educational equity for their children and correcting what they believed was a moral wrong. Parents built off the penetrating power and inclusiveness of the civil rights movement, partnering as an oppressed group in society. Analogically speaking, the civil rights movement can be viewed as the main river and students with disabilities as a tributary, merging as one and pursuing equal educational opportunities for all. The timing was perfect, and the social forces converged for the betterment of society with the parents pushing the agenda for their children. Parents began voicing their opinions and talking to other parents, attorneys, and influential community members about educational concerns they had for their children. They, the parents, used the courts strategically and purposefully to force states and the federal government to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities: Their persuasive powers as parents, along with great belief and endurance, were the difference-makers in challenging the school boards and strenuously objecting to the social barrier (at that time) of purposely excluding students with disabilities from school participation.

Thanks to the impatience and frustration of parents, coalitions and community groups began forming and communicating parental concerns to education boards: It had a resounding effect. In essence, parents organized, mobilized, and legalized a widespread, humanitarian movement for students with disabilities, making possible what was thought for years to be impossible. What parents achieved collectively for students with disabilities is considered to be one of the greatest legal and educational milestones of the 20th century, and the parents delivered the goods in grand fashion.

The accommodations and benefits of special education laws continue to positively affect the learning environments in schools today. Just think what schools would like without special education programs to address issues like individual education plans, testing, modifications, accommodations, and re-evaluation procedures for students with disabilities. It is unimaginable to this writer, given the growing number of students being diagnosed with a disability each year. More needs to be done programmatically to better meet the overall needs of students with disabilities.

 

 

Implementation of Project

Garnering parental support and participation remains the most important consideration in building a winning formula in school communities, especially in special education programs where parental apathy is usually most apparent to observers (Ryndak & Downing, 1996). Parent workshops provide great opportunities for parent to meet teachers and administrators and discuss their children’s learning styles and educational programs available to meet those needs (Staples & Diliberto, 2010). Inviting parents to the schools for trainings and presentations is a significant piece of the coordination needed to form valuable partnerships, connecting school personnel and parents in an educational forum: a parent-training workshop. Specifically, studies indicate that a clear understanding of special education laws can reduce conflicts between schools and parents (Feiberg, 2002). DeFur (2012) writes about parents of adolescents with disabilities and their important role as collaborators, building partnerships with school- and community-based providers:

Collaborative partnerships are not likely to result from a single transition meeting or single trusting partnerships require cumulative efforts and actions over time, where service providers and family members consistently demonstrate collaborative transition and partnerships behaviors. Service providers must take the leadership role in this practice (p. 66).

The school-to-family partnerships have to be reinforced with several events and activities: It has to be sustained successfully over time. There is no one miracle that makes it happen instantaneously.

Inviting and getting the parents to the school to participate is the goal. Once the parents attend, the reality is that effective, creative presentations can be the difference-maker in engaging passive parents and keeping their interest in school activities; parents are the audience, and they are the most important consideration. Civello (2008) advises educators that the audience is more important than any slide show:

The audience is there to see and hear the speaker. If the focus is all on the power-point presentation, you could just e-mail it to the people as an attachment…The key to persuasive presentations is to remember that they are people communicating with people” (p. 157). Iseeks (2011) agrees with the observations made by Civiello (2008), and adds:

The root of power-point presentations is not the power of the point, but the presentation…Power-point’s greatest offense is that it creates a false sense of accomplishment, creating a colorful power-point presentation may fool us into thinking that we have taught (p. 120).

The power-point presentation is not the fix-all solution to workshop presentations. Therefore, the roles of the presenter and the audience (focus of message) are the most important considerations.

The skill of the workshop presenter is incomplete without the implementation of caring ethics as an integral piece of the program, validating its officialdom. The workshop presenter is also a caring ethics practitioner, ensuring that the development of viable relationships is emphasized first in improving the school community. Therefore, the workshop presenter, as an individual leader in education, must exude an unwavering commitment to care in every learning context, accepting of the ethnic and racial differences of others. Also, communication and cooperation are essential in the care component because individual leaders in education spend a lot of time interacting with diverse and multicultural students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Fullan (2001) advises school leaders to “Embrace diversity and resistance while empowering others…There must be a good deal of shared control and decision-making during implementation” (p. 31). In essence, the workshop presenter must be exceptionally-skilled communicators and trailblazers of new curricula, imparting the standards with goodness and purpose; they lead by example, modeling what is right and invoking an incredible sense of fairness and inclusiveness for all.

Parents will be contacted through letters of invitation, phone calls, emails, and by word-of-mouth. The parent training workshop will have a multicultural flavor to it, preparing some ethnic dishes with snacks and soda; good food is always a grabber and helps bring parent participants to the workshop. The school libraries will provide great locations for the training because of their pleasant ambience and air-conditioned climate, if needed. Potentially, this is the first parent workshop in a series that addresses related topics in special education programs and procedures, and as such, an animated, live presentation is critically important in establishing those initial exchanges with ethnically and culturally diverse parents. Human civility and ingenuity are better showcased in person. After all, the presenter and the audience are the prime considerations, not the slide show or power-point; these tools can be utilized in subsequent, related workshops, and they will be more effective (at that time).

What will be presented, in lecture-style with a handout (Appendix A, p. 38-42) for all participants, is a chronology of 10 landmark acts of federal legislation for students with disabilities. These 10 federal laws have spurred the creation of special education programs nationwide, 1918 – 1997, from exclusion to inclusive participation in K – 12 public school settings. To note, they include the following: Compulsory Education Act (1918), Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Civil Rights Act (1964), Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), Gifted and Talented Education Assistance Act (1970), Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act (1973), Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975), Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1990), and IDEA Amendments (1997). These 10 federal laws have and continue to indelibly impact the education of students with disabilities in present and future learning contexts. History chronicles how proactive parents worked together and rallied to finally realize federal laws in education for their children with disabilities. It is a great historical lesson that parents can feel proud about, and students with disabilities are and continue to be the benefactors, the winners. There will be plenty of opportunities for questions; the workshop presentation should be delivered in approximately one hour to one and a half hours in duration, depending on the number of questions and discussion, of course.

 

 

Assessment

Any legitimate effort to improve school organizations, a change process, cannot be something that is simply performed randomly or whimsically. A proposed training or improvement project must be based on a real, compelling need or set of interrelated needs; the goal of the training or change initiative must be important and valued. How is the need determined? For starters, a needs analysis must be performed in school organizations to identify where and when training should be applied. In particular, the National Weather Service (NWS), a federal agency for studying climate conditions, explains the importance of a needs analysis this way:

A needs analysis gathers information about present practices and compares these practices to the desired way of doing business. The difference between where you are and where you want to be defines where a training program should concentrate its effort. This information also establishes a baseline against which training accomplishments can be measured (p. 1).

A training program is then identified for an area of needed improvement from the needs analysis, often a goal for a specific, systemic change. The needs analysis collects data and establishes an important baseline, providing an understanding of the problem and inferentially suggesting a starting point for the necessary training.

Importantly, the effect of a workshop’s training on its participants must be assessed; workshop evaluations usually take place at the end of the training to get a total or cumulative effect, often called summative findings. Relevantly, Hendrickson and O’Shea (1993) write:

Ideally, a workshop evaluation will be multidimensional (i.e. assess product and process outcomes)…The evaluation plan should also allow for timely data collection and feedback to the participants (p. 35).

End-of-training assessments are necessary and telling to educators about the training effect and content changes of continuing, workshop trainings. Adult participants are often eager and demanding for their investment of time and learning energy; workshops have to be engaging and structured for efficacy. However, it should be noted, workshops are not the best means of disseminating best practice if one has a lot of information to share in a limited time (Price, 2010). Insightfully, Andrews (1997) writes about a new wisdom about workshop evaluations, affirming the need for an education throughout one’s life:

Adult learners have moved from a position of fearing assessment and evaluation in learning activities to one of demanding assessment of learning outcomes and verification of quality…They want documentation on competence and skill performance. We must be accountable (p. 84).

Collecting assessment data, interpreting the findings, and sharing those findings are the professional responsibility of workshop presenters. The planning of subsequent and future workshop depends on those findings. In particular, workshops continue to be an important vehicle for school organizations to communicate with parents and community members, presenting new programs and procedures that affect their children. Past assessment data often determine the direction of new trainings and workshops.

Specifically for this parent workshop on the history of special education laws, a dire need for parent participation in the education of students with disabilities is confirmed in the research literature (Ryndak & Downing, 1996), fulfilling the needs assessment at the front-end of the evaluative process. The parent participants will be continuously assessed with probing questions during the workshop session, thereby prompting clarification and discussion. By design, an end-of-training assessment is necessary and appropriate to assess presentation effectiveness and get important feedback from parent participants (Hendrickson and O’Shea, 1993). The end-of-training assessment will be administered to the parents and community members participating in the workshop: It wil consist of a total of 18 multiple choice and true-and-false questions and a request for a comment on how we can improve this parent workshop on the history of special education laws (Appendix B, p. 42-47). The 18 items pinpoint and assess major themes and specific progammatic provisions for students with disabilities. Since the assessment will be administered at the end-of-training, the assessments will be graded and returned to parent participants for group discussion and clarification, if needed.

 

 

References

Andrews, G.J. (1997). Workshop evaluation: Old myths and new wisdom. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n7.

Bateman, D. & Bateman, C. F. (2001). A principal’s guide to special education. Council for Exceptional Children, Alexandria, VA.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954), 347 U. S. 483.

Civiello, M. (2008). Creating more effective presentations. Leader To Leader.

Collins, J. (2001). Good to great. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY.

Congressional Record (1975), p. 15272.

Congressional Record (1978), p. 12179.

Congressional Record (1977), p. 12216.

Congressional Record (1974), p. 15272.

Conroy, T., Yell, M. L., Katsiyannis, A., & Collins, T. S. (2010). The u.s. supreme court and parental rights under the individuals with disabilities education act. Focus on Exceptional Children, v43, n2.

DuFur, S. (2012). Parents as collaborators: Building partnerships with school- and community-based providers. Teaching Exceptional Children.

Feinberg, E., Beyer, J. & Moses, P. (2002). Beyond mediation: Strategies for appropriate dispute resolution in special education. The Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education, Eugene, OR.

Fullan, M. (1997). What’s worth fighting for in the principalship. Teachers College Press, New York, NY.

Hendrickson, J. & O’Shea, D. (1993). Putting a new face on an old strategy. Preventing School Failure, V37, n2.

IDEA Amendments of 1997, Pt. 300, Discipline Procedures, p. 1.

Iseeks, M. (2011). How power-point is killing education. Educational Leadership.

Johnson, L. B. (1965). Retrieved from the LBJ Library Collections.

Kennedy Presidential Documents (1963), p. 13.

Lashaway, L. (1996). Ethical leadership and visionary leadership. In School Leadership, ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.

Lombardi, Jr., V. (2001). What it takes to be #1: Vince Lombardi on leadership. McGraw-Hill Publishers, New York, NY.

Martin, E. W., Martin, R., & Terman, D. L. (2005). The legislative and litigation history of special education. The Future of Children: Special Education for Student with Disabilities, v6, n1.

Martin, W. E. (1998). Brown v. Board of Education. Bedford/St. Martin’s Publishers, Boston, MA.

Marx, G. (2006). Future-focused leadership: Preparing schools, students, and communities for tomorrow’s realities. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Marx, G. (2006). Sixteen trends: Their profound impact on our future. Alexandria, VA: ERS.

McClintock, C. (2003). Scholar practitioner model. Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Noddings, N. (2002). Educating Moral People: A caring alternative to character education, Teachers’ College Press, New York, NY.

Price, R. (2010). Disseminating best practice through workshops. Nursing Standard, v24, n28.

Russo, C. J., Morse, T. E., & Glancy, M. C. (1998). Special education: A legal history and overview. School Business Review, v64, n8.

Ryndak, D. L. & Downing, J. E. (1996). Parents’ perceptions of educational settings and services for children with moderate or severe disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, v17, n2.

Sergiovanni, T. (1992). Moral leadership: Getting to the heart of school improvement. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA.

Staples, K. E. & Diliberto, J. A. (2010). Guidelines for successful parent involvement. Teaching Exceptional Children.

Sullivan, W. (2005). Work and integrity: The crisis and promise of professionalism in america. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Jossey – Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA.

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (1990). President Bush’s remarks, v26, n30, p. 1165.

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (1997). President Clinton’s remarks, v33, n24, p.24.

Whitbread, K. M., Bruder, M. B., Fleming, G., & Park, H. J. (2007). Collaboration in special education parent-professional training. Teaching Exceptional Children.

Winzer, M. (1993). History of special education. Gallaudet University Press of Washington, D. C.

Yell, M.L., Rogers, D., & Rodgers, E. (1998). The legal history of special education: What a long and strange trip it’s been, Remedial and Special Education, v19, n4.

 

 

Appendix A

A. Bruno

Parent Workshop on Special Education Laws (1918 – 1997)

Workshop Handout

Buffalo Public Schools, Special Education Department (2012)

A Brief Chronology of Special Education

Laws (1918 – 1997):

Introduction

The history of special education laws has dramatically evolved in the past 100 years to be what it is today: a vital, curricular component in K-12 schools. Parents used the courts strategically and purposefully to force states and the federal government to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Specifically, the project topic is the history of special education laws (1918 – 1997), and it will be presented and analyzed in a concisely-framed chronology of key federal legislation for students with disabilities. It will begin with the Compulsory Education Act (1918) and end with the IDEA Amendments (1997), including all the major laws in between those years that influenced the development of special education programs in schools. These federal laws have indelibly impacted the education of students with disabilities in present and future learning contexts.

Compulsory Education Act (1918)

The Compulsory Education Act (1918) was enacted in all states because many felt it was strongly implied in the language of the 10th Amendment, implying that education is the responsibility of the state. Despite the enactment of compulsory education laws, however, children with disabilities were often excluded from public schools.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

This ruling was arguably the greatest victory for minority rights in education, law, and society. It ruled the “separate but equal doctrine” to be unconstitutional and outlawed as a practice. Central to this landmark case was the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law found in the 14th Amendment. Many believed this ruling was equally applicable to those denied equal opportunity to an education because of a disability.

Civil Rights Act (1964)

This landmark ruling outlawed discrimination of persons based on race, color, age, creed, or sex in schools, employment, and public accommodations. This further strengthened the case for students with disabilities to be included and accommodated in public education programs.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965)

The ESEA (1965) authorized federal financial assistance to local education agencies to meet the special needs of educationally-deprived students. The ESEA (1965) provided a specific funding stream for students with disabilities, becoming a federal first for students with disabilities. ESEA (1965) and (its subsequent 1966 amendment) was a huge success for parents and advocacy groups for students with disabilities. The special education or disabilities movement was born and on-the-books, achieving officialdom in federal law.

Gifted and Talented Education Assistance Act (1970)

This Act (Public Law 91-230) authorized federal support for gifted-talented and learning disabled youth. This broadened the definition of children and adolescents with disabilities. It provided a much-needed resolution over past disputes about what specific criteria was to be used to determine whether a student could be identified as a gifted and talented student.

Vocational Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 (1973)

Specifically, Section 504 (1973) ruled that organizations receiving state or federal funds could not discriminate against children and adults with disabilities. It also provided persons with disabilities with physical and space accommodations in public places.

Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975)

The Education Act for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) was the greatest triumph for students and adults with disabilities. Essentially, it mandated that qualified students with disabilities had the right to the following: 1) provide nondiscriminatory testing, evaluation, and placement procedures, 2) be educated in the least restrictive environment, 3) provide procedural due process, including parent involvement, 4) provide a free and appropriate education. The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) was the centerpiece of the EAHCA (1975). The EAHCA (1975) required that an IEP be developed for each student in special education programs.

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

The overall purposes of the ADA (1990) were to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities based on their disability and to declare a national proclamation for the rights of persons with disabilities. Many legal experts see the ADA (1990) as an extension of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973). The ADA (1990) has broad applicability and is the final linchpin in the anti-discrimination of persons with disabilities campaign in America.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990)

This landmark act, known as IDEA (1990), changed the language to emphasize the person first as well as changing the terms handicapped student and handicapped to child/student/individual with a disability. It also provided students with autism and traumatic brain injury to be identified as a separate and distinct class entitled to the law’s benefits; moreover, a plan for transition was required to be included on every student’s IEP by the age of 16.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (1997)

The IDEA Amendments (1997) required a statement of measurable goals to the IEP, including benchmarks or short-term objectives, enabling parents and educators to accurately measure a student’s progress toward the annual goals.

To deal with behavioral problems, the 1997 amendments required that a student with disabilities be provided with behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports, to address these problems in the formulation of the IEP. In addition, the 1997 amendments provided school officials the discretion to place a student with disabilities an interim, alternative placement, if the student brings a weapon to school or if the student is involved in possessing or selling illegal drugs at school or a school function. Similarly, students with disabilities with excessive disruptive and hurtful incidences can be placed in an interim, alternative placement for 45 days.

A Tribute to the Parents

A tribute to the parents of students with disabilities must be graciously extended because it was their tireless efforts and support from advocates and friends to do the unthinkable and defy all the odds: The parents rallied together with great persistence and resolve, pursing a vision for educational equity for their children and correcting what they believed was a moral wrong. Parents built off the penetrating powers and inclusiveness of the civil rights movement, partnering as an oppressed group in society.

The timing was perfect, and the social forces converged for the betterment of society with the parents leading the way and pushing the agenda for their children.

They, the parents, used the courts strategically and purposefully to force states and the federal governments to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Their persuasive powers as parents, along with great belief and perseverance, were the difference-makers in challenging the school boards and strenuously objecting to the social barriers of exclusion and separation, preventing students with disabilities from school participation.

Thanks to the impatience and frustration of parents, coalitions and community groups began forming and communicating parental concerns to education boards: It had a resounding effect. In essence, parents organized, mobilized, and legalized a widespread, humanitarian movement for the inclusion of students with disabilities, making possible what was thought to be impossible. What parents achieved collectively for students with disabilities is considered to be one of the greatest legal and educational milestones of the 20th century, and parents delivered the goods in grand fashion!

 

 

Appendix B

A. Bruno

Parent Workshop on the History of Special Education Laws (1918 – 1997)

Workshop Assessment

Buffalo Public Schools, Special Education Department (2012)

Part A: Circle the correct response about the history of special education laws.

1. Which of the following laws had the greatest, influential effect on the eventual passage of special education laws in the United States.

a) Civil Rights Act (1964)

b) Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

c) Compulsory Education Act (1918)

d) Voting Rights Act (1965)

2) Which American President had a sister with mental retardation and first wrote about the need for learning programs for children and adults with mental retardation and illnesses?

a) President Franklin Roosevelt

b) President Woodrow Wilson

c) President John Kennedy

d) President Dwight Eisenhower

3. Which of the following first outlawed children from working full-time and required full-time attendance in grades K – 12.

a) White House Conference on Children (1910)

b) Compulsory Education Act (1918)

c) 1934 Cuyahoga Court of Appeals decision

d) Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

4. Which of the following first recommended remedial education programs for students with disabilities?

a) White House Conference (1910)

b) Compulsory Education Act (1918)

c) 1934 Cuyahoga Court of Appeals decision

d) Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)

5. Which of the following was not achieved by Brown v. Board of Education (1954)?

a) outlawed the separate-but-equal doctrine

b) provided for equal protection under the law

c) provided voting rights

d) provided for equal educational opportunity

6. What does the term, IEP, stand for?

a) individual education policy

b) individual education program

c) individual education proposal

d) individual education plan

7. An individual transitional plan (ITP) is an addendum to the student’s IEP and is required by federal law at what age?

a) 12

b) 14

c) 16

d) 17

8. Most experts see the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) as a national declaration for the rights of persons with disabilities.

a) true

b) false

9. Which of the following laws outlawed discrimination of children and adults with disabilities in organizations receiving state or federal funding and also provided for physical space and special equipment accommodations for persons with disabilities?

a) Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

b) Civil Rights Act (1964)

c) Gifted and Talented Education Assistance Act (1970)

d) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973)

10. The Education for Handicapped Act (EHA, 1975) required the implementation of the following except

a) non-discriminatory testing and evaluation

b) educating in the least restrictive environment

c) behavioral intervention plan (BIP)

d) free and appropriate education delineated in the IEP

11. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) were signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

a) true

b) false

12. Which of the following was not a contribution of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1990)?

a) the term, handicapped child, was changed to child with disabilities.

b) new procedures for suspensions and alternative placements were established.

c) students with autism and traumatic brain injury were identified.

d) individual transition plans were required at age 16.

13. In the second half of the 20th century, which American President declared, “Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

a) President Jimmy Carter

b) President Ronald Reagan

c) President George H. Bush

d) President Bill Clinton

14. In the early 1900s, students with disabilities were excluded from school participation because they were viewed as “unteachable” by school and public officials.

a) true

b) false

15. The IDEA Amendments (1997) achieved all of the following except

a) reconstructed the IEP design

b) eliminated the formerly required individual transition plan (ITP)

c) strengthened parental access and participation

d) rewrote the section addressing the disciplining of students with disabilities

16. This was the first law to specifically mention federal funding for programs for students with disabilities.

a) Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

b) Civil Rights Act (1964)

c) Voting Rights Act (1965)

d) Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965)

17. Gifted and talented students are not recognized and identified as special education students, according to federal law.

a) true

b) false

18. In the second half of the 20th century, which American President declared the following: “To the American people, we are saying that we do not intend to rest until we have conquered the ignorance and prejudice against disabilities that disable us all.”

a) President Ronald Reagan

b) President George H. Bush

c) President Bill Clinton

d) President George W. Bush

Part B: Take a few moments and in a few words, please indicate how we can improve this parent workshop on the history of special education laws.

42 thoughts on “PARENT WORKSHOP ON SPECIAL EDUCATION LAWS

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