Special Education

November 10, 2000 • Volume 10, Issue 39
Do students with disabilities get the help they need?
By Kathy Koch

Introduction

Cortney Wickard, 10, attends classes in Boiling Springs, Pa., in a wheelchair due to a rare genetic defect. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
Cortney Wickard, 10, attends classes in Boiling Springs, Pa., in a wheelchair due to a rare genetic defect. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act was passed in 1975 after the courts ruledthat states must provide a “free appropriate public education” to children with physical, mental or emotional problems. Under the law, renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal government is required to help local school boards pay for the special-education services needed by students with disabilities. Although the law has produced many successes in integrating the nation's 6 million disabled children into public schools, troubling problems remain. The dropout rate for disabled students is far higher than for non-disabled students. And countless disabled children, especially from low-income, minority or rural communities, are not receiving the full benefits of the law.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Nov. 10, 2000  Special Education
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Dec. 10, 1993  Learning Disabilities
Dec. 29, 1989  Coping with Learning Disabilities
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Special Education