Celebrate the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act's 45th Anniversary
Special Education Directors,
November 29, 2020, marked the 45th anniversary of President Gerald Ford signing the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) into law. The 1990 amendment to Public Law 94-142 changed the law’s name to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
In adopting this landmark civil rights measure, Congress noted that the law would accomplish two important goals:
- It would guarantee a free appropriate public education to every child, regardless of disability, on an equal basis with all other children; and
- It would advance all Americans’ understanding of disability by bringing children with disability out of the shadows and into American schools where their gifts and strengths could be recognized.
While tremendous progress has been made over the years, we must continue the hard work to address the challenges that still exist. Although we are able to help many children with disabilities to achieve their goals, we must continue our work to ensure that all children have the supports they need and to find ways for all children with disabilities to achieve meaningful results and outcomes. Even if we still have work to do to fully realize IDEA’s promise in the future, there is much to celebrate.
Nationally, where we were –> Where we are now:
- The number of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities from birth through age 21 served under the IDEA has increased from 3,694,000 in the 1976-77 school year to 7,539,553 in the 2018-19 school year.
- In 2018-19, 95% of students with disabilities were educated in a school. More than 6 million students with disabilities received services in a general education classroom at least part of the day.
- The number of infant and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C has increased from 154,065 in 1993-94 to 410,887 in 2018-19.
- The percent of students with disabilities exiting school ages 14 through 21 who graduated with a regular diploma has increased from 52% in the 1994-95 school year to 72.7% in the 2017-18 school year.
- The percent of students with disabilities exiting school ages 14 through 21 who dropped out has decreased from 34% in the 1994-95 school year to 16% in the 2017-18 school year.
Please join the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and ADE/ESS during the week of November 30, 2020, as education celebrates 45 years of providing education, supports and services to infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families through the IDEA.
For more information about the 45th anniversary of the IDEA, along with resources (including data, videos, and infographics), please see OSEP’s IDEA 45 anniversary webpage. Additionally, follow OSERS on Twitter to celebrate 45 years of IDEA as they post new videos and blogs. You will also have the chance to test your IDEA knowledge and engage in some IDEA trivia.