IDEA45: Supporting a Free Appropriate Public Education

Forty-Five Years of IDEA-Funded Research Supporting a “Free Appropriate Public Education” By Douglas Fuchs and Lynn Fuchs, Vanderbilt University On this 45th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), we reflect on the research that IDEA legislation (and its successive reauthorizations) has facilitated. More specifically, we discuss its focus, quality, and meaningfulness for children and youth with and without disabilities. IDEA research monies were initially part of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA)—the nation-wide law passed by Congress in 1975. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education was responsible for investing these monies to strengthen the educational experiences of special needs children and youth, to give meaning to the part of EHA that guarantees a free appropriate public education. With IDEA’s 2004 reauthorization, OSEP research dollars were moved to the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) in the Institute of Education…

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