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Throughout the years the general attitudes concerning the placement of special education students have changed over the years The recent trend toward independent living for special education students is a step in the right direction but special education programs have a way to go Both Public Law 94-142 Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that all school systems that receive federal funding must comply with Section 504 by making free and appropriate public education available to eligible and qualified students with disabilities Special education and related services must be made available to any child with a qualifying disability when the disability impairs the children educational performance Part B of the IDEA not only requires that public schools provide a free education to children with disabilities the law also sets parameters for determining an appropriate education Such education must include special education and related services specifically designed to meet each childs unique needs through an individualized education plan IEP An IEP is a plan developed for each child receiving special education services A multi-disciplinary team including parents teachers and others prepares the IEP An IEP must include an evaluation of the childs academic performance and learning characteristics social and emotional performance health and physical development annual goals short term objectives to meet those goals school environment and service recommendations a detailing of the extent to which the student will participate in other school activities any related service recommendations and a detailing of the extent to which the student will participate in state and citywide assessments either with or without modifications IEPs can be reviewed at any time upon request from any of the interested parties and must be reviewed at least once a year Part B of the IDEA further requires public schools to meet a disabled childs needs to the maximum extent appropriate in a regular classroom with non-disabled peers Under
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