The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) -- the main federal law affecting education from kindergarten through high school. Proposed by President Bush shortly after his inauguration, NCLB was signed into law on January 8th, 2002. NCLB is built on four principles: accountability for results, more choices for parents, greater local control and flexibility, and an emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research.
What is IDEA?
It is an acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, our nation's special education law. IDEA was first passed in 1975, where it was called the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act (PL 94-142.) Every few years, the law has been revised (a process called reauthorization.) The most current version of IDEA is Public Law 108-446, passed in 2004 and called the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.” It's still most commonly referred to as IDEA, or IDEA 2004 (to distinguish it from other reauthorizations.) Final regulations for IDEA 2004 were published in 2006.
What is LRE?
IDEA emphasizes that special education is a service and not a place, and as such, supports and services should be delivered to the child in the least restrictive environment. This is based on the presumption that the general education environment is the first choice for educating all individuals.
Although IDEA provides that children with disabilities are to be educated with their nondisabled peers, to the maximum extent appropriate, the nature or the severity of the disability of a child may be such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved. In such cases, IDEA provides that schools make available a continuum of alternative placements to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services, including: instruction in regular classes; special classes; special schools; home instruction; and instruction in hospitals and institutions. The placement of a child in the LRE must be as close as possible to the child’s home.
How do I know if the student is in the LRE?
The team establishing the student’s placement must answer the following questions:
1. What accommodations, modifications and adaptations does the individual require to be successful in the general education environment?
2. Why is it not possible for these accommodations, modifications and adaptations be provided within the general education environment?
3. What supports are needed to assist the teacher and other personnel in providing these accommodations, modifications and adaptations?
4. How will receipt of special education services and activities in the general education environment impact this individual?
5. How will the provision of special education services and activities in the general education environment impact other students?
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