The National Council on Disability (NCD), Washington, celebrates 35 years of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law designed to ensure a free and appropriate public education for every child with a disability.
Prior to the law’s enactment, millions of students with disabilities were excluded from the public school system and were denied access to a public education. In 1975, Congress enacted and President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, one of the most important civil rights laws ever written. The central premise of this federal law, now known as IDEA, is that all children with disabilities have a federally protected civil right to a free appropriate public education that meets their education and related services needs in the least restrictive environment.
“We’re delighted to join with all Americans to celebrate 35 successful years of IDEA and to call attention to the 6.6 million students with disabilities who have been served by this landmark law," said NCD Chairman Jonathan Young,
“As IDEA is implemented, we must work to assure the successful transition of students with disabilities to post-secondary or work options and that youth with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum,” said Aaron Bishop, NCD’s new executive director, who joined the agency on November 15.
In keeping with the theme Living, Learning, & Earning used at NCD’s National Summit on Disability Policy 2010 last July, NCD is hosting a series of regional forums nationwide. The first “Learning” forum is planned for Spring 2011 at a location to be determined. The intent of the forums, consistent with the intent of the National Summit, is to promote extensive collaborations among all stakeholders and at all levels of government.
NCD’s goals for each of the focused forums are to:
- Identify emerging opportunities to enhance the way people with disabilities live, learn, or earn (each forum will focus on a separate aspect of the theme Living, Learning, & Earning);
- Establish new mechanisms, and build upon existing ones, to improve the coordination of disability policies, programs, and advocacy efforts; and
- Energize collaborative networks to guide future disability policy directions
NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal officials and entities on all policies, programs, practices,and procedures affecting people with disabilities.