20 U.S.C. § 1400 : US Code - Section 1400: Short title; findings; purposes

    (a) Short title
      This chapter may be cited as the "Individuals with Disabilities
    Education Act".
    (b) Omitted
    (c) Findings
      Congress finds the following:
        (1) Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in
      no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or
      contribute to society. Improving educational results for children
      with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy
      of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation,
      independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals
      with disabilities.
        (2) Before the date of enactment of the Education for All
      Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (Public Law 94-142), the
      educational needs of millions of children with disabilities were
      not being fully met because - 
          (A) the children did not receive appropriate educational
        services;
          (B) the children were excluded entirely from the public
        school system and from being educated with their peers;
          (C) undiagnosed disabilities prevented the children from
        having a successful educational experience; or
          (D) a lack of adequate resources within the public school
        system forced families to find services outside the public
        school system.

        (3) Since the enactment and implementation of the Education for
      All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, this chapter has been
      successful in ensuring children with disabilities and the
      families of such children access to a free appropriate public
      education and in improving educational results for children with
      disabilities.
        (4) However, the implementation of this chapter has been
      impeded by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on
      applying replicable research on proven methods of teaching and
      learning for children with disabilities.
        (5) Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated
      that the education of children with disabilities can be made more
      effective by - 
          (A) having high expectations for such children and ensuring
        their access to the general education curriculum in the regular
        classroom, to the maximum extent possible, in order to - 
            (i) meet developmental goals and, to the maximum extent
          possible, the challenging expectations that have been
          established for all children; and
            (ii) be prepared to lead productive and independent adult
          lives, to the maximum extent possible;

          (B) strengthening the role and responsibility of parents and
        ensuring that families of such children have meaningful
        opportunities to participate in the education of their children
        at school and at home;
          (C) coordinating this chapter with other local, educational
        service agency, State, and Federal school improvement efforts,
        including improvement efforts under the Elementary and
        Secondary Education Act of 1965 [20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.], in
        order to ensure that such children benefit from such efforts
        and that special education can become a service for such
        children rather than a place where such children are sent;
          (D) providing appropriate special education and related
        services, and aids and supports in the regular classroom, to
        such children, whenever appropriate;
          (E) supporting high-quality, intensive preservice preparation
        and professional development for all personnel who work with
        children with disabilities in order to ensure that such
        personnel have the skills and knowledge necessary to improve
        the academic achievement and functional performance of children
        with disabilities, including the use of scientifically based
        instructional practices, to the maximum extent possible;
          (F) providing incentives for whole-school approaches,
        scientifically based early reading programs, positive
        behavioral interventions and supports, and early intervening
        services to reduce the need to label children as disabled in
        order to address the learning and behavioral needs of such
        children;
          (G) focusing resources on teaching and learning while
        reducing paperwork and requirements that do not assist in
        improving educational results; and
          (H) supporting the development and use of technology,
        including assistive technology devices and assistive technology
        services, to maximize accessibility for children with
        disabilities.

        (6) While States, local educational agencies, and educational
      service agencies are primarily responsible for providing an
      education for all children with disabilities, it is in the
      national interest that the Federal Government have a supporting
      role in assisting State and local efforts to educate children
      with disabilities in order to improve results for such children
      and to ensure equal protection of the law.
        (7) A more equitable allocation of resources is essential for
      the Federal Government to meet its responsibility to provide an
      equal educational opportunity for all individuals.
        (8) Parents and schools should be given expanded opportunities
      to resolve their disagreements in positive and constructive ways.
        (9) Teachers, schools, local educational agencies, and States
      should be relieved of irrelevant and unnecessary paperwork
      burdens that do not lead to improved educational outcomes.
        (10)(A) The Federal Government must be responsive to the
      growing needs of an increasingly diverse society.
        (B) America's ethnic profile is rapidly changing. In 2000, 1 of
      every 3 persons in the United States was a member of a minority
      group or was limited English proficient.
        (C) Minority children comprise an increasing percentage of
      public school students.
        (D) With such changing demographics, recruitment efforts for
      special education personnel should focus on increasing the
      participation of minorities in the teaching profession in order
      to provide appropriate role models with sufficient knowledge to
      address the special education needs of these students.
        (11)(A) The limited English proficient population is the
      fastest growing in our Nation, and the growth is occurring in
      many parts of our Nation.
        (B) Studies have documented apparent discrepancies in the
      levels of referral and placement of limited English proficient
      children in special education.
        (C) Such discrepancies pose a special challenge for special
      education in the referral of, assessment of, and provision of
      services for, our Nation's students from non-English language
      backgrounds.
        (12)(A) Greater efforts are needed to prevent the
      intensification of problems connected with mislabeling and high
      dropout rates among minority children with disabilities.
        (B) More minority children continue to be served in special
      education than would be expected from the percentage of minority
      students in the general school population.
        (C) African-American children are identified as having
      intellectual disabilities and emotional disturbance at rates
      greater than their White counterparts.
        (D) In the 1998-1999 school year, African-American children
      represented just 14.8 percent of the population aged 6 through
      21, but comprised 20.2 percent of all children with disabilities.
        (E) Studies have found that schools with predominately White
      students and teachers have placed disproportionately high numbers
      of their minority students into special education.
        (13)(A) As the number of minority students in special education
      increases, the number of minority teachers and related services
      personnel produced in colleges and universities continues to
      decrease.
        (B) The opportunity for full participation by minority
      individuals, minority organizations, and Historically Black
      Colleges and Universities in awards for grants and contracts,
      boards of organizations receiving assistance under this chapter,
      peer review panels, and training of professionals in the area of
      special education is essential to obtain greater success in the
      education of minority children with disabilities.
        (14) As the graduation rates for children with disabilities
      continue to climb, providing effective transition services to
      promote successful post-school employment or education is an
      important measure of accountability for children with
      disabilities.
    (d) Purposes
      The purposes of this chapter are - 
        (1)(A) to ensure that all children with disabilities have
      available to them a free appropriate public education that
      emphasizes special education and related services designed to
      meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education,
      employment, and independent living;
        (B) to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and
      parents of such children are protected; and
        (C) to assist States, localities, educational service agencies,
      and Federal agencies to provide for the education of all children
      with disabilities;
        (2) to assist States in the implementation of a statewide,
      comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency system
      of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with
      disabilities and their families;
        (3) to ensure that educators and parents have the necessary
      tools to improve educational results for children with
      disabilities by supporting system improvement activities;
      coordinated research and personnel preparation; coordinated
      technical assistance, dissemination, and support; and technology
      development and media services; and
        (4) to assess, and ensure the effectiveness of, efforts to
      educate children with disabilities.