Special Education 2.0: Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law

Six million students with disabilities receive services through America’s unique forty-year-old special education law. Since 1975, the law succeeded in providing all students with disabilities (13 14 percent of all students) access to education. Yet, it continued to grow ever more complex. Its requirements and costs overwhelm schools; its regulations burden educators and confuse parents;

Six million students with disabilities receive services through America’s unique forty-year-old special education law. Since 1975, the law succeeded in providing all students with disabilities (13 14 percent of all students) access to education. Yet, it continued to grow ever more complex. Its requirements and costs overwhelm schools; its regulations burden educators and confuse parents; its “wait to fail” approach delays intervention for many students; its adversarial enforcement pits parents and educators against each other; and its inequitable structure affects all students. In short, much is broken.

Law and education expert, attorney Miriam Kurtzig Freedman tackles these issues, focusing on students who are less severely disabled, with concrete solutions, optimism, and faith in the system’s good intentions.

She proposes Five Directions for a new law:

Equity and excellence for all students New realities and reforms with research-based instruction for students with disabilities Shared responsibility and clear roles for educators, students, and parents New school-governance structure and collaboration with no individual entitlement Celebrating the IDEA and reframing our efforts to create Special Ed 2.0

Special Education 2.0 is an urgent call for a national conversation. While some Directions are controversial and break taboos, it’s time to act, as Congress will reauthorize the law. To power up that conversation, turn to Freedman’s Special Education 2.0!