Disabled Education

Disabled Education : A Critical Analysis of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

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Enacted in1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act - now called theIndividuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides all children withthe right to a free and appropriate public education. On the face of it, theIDEA is a shining example of law's democratizing impulse. But is that reallythe case? In Disabled Education, Ruth Colker digs deep beneath theIDEA's surface and reveals that the IDEA contains flaws that were evident atthe time of its enactment that limit its effectiveness for poor and minoritychildren. Both anexpert in disability law and the mother of a child with a hearing impairment,Colker learned first-hand of the Act's limitations when she embarked on a legalbattle to persuade her son's school to accommodate his impairment. Colker wasable to devote the considerable resources of a middle-class lawyer to herstruggle and ultimately won, but she knew that the IDEA would not havebenefitted her son without her time-consuming and costly legal intervention.Her experience led her to investigate other cases, which confirmed hersuspicions that the IDEA best serves those with the resources to advocatestrongly for their children. The IDEAalso works only as well as the rest of the system does: struggling schools thatserve primarily poor students of color rarely have the funds to provideappropriate special education and related services to their students withdisabilities. Through a close examination of the historical evolution of theIDEA, the actual experiences of children who fought for their education incourt, and social science literature on the meaning of "learning disability,"Colker reveals the IDEA's shortcomings, but also suggests ways in whichresources might be allocated more evenly along class lines.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 293 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 2 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0814708102
  • 9780814708101

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations Acknowledgments 1. Introduction 2. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act: Historical Evolution 3. Amy Rowley 4. Michael Panico 5. Post-1975 Amendments 6. Brian Schaffer 7. Joseph Murphy 8. Ohio 9. Florida 10. New Jersey 11. California 12. District of Columbia 13. The Learning Disability Mess 14. A New Beginning Notes Index About the Author
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Review quote

"Disabled Education confronts head-on an unfortunate truth that all of us who are special education advocates have known for a long time: the system is, at best, inconsistently meeting the needs of low-income and minority children. Unlike other accounts of the system's imperfections, Colker's delves deeply and painstakingly into the rich human narratives contained in federal and state judicial decisions so that we can see in real terms the difficulties many families face as they crusade to obtain an appropriate education for their children. Not content to simply notice the disturbing reality, Disabled Education's detailed analysis provides a much more valuable contribution; it moves us closer to understanding why the system is not working equally for all families, how the system came to be this way, and what we need to do to fix it."-Michael Gregory,Harvard Law School "For anyone intent on our public schools providing equal educational opportunities to students with disabilities, Disabled Education is a comprehensive vision of how far we have yet to come and why. For attorneys and advocates, it provides insight into why there is such a headwind against students with disabilities receiving an effective and meaningful education. For judges, it delivers a challenge to reach more just, informed decisions, fully respecting the free appropriate educational opportunity guarantees of the IDEA. For those who teach, develop and enforce education policy through our civil rights laws, it presents a compelling insight into how and why the shortcomings of the special education system fall hardest on poor students, students of color and limited-English speaking students."-Paul D. Grossman,Hastings College of Law, University of California "Disabled Education is a unique and important work. For the first time, this book tells the stories of the families who set key precedents for children with special needs. It also gives a novel and in-depth description of the political and legislative process of the landmark Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In so doing, Professor Ruth Colker offers an unprecedented historical account of this law, while also offering a timely critique and suggestions for reform."-Julie K. Waterstone,Southwestern Law School "Colker's work provides both a broad and deep examination of the central legal-and moral-conundrum of the special education system: why the very same system can provide helpful and desired support for wealthier, often white, children with disabilities while providing less helpful and even exclusionary programs for low-income, often minority, children with disabilities. A leader in the field of disability law, Colker persuasively traces the answer through statutory analysis and legislative history, Supreme Court opinions and their back stories, and state-level administrative hearing officer decisions. The result is a compelling study that should inform policy makers and advocates in discussions about reforming the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the years to come."-Eloise Pasachoff,Georgetown University Law Center "The author, a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, knows her stuff inside and out."-Barbara Kate Repa,California Lawyer "A shocking, important, and even frightening book that unveils the mistreatment of disabled learners seeking an appropriate education in public school settings. We meet innocent children and desperate parents trying to navigate an entrenched bureaucratic and uncaring educational system that is further enabled by inept hearing officers who turn a deaf ear to the needs of the children and to the law. A must read for parents, educators, policy-makers and anyone who cares about the future of education in America. Scientific knowledge has progressed too far to accept this shameful treatment of children from all backgrounds and socio-economic groups; this book is a wake-up call for up-dating policies, procedures and laws affecting children who struggle in school."-Sally Shaywitz, MD,author of Overcoming Dyslexia "Colker (Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Ohio State Univ.) presents a detailed examination of the origins and implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The powerful and extremely engaging book is based on extensive archival research that sheds new light on this important subject."-N. Kraus,Choice
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About Ruth Colker

Ruth Colker is Distinguished University Professor and the Heck-Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University. She is the author of Hybrid, The Disability Pendulum, and American Law in the Age of Hypercapitalism, all available from NYU Press.
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