December 2nd is National Special Education Day! It is incredible to celebrate a day that means so much to the United States education system. Whether you know someone with special needs, are someone with special needs, or are a special education educator this national day should fill you with joy.
For more than half of the 20th century individuals with special needs were completely segregated and in a lot of cases, institutionalized. It wasn’t until 1972 when legislation was introduced to Congress that change had started to begin.
There were other cases that were brought before Congress to create an equal learning opportunity such as, Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965.Brown v. Board of Education (1954) dealt with racial segregation and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965 dealt with underprivileged children.
The two cases that caused Congress to open an investigation in regard to special education were Pennsylvania Assn. for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PARC) and Mills v. Board of Education of District of Columbia.
By 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 was officially passed. This act was passed to ensure that all children with disabilities would have equal opportunity to receive an education through local and state agencies.
In 1990, this act was renamed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
This new legislation impacted so many individuals. Individuals with disabilities were finally given a chance. This changed the way society looks at individuals with disabilities. Segregation and institutions were on their way to becoming a thing of the past.
In today’s society, these individuals are looked at much differently now. They are looked at as a person without their disability defining them. They are so much more than a disability. Allowing these individuals to become educated and learn life skills creates an atmosphere where nothing is impossible.
The parents, guardians, educators, friends, etc lives are impacted for the better because of the drive, determination and knowledge that grows in the classroom.
If it weren’t for the legislation and those who support IDEA,
Celebrate how far our society has come! If you know someone with special needs, make sure they get all the love today! December 2nd is a very special day to so many.