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IDEA / Special Education

IDEA / Special Education

Access To a Free, Quality Education for All

Access To a Free, Quality Education for All


For too long, Congress has failed to live up to its commitment to fund special education.  This continued underfunding – in combination with current state fiscal crises – forces school districts to either raise taxes or dip into general education budgets to make up for the shortfall, thereby cutting other critical services. 

Take Action Today:  Urge your Members of Congress to support full funding for IDEA. 

NEA Report: The Negative Impact of Graduation Policies on Students with Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations

The National Education Association supports a free, appropriate public education for all students with disabilities in a least restrictive environment, which is determined by maximum teacher and parent/guardian involvement. There must also be a full continuum of placement options, services, and delivery models available to students with disabilities.

Over the past 10 years, the number of U.S. students enrolled in special education programs has risen 30 percent. Three out of every four students with disabilities spend part or all of their school day in a general education classroom. In turn, nearly every general education classroom across the country includes students with disabilities. Each school and school district must determine the best way to conduct programs and figure out how to pay for them.

As the nation's parents, citizens, educators and elected officials tackle the problems facing special education, NEA urges everyone to acknowledge our successes. Local public schools are now educating millions of disabled children, and a growing number of them are graduating from high school. Only three decades ago, these same children would have been isolated in separate institutions or simply kept at home, with little or no chance of ever becoming independent, productive, taxpaying citizens.



Teaching Students With Autism
( PDF, 1.71 MB, 96 pg.)

This Guide provides a brief summary of how K-12 educators might think differently about students with autism, capitalize on their strengths, provide supports to address their challenges, and facilitate positive social relationships among students with and without autism.