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Spellings Hails 30th Anniversary of I.D.E.A. Special Education Law

November 29, 2005--U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings released the following statement on today's 30th anniversary of former President Gerald Ford signing on Nov. 29, 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Secretary Spellings:

"Thirty years ago, a new spirit of inclusion and hope entered our public school classrooms with the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Today it protects the rights and ensures educational access for more than six million students with disabilities.

"The same spirit of inclusion and hope infuses the No Child Left Behind Act. It is the first law to hold schools specifically accountable for making sure students with disabilities achieve high standards. It has placed their educational needs front and center and removed the final barrier to full participation.

"The laws are clearly working. A Department of Education study reports that the high school completion rate for students with disabilities improved 17 percentage points between 1987 and 2003, while their postsecondary participation rate more than doubled. And the Center on Education Policy, a public education advocacy organization, has found that students with disabilities are receiving more classroom time and attention under No Child Left Behind.

"President Bush and I remain committed to inclusion and reform. Last year's reauthorization of IDEA was designed to help schools meet the goals of NCLB. It provides intensive instruction and tutoring for students in schools in need of improvement, and focuses resources to make certain that children are not misidentified. It will help all students with disabilities become well-educated so they may lead productive and independent lives."

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