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Special Education Law: U.S. Supreme Court Cases

The federal law now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was first passed by Congress in 1975 (under the name Education for All Handicapped Children Act) to provide federal funds to the states to assist them in providing a “free appropriate public education” to children with disabilities. Under the law, each child with a disability that affects learning is entitled to special education and related services, in the least restrictive environment, in accordance with an individualized education program (IEP). As with any law, various questions of interpretation have arisen over the years and have been addressed by the federal courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued 12 decisions since 1975 that have interpreted the IDEA. This entry summarizes each of these decisions, which ...

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