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When Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975, federal policy prohibited educational officials from making arbitrary decisions that often excluded students with disabilities from schools. Moreover, as reflected in revisions of the same statute, the renamed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), federal law continues to ensure that all eligible children between the ages of 3 and 21 are entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). In providing children with a FAPE in the LRE, the IDEA also called for the creation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to direct their education. IEPs are legal documents and part of a process; they are the cornerstone of special education that formalizes the IDEA'S FAPE ...

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