SE100 – Special Education Law

Ethics and Professional Behavior
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Welcome to Special Education Law, the first course in the series Special Education.

Special education law sets the foundation for special education services as we know them today. Special education law has been formed through both case law and legislation. Case law emerges through rulings from courts. Legislation emerges from the United States Congress through the lawmaking process. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) emerged from the civil rights movement and is a rights-based law. This means that the law doesn’t change unless a lawsuit is filed and makes its way through local, state, and federal courts. The most recent version of IDEA was released on August 24, 2021.

Understanding the history of special education in the United States is essential and this course examines the timeline of monumental court cases and laws over the last 70 years. In the mid-20th century, court cases began to emerge addressing the need for equal educational opportunities for all students. Although focused on racial discrimination, Brown v. Board of Education (1954) paved the way for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as parents and advocates for students with disabilities became aware that decisions could be made into law to improve education for all students. During the 1970s various cases emerged to address special education and the Education of the Handicapped Act of 1970 and Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 came forth. As schools and educational leaders became more knowledgeable of what was needed to fully support students of all academic and physical ability levels, The Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986 and Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990 emerged. Through the 21st century various advocacy groups continue to work with local, state, and federal officials to ensure proper access for students and compliance with special education laws.

The course requires 21 hours of study time to complete all assignments and the reflection questions as directed. There are six written assignments including the reflection questions at the end of the course.