Happy Anniversary for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Dr. Christine Espeland, Inclusion Director, AWSP
Dec 02, 2021

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Happy Anniversary! This month marks 46 years since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted.  

In 1975, it was a different world for children with disabilities. Prior to the enactment of IDEA, more than 1.8 million students with disabilities were denied access to an education. For those who receive any services, most were delivered in segregated settings and few children had access to the same educational curriculum as their non-disabled peers. 

Today, more than 70 percent of students in special education graduate with a standard high school diploma. Hundreds of thousands of infants and toddlers are reaching developmental milestones thanks to effective early intervention services.

Yet, we still have work to do.  In 2019 Washington state was one of the ten least inclusive states in the nation.  To support shifting practices, the State Legislature provided OSPI in 2019 with twenty-five million dollars for the Inclusionary Practices Professional Development Project (IPP). Funding for IPP will continue until June of 2023 with an additional twelve million dollars.  The goal is to provide educators and leaders with professional development opportunities in support of inclusion and inclusionary practices.  

AWSP is actively leading in the Inclusionary Practices Professional Development Project and has a variety of resources and tools to support our school leaders efforts to grow inclusive communities.  Whether you join our Shelley Moore cohort of learning, use our learning series such as the Data-Literate Inclusionary leader, or use our Evidence of Impact tool, all are developed to support leaders and teams in their inclusion journey.  Check out our Inclusionary Practices Project Resource page and also know that we have Dr. Chris Espeland, our Director of Inclusion, who is a resource and thought partner at the ready.

Let's walk this work together to ensure that IDEA is fully realized within our schools and systems to fully embrace and support each and every child to succeed.

  • Inclusion
  • Inclusionary Practices
  • IDEA
  • Inclusionary Practices
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