Education Laws

Since the 1960s, there has been a virtual avalanche of federal legislation that relates directly or indirectly to individuals with disabilities, particularly children and youth. Use the links below to explore several of the most influential laws. These form  the core of current protection against discrimination and current guarantees of equal educational opportunity that individuals with disabilities have in our nation.

IDEA is our nation’s special education law. The IDEA guides how states, school districts, and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law as Public Law Number 114-95. ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 “to ensure that every child achieves.” ESSA is the nation’s  general education law and, as such, has been revised by Congress many times over the years. The last reauthorization took place in 2001 and was called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ESSA replaces NCLB.

Before there was IDEA, there was the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Section 504 of this Act continues to play an important role in education, especially for students with disabilities  who may not qualify for special education services under IDEA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it possible for everyone with a disability to live a life of freedom and equality. Passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President on July 26, 1990, the ADA is the first comprehensive declaration of equality  for people with disabilities.

State Law

A summary of Texas state and federal requirements for special education by topic. Other resources include the Notice  of Procedural Safeguards, a side-by-side view of Special  Education Rules and Regulations, and A  Guide to the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Process.

In Spanish | En español:

An informative series of videos about the Procedural Safeguards and parents’ rights. The topics include prior written notice & parental consent, independent educational evaluation, ARD committee, discipline, educational records, and resolving disagreements.