Executive Summary As Congress undertakes reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it faces what many observers predict will be a highly contentious process with little consensus beyond a determination to increase federal funding levels. Even identifying the relevant questions promises controversy. This paper explores the need for reform of federal special education program, suggesting policy recommendations across a range of areas, including:
- Identifying trends in the explosive growth in the number of students identified for special education;
- Improving educational progress to increase the graduation rate among special education students, and so that students successfully exit special education classes earlier in their education;
- Addressing federal regulations that prevent school officials from disciplining special education students for dangerous or serious infractions, and
- Confronting runaway costs, including those associated with litigation.
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