To a great extent, the federal government of the United States has adopted several principles of action to promote equality and inclusive education. Children with disabilities have been neglected, making education inaccessible to them. All American K-12 schools must offer adequate resources, training, and space to ensure students with and without disorders can learn alongside each other without discrimination. The paper will discuss the individuals with disabilities education act (IDEA), and the proposed alternative policy will be every student succeeds act (ESSA).
IDEA is a policy that enables a free and appropriate public education to eligible students with disabilities throughout America and ensures special education and associated services to those learners. All learning institutions must follow the policy guidelines to promote equality and inclusivity to the children, irrespective of their language and diverse cultures. The main contributors to the IDEA policy included President Gerald Ford, the US Congress, and the civil movements (Ahmed, 2018). They all worked at ensuring adequate integration and implementation of the policy’s key pillars, involving individualized education programs, appropriate and specialized education, least restrictive surrounding, parent-teacher participation, sufficient evaluation, and procedural safeguard (Bruin, 2019). A stakeholder is an individual, an organization, or a group interested in an enterprise and is directly or indirectly affected by its outcome (Collins, 2019). Regarding the case of IDEA, there are multiple stakeholders, including policymakers, parents, teachers, children with disabilities, and educational agency staff.
At first, the interests of the policymakers are reflected in the IDEA. The IDEA has a clause that enables the lawyers to be provided with the legal database and how they can help during litigations. In the case of issued lawsuits, the legislators determine the costs between the defendant and the plaintiff (Bruin, 2019). Secondly, the preferences of the learners with conditions are mirrored extensively in the policy. The learners must be provided with special education without discrimination, and during the individualized education plan (IEP) process, there should be confidentiality (Francisco et al., 2020). The students are invited to the IEP meetings to discuss their transition services issues. The learners with disabilities are offered all the learning materials and assistance from teachers and parents to ensure they level up academically with other students.
IDEA allows the learners’ preferences to be differentiated in examination testing from other normal children. Due to a favorable learning environment, the IDEA policy has assisted in providing quality education to 7.5 million students (Ahmed, 2018). The policy has procedural safeguard guidelines that ensure that the parents receive adequate instructions on how their children will be disciplined and the process of receiving specialized education. In addition, the interests of the guardian are enforced, whereby the schools are prohibited from coercing them into administering medications, including Ritalin, to their children (Francisco et al., 2020). The local and state education agency staff ensures the schools provide child-find services, including therapies and counseling, without families incurring costs. At the same time, the policy ensures the teacher’s interests are considered by ensuring adequate learning resources to help children with disabilities attain improved academic performance.
ESSA is the alternative policy that would lead to the same or better results contrasted to IDEA. ESSA ensures the provision of adequate funds to increase the capacity of local communities, local educational agencies, schools, and states to improve the educational institution’s conditions for student learning (Brown et al., 2019). From the standpoint of processes, the proposed strategy eliminates the prerequisite for linking results to student test scores and teacher evaluation systems, enabling students with disabilities to excel in other extra-curricular activities (Collins, 2019). Instead of focusing only on children with disabilities, ESSA ensures all the K-12 schools offer quality education to all kids, the normal and disadvantaged learners (Chu, 2019). Therefore, the proposed policy enables a quicker and more feasible achievement of goals by ensuring resource equity, providing evidence-based interventions, and creating access to learning opportunities concentrated on higher-order thinking capabilities.
To a great extent, ESSA requires engagement and meaningful consultation with all stakeholders to make decisions for their benefit. All the parties involved merit, whereby the students will be treated equitably to record enhanced academic performance (Brown et al., 2019). The parents, advocates, state educators, and parents develop plans and accountability systems together, thus ensuring all their interests are tackled. From the ESSA policy, all the stakeholders benefit from receiving education, effective decision-making, developing trust, cost-saving, and risk management.
In conclusion, the IDEA policy adopted and implemented in American K-12 schools helps ensure that children with disabilities receive specialized education funded by the government. Different stakeholders work integratively to ensure the implementation of procedural and instructional guidelines that impact the student’s academic performance. Notably, IDEA focuses on learners with disorders to avoid cultural and equality discrimination in schools. On the other hand, ESSA policy abolishes requirements for connecting results to student test scores, giving the disadvantaged ones increased productivity. The educational policies should promote equality and enhance cultural diversification among all learners. The attainment goals spearheaded by ESSA include enhancing evidence-grounded interventions and resource equity. Different ESSA stakeholders merit from the policy implementation by developing effective communication skills, effective decision-making, cost-saving, uncertainty control, and improving trust.
Ahmed, A. (2018). Perceptions of using assistive technology for students with disabilities in the classroom. International Journal of Special Education, 33(1), 129-139.
Brown, M. H., Lenares-Solomon, D., & Deaner, R. G. (2019). Every student succeeds act: A call to action for school counselors. Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy, 6(1), 86-96.
Bruin, K. (2019). The impact of inclusive education reforms on students with disability: an international comparison. International journal of inclusive education, 23(7-8), 811-826.
Chu, Y. (2019). What are they talking about when they talk about equity? A content analysis of equity principles and provisions in the state every student succeeds act plans. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27(5), 158-158.
Collins, J. (2019). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap and others don’t (3rd ed.). Harper Business.
Francisco, M. P. B., Hartman, M., & Wang, Y. (2020). Inclusion and special education. Education Sciences, 10(9), 238.