Abstract

The author, former director of the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education, describes policy changes that are needed to move the nation toward the positive life outcomes Congress articulated in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. Five policy recommendations are each supported by experiences spanning over thirty years of service in special education at the local, state, and federal levels. The recommendations reflect fundamental changes in determining eligibility for special education, the continuum of alternative placements, responsibility for enforcement, teacher preparation, and federal monitoring.

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