Special Education Law
This course will provide students with an introduction to the law of special education. The goal of this course is to not only educate student about this specialized and little known area of the law, but also to challenge commonly held beliefs and stereotypes regarding special education. Students will become familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), the cornerstone of special education law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Pennsylvania statutes and regulations governing special education law. The No Child Left Behind Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act will also be discussed. Emphasis will be placed upon understanding the scope and breadth of special education services under IDEA, who qualifies for these services, and how the law is intended to be applied in the classroom and school related activities. The course will explore the nature of disabilities as they impact a child's ability to learn in an educational setting, and will discuss "hidden" disabilities and the particular challenges they present. The course will also explore key issues in special education law as set forth in United States Supreme Court decisions, and how these decisions have impacted the practice and application of the law in schools. Methods of instruction include lecture, small group problem solving, and ongoing class discussion.