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Years Historical Event Impact on Education

1899 Elizabeth Farrell Created the first She paved the way for educating students with
special education class in New York special needs. Her class had 19 students originally
City. and she believed that the students should be
included with regular students.
1931 Department of Special Education was Required the teaching of children with special
established needs. Full special education classes formed.
1954 Brown v. The Board of Education Challenged the idea of separate but equal. Made
it possible for students with disabilities to get free
public education in the least restrictive
1965 Congress adds Title VI to the Educating students with disabilities is still NOT
Elementary and Secondary Education mandated by federal or state law. However, creation
Act of 1965 creating a Bureau of of the Bureau indicated that there was a change
Education for the Handicapped coming.
1972 Supreme Court decisions. PARC v. Courts take position that children with disabilities
Pennsylvania (1972) and Mills v. D.C. have an equal right to access education as other
Board of Education (1972) apply equal students. This started some students going to
protection argument to students with school.
1973 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act This law protects qualified individuals from
of 1973 is enacted. discrimination based on their disability.
1975 Education for all Handicapped Mandated that all school districts educate students
Children Act (EAHCA). P.L. 94-142. with disabilities.
Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA)
1977 Final federal regulations of EAHCA This provided a set of rules in which school
released districts must adhere to when providing and
education to students with disabilities.
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act This included public schools by providing civil
rights protections to individuals with disabilities
and preventing discrimination.
1997 IDEA reauthorized Included students with disabilities to be included in
on state and district wide assessments. Regular
Education Teachers are now required to be a
member of the IEP team
2001 No Child Left Behind Act Calls for all students including students with
disabilities to be proficient in math and reading by
the year 2014

Febus, L. (2011). Timeline of Important Events in the Field of Special Education. Retrieved September
09, 2016, from

Timeline of Special Education History. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2016, from

(Smith, Polloway, Patton & Dowdy, 2011). (n.d.). Important Historical Events in Special Education
timeline. Retrieved September 10, 2016, from