In addition to the protections offered by the ADA and Section 504, another statute, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), provides additional protection to those with disabilities in the context of education. The act was originally passed by Congress in 1975 but has been amended on several occasions since that time. The goals of IDEA are as follows:
- It ensures the disabled children are given a “free appropriate public education,” emphasizing special education and related services that meet the specific needs of each disabled child
- It ensures the protection of the rights of disabled children and their parents
- It assists states, local governments, educational service agencies, and federal agencies to provide for the education of disabled children
- It assists states to implement a statewide system of early intervention services for disabled infants and toddlers; It ensures that educators and parents have the necessary tools to improve educational results for disabled children
- It assesses and ensures the effectiveness of efforts to educate disabled children
Unlike ADA and Section 504, which are nondis-crimination laws, IDEA is instead a grant program. It requires states that accept federal funds to provide free, appropriate public education to disabled children. Although the means by which IDEA operates differs from the ADA and Section 504, each of these statutes serve similar purposes for the most part.