Students with Disabilities
NIEA is committed to ensuring that American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students with disabilities have the same equal access to a quality education as their peers. As a population who is routinely found to be overrepresented in special education classrooms, it is vital that our students have access to resources that enable them to be successful.
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT
First authorized in 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) [20 U.S.C. 1400] outlines federal protections for students with disabilities from early childhood through post-secondary education. Under this law, students with disabilities and their parents have a right to “a free and appropriate public education.” The 2004 reauthorization of IDEA provides grant funding to support educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Each year, NIEA advocates for funding to ensure that all Native students have access to the resources for college, career, or community success.
EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT
In 2015, the nation’s largest education law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), included key provisions to advance educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Through these critical provisions, legislators capped the use of alternate tests for students with severe cognitive disabilities to 1% of the state’s student population. Such language ensures that states have high learning expectations for students with learning and attention disabilities and places emphasis on academic achievement for students with disabilities. NIEA advocates for culture-based education opportunities that inspire and engage all Native students.
ENDREW F. v. DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Through a unanimous 2017 ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the Supreme Court raised the bar in defining an “appropriate public education” under IDEA. This decision set forth a new precedent requiring school districts to provide students with disabilities the tools necessary to make “appropriately ambitious” progress in their education.