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WEAC represents 98,000
K-12 public school teachers and education support professionals, faculty and support staff in the Wisconsin Technical College System, education and information professionals employed by the state, retired members, and university students studying to become educators.
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In developing the Individual Education Program (IEP) for a child with disabilities, the IDEA requires the IEP team to consider placement in the regular education classroom as the starting point in determining the appropriate placement for the child. If the IEP team determines that the "least restrictive environment" appropriate for a particular child is not the regular education classroom for all or part of the IEP, the IEP team must include an explanation in the IEP as to why the regular education classroom is not appropriate.
The purpose of these requirements is to carry out the intent of the IDEA, which is to educate as many students with disabilities as possible in the regular education classroom, while still meeting their unique, individual needs. Robert T. Stafford, the Republican Senator from Vermont and one of the bill's primary sponsors, has argued that the legislation is essential if we are to allow children with special needs to live ordinary lives (Arnold and Dodge, 1994).
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 requires that a recipient of federal funds provide for the education of each qualified handicapped person in its jurisdiction with persons who are not handicapped to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the handicapped person.
A recipient is required to place a handicapped child in the regular educational environment unless it is demonstrated by the recipient