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An Examination of Mandated Rights Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Mandated Components Described in an Individualized Education Plan
AuthorLachman, Stephanie E.
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The number of students identified as having a disability and requiring special education services in the United States has more than doubled since the authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975. Simultaneously, public schools are experiencing a significant shortage in qualified special education teachers. Unqualified teachers are being placed in special education classrooms and given the responsibility of developing, writing and implementing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Federal law requires that a student’s IEP incorporates mandated rights and components in order to meet compliance. Unqualified teachers may not have the training and/or knowledge to be able to develop, write and implement IEPs that meet compliance standards. In this study, 103 IEPs were examined to determine percentage of compliance for five mandated rights and ten mandated components pursuant to IDEA. Data were also analyzed to determine whether teachers who were fully licensed and had more experience working with students with disabilities wrote IEPs with fewer violations in comparison with teachers who held provisional licenses and had fewer years of experience. Results indicated that out of the 103 IEPs reviewed for the study, none met compliance standards 100% of the time for any mandated right or component. However, mandated rights had higher percentages of compliance than mandated components. Results also suggest that teachers who were fully licensed with fewer years of experience had fewer violations than experienced teachers who were fully licensed, and that teachers who were fully licensed had fewer violations than those teachers who were provisionally licensed.