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Does IDEA 2004 Contain Substantial Changes from NCLB (No Child Left Behind)?

Updated on September 16, 2013
How does IDEA 2004 related to NCLB?
How does IDEA 2004 related to NCLB? | Source

According to Smith as cited in Byrnes (2011), the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does have some significant changes but will primarily make clarifications to the previous legislation (p. 41). For example, Smith notes that IDEA 2004 will not make significant changes, but will not affect the day-to-day practices of the special education teachers. According to Byrnes, the primary differences of IDEA 2004 are found in six areas: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) inclusion, identifying students with disabilities, flexibility, the elimination of short-term objectives, emphasis on transition and disciplinary proceedings (p. 23).

Of most interest to this writer, was that IDEA 2004 reiterated the importance and significance of referring, evaluating and determining the eligibility of students who have possible learning issues, and then creating an individualized education program for needed students (Byrnes, p. 35). One important component of IDEA 2004 is that special education teachers should be qualified not only be state certified, but also be certified in the specific subject matters that they teach (Byrnes, pp. 36-37).

With regard to the Americans with Diabilities Act (ADA) and the college student, ADA requires schools o train teachers to better work with students who have disabilities. While the federal government has not yet proved to cover the associated costs of the training, the cost is therefore transferred to other college students as well. Training may include such items as allowing students to have a longer deadline or training teachers to discuss disabilities sensitively. Similarly, Smith as cited in Byrnes (2011) notes that Congress has not yet to reach their promised 40% funding promise, which therefore means then added cost of implementation will be passed on in student fees and admission costs (p. 37).


Byrnes, M. (2011). Taking sides: Clashing views in special education. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.


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