I join the Obama Administration and many of my colleagues in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Before 1970, over one million students with disabilities were excluded from public schools. Thanks to the tireless work of advocates, today over six million children are served through special education programs in public schools.
While we take this week to celebrate the progress of students with disabilities, we cannot slow down. Although students with disabilities are seeing greater success in K-12, there are still many barriers in terms of ensuring a smooth transition to inclusive postsecondary education and employment. This week I sent a letter to the Department of Education requesting increased access to information and improved data collection for students with disabilities so there are fewer obstacles to success in college.
While the current online federal resources to help students navigate the college decision process are helpful, none exist for students with disabilities. By making small changes to the existing surveys from the Department of Education, we can help students and families access more information about disability services on campus.