Exploring the Paths of Missouri's Special Education

About 40 years ago, the Individuals with Disabilities Acts, or IDEA, radically changed special education throughout the United States. Many of these changes involved including students into the general education classroom buildings, closing many fully state funded schools for the disabled. Missouri, the last state with these schools, still has 34 of them.

KBIA

Note: In an earlier version of the text version of this story we incorrectly attributed numerous quotes to Terry Belden, the executive director of the Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education.  In fact these quotations should have been attributed to Steven Belden, the president of the Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education. This story has been updated to reflect the correction. 

 

Special education is complicated. There are so many different factors to consider- the environment, the teachers, the therapies and other services. So even though the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act passed 40 years ago and provided a framework for the country, it’s still left up to each state to come up with their own best practices.

Historically, special education and general education have been handled very differently, even separately. But now one organization in Missouri is working alongside a few other states in hopes to change that.

  

This is the fifth and final installment of the series “Exploring the paths of Missouri’s special education.” You can find the other four stories here and check back there next week for a more in-depth web version of this coverage.


Exploring the Paths of Missouri’s Special Education: A Study

Apr 28, 2015

  In 2006, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt asked the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to “examine best practices around the country for improving the delivery of services” for children with severe disabilities. The department commissioned a study which questioned the placement of children with disabilities in Missouri and other states.


Heather Adams / KBIA

Since 1975 schools have been mandated by law to provide free, appropriate education to all children, leaving states and schools to figure out what this means for educating children with special needs.The first school for the deaf in the United States opened in the early 1800’ s in Hartford, Connecticut.Since then new educational opportunities and laws have created a wide range of choices for students with disabilities.When Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, passed in 2006, there was a push for more inclusive education.This meant the closure of many separate, state - funded schools for the disabled across the country and new integration for children in standard public schools.But Missouri still has 34 state schools for the severely disabled. 


Exploring the Paths of Missouri's Special Education: A History

Apr 13, 2015

When Genise Montecello was growing up her brother was separated from his peers and taken to a classroom off to the side, which she remembers being about the size of a broom closet. Her brother has a disability and she feels his education wasn’t seen as important because of this.

“People don’t remember to take into account students with disabilities and their accommodations they might need,” Montecello said. “So, it happens more frequently than people would believe that it does.”

Exploring the Paths of Missouri's Special Education: A Primer

Apr 7, 2015

Experts and parents alike have been confused on whether Missouri is really the last state to have separate, state funded schools for the severely disabled.

When Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, passed in 2006, the U.S. witnessed a rapid change in special education, including a push for more inclusive education. This meant the closure of many of these separate schools across the country, but Missouri still has 34.

This story is one of five in a series, "Exploring the Paths of Missouri's Special Education." Check for an update next week, where you’ll find a story on the history of special education across the nation, and here at home.