Child and her craft
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden

There is general consensus that the IDEA has made tremendous strides toward improving the education of students with disabilities. Today, more than six million students benefit from IDEA funding, and the integration of students has proven critical to students who have disabilities, as well as those who do not. It is commonly believed that integration fosters understanding and tolerance, better preparing students of all abilities to function in the world beyond school. According to one advocacy group: IDEA ensures that children with disabilities may attend public schools alongside their peers.

In addition, post-school employment rates for individuals served under the IDEA are twice those of older adults with similar disabilities who did not have the benefit of the IDEA. Further, postsecondary school enrollments among individuals with disabilities have also increased; the percentage of first-year college students reporting disabilities has more than tripled since 1978.