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Laws Relevant to Special Education in Charter Schools

The following overview of federal education laws as they pertain to special education is intended to be an orientation for those who are not familiar with this legislation and its regulations.

The federal laws and regulations that are most relevant for implementing special education are the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

IDEA provides federal financial assistance to state educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide special education and related services to eligible children with disabilities. Every state receives these federal funds and must follow all of IDEA's specific guidelines, including those for an evaluation to determine if students are eligible for special education and/or related services.