Disabled Education by Ruth Colker Book Summary:
“For the first time, this book tells the stories of the families who set key precedents for children with special needs. It also gives a novel and in-depth description of the political and legislative process of the landmark Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In so doing, Colker offers an unprecedented historical account of this law, while also offering a timely critique and suggestions for reform.” —Julie K. Waterstone, Southwestern Law School Enacted in 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides all children with the right to a free and appropriate public education. On the face of it, the IDEA is a shining example of law’s democratizing impulse. But is that really the case? In Disabled Education, Ruth Colker digs deep beneath the IDEA’s surface and reveals that the IDEA contains flaws that were evident at the time of its enactment that limit its effectiveness for poor and minority children. Through an examination of the evolution of the IDEA, the experiences of children who fought for their education in court, and social science literature on the meaning of “learning disability,” Colker reveals the IDEA’s shortcomings, but also suggests ways in which resources might be allocated more evenly along class lines. Ruth Colker is Distinguished University Professor and Heck-Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law at the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. Previous books include American Law in the Age of Hypercapitalism (NYU Press 1998) and The Disability Pendulum: The First Decade of the Americans with Disabilities Act (NYU Press 2005).