November 29, 2020, marks the 45th anniversary of President Gerald Ford signing the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) into law. The 1990 amendment to Public Law 94-142 changed the law’s name to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

OSERS created an IDEA 45 Anniversary webpage to capture the history of IDEA, highlight stories from parents and students, and provide additional resources. 

Some highlights from the past 45 years include;

  • The number infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities from birth through age 21 served under the IDEA has increased from 3,694,000 in the 1976-77 school year to 7,539,553 in the 2018-19 school year.

  • In 2018-19, 95% of students with disabilities were educated in a school. More than 6 million students with disabilities received services in a general education classroom at least part of the day.

  • The number of infant and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C has increased from 154,065 in 1993-94 to 410,887 in 2018-19.

  • The percent of students with disabilities exiting school ages 14 through 21 who graduated with a regular diploma has increased from 52% in the 1994-95 school year to 72.7% in the 2017-18 school year.

  • The percent of students with disabilities exiting school ages 14 through 21 who dropped out has decreased from 34% in the 1994-95 school year to 16% in the 2017-18 school year.