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Manual Offers Guidance on IDEA and NCLB (ESEA)

Two massive federal education laws, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), hold a multitude of requirements and expectations for every state and every local district in the country. The National Education Association and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education have joined together to produce IDEA and NCLB: Intersection of Access and Outcomes to provide guidance to states and local school district leaders who will be responsible for the implementation of both laws.

The guide is intended to serve many purposes, including:

  • Clarifying which provisions of NCLB (ESEA) reference IDEA and impact the education of students with disabilities
  • Raising key issues that need to be considered regarding the intersection of IDEA and NCLB (ESEA)
  • Exploring how IDEA's reauthorization is affected by NCLB (ESEA)

In the manual's introduction, authors Patti Ralabate of the NEA and Beth Foley of NASDSE note that soon after IDEA's initial enactment in1975, its impact was felt in every school district in the country.

"Its effect was trumped, however, on January 8, 2002, as President Bush signed into law the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known officially as the 'No Child Left Behind Act of 2001' (NCLB). The most sweeping reform since the law was first enacted in 1965, NCLB redefines the federal role in K-12 education and seeks to close the achievement gap between children who live in poverty and their peers."

The introduction and content outline of the manual are available here, as well as the complete "IDEA and NCLB: Intersection of Access and Outcomes" (PDF, 1.43MB, 47 pages ).


  • anc_dyn_linksThe Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) - Old
    NEA's main NCLB/ESEA section