Back to school is right around the corner! Everyone should have the right to meaningful, inclusive, and accessible education. Access to education has come a long way for people with disabilities, but there are still many challenges. Some of these challenges are segregation, lack of teacher training, and poor transition planning. The Arc Minnesota has many resources about education. Knowing your rights about education will help you become a powerful self-advocate and help you advocate for others.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, is the federal law that requires states to provide early intervention and special education services to children with disabilities, from birth through age 21. The Arc played a big part in passing the law in the year 1975.
There are 6 principles of IDEA. Click on each principle to learn more.
- Individualized Education Program (IEP)
- Least Restrictive Environment
- Parent and Student Participation
- Procedural Safeguards
Starting at grade 9, transition planning needs to be part of a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program.) Transition planning means that the student and their team begin to think about the change from school to adult life. Some of the things that are focused on during transition planning are daily living activities, education after high school, and employment. Check out The Arc Minnesota’s GetSet! for Transition Checklist.
The West Central Regional Quality Council Transition Work Group wants to hear from parents and teachers to help students transition to adulthood. Scan the QR code to help them understand.
Inclusive Higher Education
The Minnesota Inclusive Higher Education Consortium defines inclusive higher education as a viable and legitimate pathway to and through higher education for students with intellectual disability (ID). It is very important that people with disabilities have the opportunity to attend college, vocational schools, and other post-secondary programs.
Inclusive higher education helps people:
- Earn meaningful credentials
- Have a career that is important to them
- Gain work experience
- Live a fulfilling life
- Make more money
There are nearly 200 colleges and universities in Minnesota. Four of these schools offer enrollment to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). That means less than 3% of people with IDD can have access to post-secondary opportunities.
Expanding access to higher education statewide was a goal of The Arc Minnesota’s 2023 legislative agenda. We are excited that the Minnesota Higher Education Act has passed! This means that there will be money for schools across the state to start or improve inclusive higher education programs. A center that helps schools with best practices for inclusive higher education will also be created.
Disability Justice Principles
Disability justice is a social justice movement that builds off the disability rights movement and centers the leadership of people with disabilities who historically were not included in the disability rights movement, like LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC, women, and immigrants.
The disability justice collective, Sins Invalid, made principles that guide their work. To help people understand how disability justice drives the work we do, self-advocate leaders and staff with The Arc Minnesota made plain language definitions of the principles.