Peacock Scholarship

Effective Intervention and Referral Service Teams: Implication for Change and their Impact on Reducing Referrals to Special Education

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On December 2, 1975, President Ford signed into law Public Law (P.L) 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which guaranteed the right of a free, appropriate education to handicapped children. Many interpreted this law to mean that handicapped children would be given their right to receive an equal educational opportunity. However, Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under this law means more than equal (Zirkel, 2005, p. 2) and as a result, by 1984, 9 years after the law passed, the number of special education students increased by 500,000 (Triano, 2000, p. 2). In 2016, the 38th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) reported that the number of students being served ages 3 to 5 in 2014 was 753,697, and ages 6 through 21 was 5,944,241. To say that we have over-classified students as disabled would be an understatement. The state of New Jersey formed committees of building and school-based teams in an effort to provide support to students in general education that need assistance but may not need more intensive services under special education. In an effort to reduce classifications, New Jersey initiated new regulations for Intervention and Referral Services (I & RS) for General Education Pupils, New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) 6:26, in 2001.

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