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Children, Disabilities and Equal Educational Opportunities

            Education is the one of the most effective ways to end the cycle of discrimination against children with disabilities, so why is it not being given the funding or attention it warrants? Recently, funding cuts on both federal and state levels have made it impossible to give disabled children the educational opportunities they desperately need to become independent and successful adults. However, some private organizations are trying to make these children feel included in society. Children with disabilities deserve a fighting chance and being denied educational opportunities in a world that already discriminates against them is truly unjust, so additional educational programs and services for disabled children need to be given greater importance.
             People living with disabilities have always been marginalized in society. While conditions for them have improved over time, adequate importance is still not placed on educational opportunities for children with disabilities. Throughout history disabled children have not been given the same opportunities as most. This discrimination is especially apparent in education. Before the late 1900s disabled children were not even given the option to go to school. However, two influential court cases, PARC v. Pennsylvania (1972) and Mills v. D.C. Board of Education (1972) were revolutionary in terms uncovering the serious injustices in special education (Thornton). Although no federal law was ever enacted, in both cases it was ruled that children with disabilities should have equal access to public education. These cases prompted the federal government to consider special education as a serious issue. Soon after these influential court cases, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) was created in 1975. IDEA stated that children with disabilities should be provided a free and appropriate education. This act, while a step in the right direction, was not specific about how schools should change their educational environment to be accessible for special needs children.

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