Special education was developed more than a century ago to met the instructional needs of students considered exceptional or special. Since that time, there have been two types of education: special and general. "Although special education is technically a subsystem of general education, in effect a dual system has operated, each with its gown pupils, teachers, supervisory staff, and funding system."" While there has been attempts to change this structure in, the structure continues to remain. Many feel that this structure is unfair, unequal and inefficient. Some feel that a unified system that is based on a expanded collaboration model is needed. "This increased type of collaboration, or merger, would involve incorporating all the resources and services (e.g., funding, curriculum, personnel) from both the general and special educational systems."" .
Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act currently known as the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) in 1975. This law was reauthorize in 1997 and has changed the face of public education in the United States and continues to influence reform in education today. IDEA specifies that all children, including those with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education. "Critical to IDEA legislation is the concept of least restrictive environment. This phrase means that students with disabilities must be educated in the setting least removed from the general education classroom. "In general, and to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or removal or children with disabilities from the regular educational .
environment occurs only when the nature or severity in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactory.