The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has been the cornerstone of education for children with disabilities since its initial passage in 1975. Since that time, it has had both supporters and critics. Drawing on his extensive experience as a special education hearing officer and a professor of philosophy, Ladenson considers key moral questions at the heart of IDEA. From "free and appropriate public education" and "least restrictive environment" to "zero reject" and public-school suspensions and expulsions, Ladenson deepens readers’ understanding of the moral issues surrounding these tenets while analyzing each through the lens of four philosophical theories. Through critical analysis and logical discourse, he examines how each theory views and supports the tenets. The central concept of each theory and the focus of his analysis is the idea of social justice. Ladenson’s examination challenges readers to examine their own beliefs about the key moral questions. He completes this text with a thoughtful summary of the roles and responsibilities of elected legislators, judges, special education teachers, and parents for the education of students with disabilities. Essential.
Moral Issues in Special Education: An Inquiry into the Basic Rights, Responsibilities, and Ideals provides a very clear and helpful overview of the legal framework in which special education issues are situated in the United States.