The main purpose of the American educational system is to provide the students with the education to their full potential. As the problem of inequality in the American education along with the constantly increasing requirements to the would-be workers remains a rather crucial one in the American society, a thorough analysis of the existing educational laws and their practical implementation seems to be an effective way to improve the situation for better.
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In the present work we will analyze the main concepts of the United States educational laws: the Public Law 94-142 (P. L. 94-142) of 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
The primary purpose of the first two laws is to regulate the norms of the education that the handicapped children are provided with.
The P. L. 94-142 states the right of the handicapped children for education, the States’ protection of these children and the special policy that helps to evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts. The law emphasizes importance of the special education for handicapped children as well as the necessity of the related services that are designed to meet the unique needs of these children.
As well as the previous document, the IDEA is a law that ensures services to children with disabilities throughout the United States. The Act regulates the educational policy related to early intervention, special education and related services to approximately 6.5 million disabled children. The Act guarantees the intervention services for infants, toddlers and their families and special education and related services for the children and youth under the age of 21.
NCLB Act is regarded as the basis for federal education policy. The Act is intended to improve the general quality of American education. This purpose presupposes the following tasks to accomplish: raising the standards of teaching, studying the students’ achievements, establishment of the system of the annual testing of the student’s proficiency, technical assistance for schools which acquires the form of additional funding, support the students who do not meet the stated standards or who have special needs.
As we can see, all the educational laws under consideration aim at improving the quality of education. Having the same purpose, they differ in the students that the concepts are intended for. Whereas the first two acts have the handicapped students as the main target of their policy, the third Act establishes the policy for all students with only a few remarks about the students who have special needs.
The P. L. 94-142 and the IDEA resulted in the improvement of the students’ performance. The main evidence of this fact is the increase of the graduation rate. The employment rate among youth with disabilities has also increased significantly. Nowadays, the employment rate for youth who served under these laws is twice of those who did not benefit from them. The thing is that the handicapped people feel their importance for the society. Consequently, their motivation increases, what contributes to the graduation and employment rate.
Among all achievements that NCLB has, increasing the quality of the education by decreasing the quantity is one of the most important one. The scientifically based research practices in the classrooms proclaimed by the Act, as well as parent involvement programs and professional development activities encourage the students to learn what contributes to the overall proficiency of the students.
We are inclined to believe that the laws under consideration should be modified according to the changes in society. It means that the laws should be constantly amended with regards to concrete regions of the state. As for the first two laws we believe that they should broaden its target audience and as for the third one, it, on the contrary, needs to pay more attention to the group of students who have special needs.
We suppose that with implementation of these recommendations the laws we have studied above will enhance the development of the educational system more sufficiently than it was done before.
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