The Behavioral Assessment and Intervention Mandates of the 1997 Amendments to IDEA and Implications for Special Education Programs
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Public education has always been a hot topic in United States politics, and remains one of the areas of public administration in most need of reform. The 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA '97), like most education reform efforts of the 1990s, placed emphasis on assessment and accountability in the special education programs throughout the country. One mandate of IDEA '97 requires that students in special education programs be given functional behavioral assessments and have behavior intervention plans developed for them if behavior problems exist that are destructive to their leaming environment or to the learning environment of others. This study explores the behavioral assessment and intervention mandates of IDEA '97. The purposes of this research are to identify elements of a practical ideal type special education program with regards to treating problem behavior according to IDEA '97 and to use this practical ideal type to gauge whether Texas public schools are in compliance based on the perceptions of Special Education Directors statewide. Furthermore, this study explores the perceptions of these same Directors on how the implementation of the IDEA '97 mandates has progressed in Texas public schools. Survey research was determined the best method to gather statewide data to fulfill the research purposes and surveys were mailed to every Special Education Director in Texas. The findings indicate kom the perspective of these Directors that Texas public schools are in compliance with the IDEA '97 behavioral assessment and intervention mandates. Also, the findings suggest that in meeting compliance, schools were faced with challenges that include primarily resource issues of time and funding.