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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Interactions with Selected Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

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Publication Date: February 2008

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL32913

Topic: Education (Education financing, facilities, and equipment)

Type: Report

Coverage: United States United States


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) are two of the most significant federal statutes relating to education. Although both have the goal of improving education -- IDEA for children with disabilities and NCLB for all children -- the two statutes take different approaches. IDEA focuses on the individual child, with an emphasis on developing an individualized education program (IEP) and specific services for children with disabilities, while NCLB takes a more global view, with an emphasis on closing gaps in achievement test scores and raising the aggregate scores of all demographic groups of pupils to specific levels.