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Inclusion in Action: The lawyer, teacher, and organizer Maggie Moroff on the fight to make New York City schools more accessible

07.26.2017 | Guernica | In 1975, Congress enacted what is now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law granting all children the right to a “free appropriate public education” in the “least restrictive environment.” The statute’s implications are profound: students with a range of disabilities are entitled to specially designed services, and, as much as possible, they must be educated in mainstream classrooms. About 6.5 million children across the US now receive special-education services. Under the IDEA, parents, school staff, and other professionals work together to craft an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each eligible student. An IEP defines a student’s learning needs and the supports the school will minister, providing parents a legal basis to advocate for their children. If a dispute arises, parents may seek mediation or request a due-process hearing. However, for many low-income and minority families, these protections remain abstractions... For forty years, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) has worked to realize the ideals of the IDEA by representing low-income families in school-related proceedings. Read article