Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004):
IDEA 2004 is a federal law that secures special education services for children with disabilities. The purpose of the IDEA 2004 is to “ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique need and prepare them for further education . . .” The CPSE and CSE must follow the law and regulations of IDEA and New York State education law, which differs from IDEA 2004 in certain respects. For more information on federal and state laws and regulations, go online to the NYSED special education website
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against an individual with a disability. Section 504 ensures that the child with a disability has equal access to an education. A child may receive accommodations and modifications without being classified for special education, unlike IDEA, which requires classification. The 504 team determines the Section 504 accommodations for the student.
Section 504 does not require the school to provide an IEP. In addition, fewer procedural safeguards are available to children with disabilities and their parents than under IDEA. Also unlike IDEA, the regulations for Section 504 do not require that parents are to be a part of the decision-making committee. See the websites referenced below for additional information regarding Section 504.