Different but Complementary Objectives



Type:  Civil rights, non-discrimination statute

Type:  Education entitlement statute

Services:  “level playing field”- eliminates barriers that exclude persons with disabilities.

Services:  “remedial measures” – often requires the provision of programs and services in addition to those available to persons with disabilities under Section 504

Service Tool:  Reasonable accommodations in a 504 Plan.

Service Tool:  Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Funding:  Local; no federal funding

Funding:  Local, state and federal funding

Responsibility:  State Education Agency (SEA) and Local Education Agency (LEA) receiving federal funds.

Responsibility:  SEAs and LEAs receiving federal funds, in addition to educational agencies seeking to obtain funds under IDEA.

Applies to:  Individuals who have or have had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or who are regarded by others as having a disability. Need not adversely affect educational performance. All students who are eligible for special education services under IDEA are also eligible for services under Section 504. Broader coverage than IDEA.

Applies to:  All children ages 3 through 21 (i.e., 22nd birthday) who: (1) fall within one or more specific categories of qualifying disabilities; (2) whose disability adversely impacts their educational progress in the general curriculum; and (3) who is in need of special education and related services to access, and progress in, the general curriculum.

Fiscal considerations:  Financial burden may be a defense to provision of certain accommodations and services.

Fiscal considerations:  Financial burden is not a justification for failing to provide accommodations and services.

Evaluations:  Draws on information and data from variety of sources. No triennial required, just periodic reevaluations. No IEE available. Requires reevaluation before change in placement.

Evaluations:  Full and comprehensive initial evaluation by multi-disciplinary team. Independent Education Evaluations available at district’s expense, if parents disagree with district’s evaluation. Requires reevaluation at least once every three years, or if conditions warrant, or if parents/teachers request.

Decision making:  By knowledgeable individuals, including parents.

Decision making:  By IEP team, of which parents are full partners.

“Appropriate”:  Comparable to the education provided to students who do not have a disability.

“Appropriate”:  Designed to provide “educational benefit.”

Least restrictive environment (LRE) requirements applicable to both


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