IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Special Education Services and Response to Intervention: What, Why, and How?

Listed author(s):
  • Sharla N. Fasko


Registered author(s):

    Recently there has been an ongoing, at times acrimonious, discussion about the newest incarnation of the federal law that mandates special services for children with disabilities. At the heart of the controversy is a relatively new evaluation model referred to as Response to Intervention (RTI). Advocates and stakeholders have been very vocal in their opinions, leaving those down on the frontlines puzzled and confused. Teachers in particular are feeling frustration over yet another, seemingly arbitrary change in the red tape of special education, about which no one has consulted them or even really bothered to explain. Historically, teachers have felt, not unreasonably, a bit victimized by special education law. In 1975, they were told to step aside, that they were not skilled enough to teach children with special needs. Teachers were given a clear message that their role was to keep alert for disabled children and send them on to the experts. Over time, that message has transformed into something quite different; now they hear that they are evading their responsibility by pushing children onto the special education rolls. In addition, procedures for referrals have modified almost yearly; just when they understand the process, it changes. The purpose of this paper is to examine the circumstances that led up to the conception of RTI, and why many people believe it is a significant but necessary change to special education law. In order to understand the rationale behind RTI, it must be examined in the context of the federal laws which necessitated its creation, beginning with Public Law 94-142 (also known as the Education for Handicapped Act, or EHA, passed in 1975), and its subsequent reauthorizations, the most recent of which is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, or IDEIA. For purposes of brevity in this paper, the original act and its descendants will be collectively referred to as IDEIA, unless an issue specific to one particular version is under discussion.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Nonpartisan Education Review in its journal Nonpartisan Education Review.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 9 ()
    Pages: 1-7

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:teg:journl:v:2:y:2006:i:9:p:1-7
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:teg:journl:v:2:y:2006:i:9:p:1-7. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard P. Phelps)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.