Legislation Affecting Education

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act replaces No Child Left Behind, rejecting the overuse of standardized tests and one-size-fits-all mandates in our schools.

States and school districts will be required to include in their plans a description regarding how professional development funds will be used to improve the teaching skills of school professionals toward identifying the specific learning needs of gifted students and tailoring academic instruction to those needs. These same skills can be applied to making arrangements and plans for students with TS who may be capable of performing on a high level but are not doing well in school due to tics or common related symptoms.

Since ESSA is a civil rights law, it provides protections for students with disabilities. Many students with TS are determined to not be eligible for IEPs or 504 Plans. However, this law is for all students, not just those who are eligible for special education services.

U.S Department of Education ESSA overview


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 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 needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living” and “to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected….” Section 1400 (d)(1)

IDEA’s Affects on State Regulations

Every state must develop regulations that follow federal guidelines established by the IDEA. These state guidelines may exceed federal guidelines but cannot be more restrictive. You can obtain a copy of your state regulations and other publications from your state’s Department of Education (parent guide, IEP guidelines, discipline, etc.).

Special Education According to the IDEA

Special Education is defined as “specially designed instruction at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.” See also TS and IDEA.

Individualized Education Program

Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), designed specifically for that student. The IEP is developed by teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) documenting the specific supports school personnel will be provided to enable the child to meet individualized academic and functional goals.

The IEP Team must consider:

  • The strengths of the child;
  • The concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child;
  • The results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child;
  • The academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child.

Related Page:

Education Advocacy Basics

Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and Children Preparing for 504/IEP Meetings