Under IDEA, students with disabilities are entitled to receive special educational services through their local school district from age 3 to age 18 or 21. Special education programs at the district level are structured upon a special needs preschool programs federalism model and therefore governed by both state and federal law.
IDEA is frequently described as a model of cooperative federalism. It leaves to the States the primary responsibility for developing and executing educational programs for handicapped children, imposes significant requirements to be followed in the discharge of that responsibility. Disputes over the application of the law begin at the local school district and travel through an administrative law process that is subject to judicial review. Furthermore, aspects of special education law rest on evolving civil rights jurisprudence. The LRE requirement is intended to prevent unnecessary segregation of students with disabilities, and is based on Congress’ finding students with disabilities tend to have more success when they remain with or have access to typical peers. Although students should be educated in their LRE according to the law.