All Means All – Duncan Addresses IDEA Conference

All means all, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said during his keynote address to the IDEA Leadership Conference last week. “Children with disabilities are a part of, not separate from, the general education population,” he said.

IDEA Conference LogoThe annual gathering brings together Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B State Directors, IDEA Part C Coordinators, Preschool Coordinators, Parent Center leaders, and other Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) technical assistance providers, and aims to support better outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families. There are more than six million children with disabilities in the U.S. and Duncan noted that there is still work still to be done to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities.

One of Duncan’s priorities during his second term is President Obama’s Preschool for All plan. Duncan said that through the plan “we have an opportunity to give every child in America an equal chance to succeed.”

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has a long, successful history of ensuring that infants, toddlers and preschoolers with disabilities have access to early education services. We will use what we have learned from those programs as we move forward in supporting the development of high-quality preschool programs for 4-year-olds.

Currently, of the nearly 746,000 preschool children served in IDEA-funded preschool programs, about 35 percent are in segregated settings. We want to see all children participating fully in quality, inclusive programs.

Duncan said that the Preschool for All proposal will result in more inclusive early education options for preschoolers with disabilities. This increase in options will help to identify children with disabilities earlier, giving them a strong start.

Read the entire speech by Secretary Duncan and visit the 2013 IDEA Leadership Conference page and the TA&D Network for more information and resources.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education 


  1. Admins, I think that Administration people need to go and that Principals can do just as good a job if not better depending on their attitude. I know Admins pit parent against parent and boardmembers against parent. Its all about the Administration and to hay with students and parents. I think the money spent on a years salary of an administrator could put at least 10 more teachers to work. This would give students more quality time with the teacher. The top three Admins now all three retired take up 80% of the first million dollar expenditure. If a business was ran the way the educational systems is, the business would go broke. Our children are a product of a broken system. I don’t think enough is being done to educate any child let alone the children with disabilities.

  2. The communiques regarding the Secretary are excellent. Can you add a feature so that they are easily forward via email to colleagues? I am able to do this with retail information but these updates are quite a bit more important.

  3. Until ALL students are afforded an appropriate education based on individual needs like those given to students protected under IDEA, schools will continue to undermine and ignore the needs of some students in order to serve others. There is only so much money in a budget, so mandated provisions for the minority of students comes first then whats left over gets put towards the majority. I’ve seen so many programs & services for regular students cut over the years so that a greater and greater percentage of the budget can support special education. My district now spends 50% of its budget on 1000 students while the other 50% has to be divided among 8000 students. How about addressing what is reasonable?

    • I agree with Vicki a great deal; however, what I’ve seen is administrators who seem to pit special ed parents against gifted and talented parents, even though the groups can overlap. My own opinion is that administrators do this to divert parents’ and the communities’ attention away from how much is spent on administration and how little we often get for our dollar when paying for administrative services.

      I have no objection to money being spent on special education. This is critical for their needs. I do object to all of the excess money spent on administrators and strongly believe that the U.S. DOE, who can’t directly tell school districts to spend less on administrators, ought to out the adminstrators by publishing information on how much is truly spent that could be redirected toward professionals who provide services directly to students. In my district, you can’t even find information online about how many administrators there truly are.

      I further object when special education money is diverted to other than special education students. Too often, the teachers’ aid assigned to a special education child becomes a teachers’ aid for the entire classroom.

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