At a Glance

About the Author

About the Author

Andrew M.I. Lee, JD 

is an editor and former attorney who strives to help people understand complex legal, education, and parenting issues.

No Child Left Behind:

The current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—the principal federal law affecting public education from kindergarten through high school in the United States. Often referred to as NCLB.

special education:

Specially designed instruction, provided at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. It can include specialized activities in gym, music and arts education and specialized instruction in the classroom, home or other settings.

adequate yearly progress:

The minimum level of improvement that states, school districts and schools must achieve each year under a federal law called the No Child Left Behind Act.

research-based instruction:

Curriculum and educational interventions that have been proven—in independent studies—to be effective for most students.

general education curriculum:

The knowledge and skills that all students in the state are expected to master.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:

The federal law that guarantees all children with disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education. Often referred to as IDEA.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act:

A federal law that requires a school district to provide a free and appropriate public education to each child with a disability in the district.


Short for Individualized Education Program. A plan that details the support and services (such as speech therapy or multisensory reading instruction) a school will provide to meet the individual needs of a student with a disability who qualifies for special education.