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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 29, 2000


Today I join millions of Americans in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) -- a landmark civil rights law that opens the doors to education and success for more than six million American children each year. As we recognize this milestone, we know that education is the key to our children's future, and it is the IDEA that ensures all children with disabilities have access to a free appropriate public education. We have seen tremendous progress over the past 25 years -- students with disabilities are graduating from high school, completing college, and entering the competitive workforce in record numbers -- and we must continue this progress over the next 25 years and beyond.

The benefits of the IDEA stretch far beyond just those with disabilities. The new technologies and teaching methods developed to assist students with disabilities are improving education for all students. Three-quarters of children with disabilities are learning in classrooms alongside their non-disabled peers, contributing to the diversity that is one of America's greatest strengths. This level of success would not be possible without the dedicated involvement of parents and educators who are committed to a strong educational system for all children, and I salute their dedication and accomplishments.

In this time of record prosperity, with more opportunities for success than ever before, we must ensure that all of our children have the education that will allow them to go to college, get good jobs, and play active roles in their communities. America's ongoing commitment to this principle, embodied in the IDEA, is both an economic and moral imperative for our future.