chapter  11
Confusing Each With All: A Policy Warning
WithMartin J. Kaufman, Linda M. Lewis
Pages 22

The 1997 amendments to the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, PL 105-17) have dramatically altered the environment of policy in special education, and revealed policy tensions and issues that augur to muddle the continued emergence of deep re-formation of our nation’s schools. Examination of these changes in the context of five policy goals underlying general and special education reform reveals a host of paradoxes and conflicting reference points, values, beliefs, and assumptions related to the sum of general and special education reforms and policy issues-with a disturbing view of the comprehensive effect. The reauthorization of IDEA provides ample evidence from a policy perspective that, utilizing a metaphor from Lester Thurow’s (1997) recent book The Future of Capitalism, we have entered a “period of punctuated equilibrium” in federal special education policy.