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Special Education in Missouri

April 19, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Alan Moss

Executive Summary 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the regulatory framework for special education in the U.S. The purpose of IDEA is to ensure that every child in the U.S. regardless of ability status is provided a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. The interpretation of IDEA has led to public education in the U.S. being more integrated with students with disabilities spending more time in general education classrooms with appropriate accommodations that allow them to learn. Individualized education plans (IEPs) are legal documents describing the accommodations required for students with disabilities along with measurable goals for the student’s education. House Bill 1753, introduced during the 2022 legislative session, would add parental consent provisions to the creation of IEPs. It and other bills, HB 1750 and HB 2010, would change due process procedures for special education hearings, putting the burden of proof on schools. There are also three bills related to special education funding, HB 1469, HB 1750, and HB 1753, which exempt special education reimbursements for high need students from the calculation of aid for schools that have 500 or fewer students. 


  • There are six primary components of IDEA: free and appropriate public education; identification and evaluation; individualized education plans (IEPs); least restrictive environment; procedural safeguards; and parent and student participation.
  • State aid for public schools including special education in Missouri is largely determined by a formula called the weighted average daily attendance.
  • Missouri is the only state to still operate state schools which are entirely state-funded for students with severe disabilities.
  • Sheltered workshops are places where adults with disabilities can participate in supervised work while receiving compensation for their work below minimum wage.
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