Benchmark Name: Least Restrictive Environment

Basic Summary of Benchmark: The Least Restrictive Environment is a part of the U.S. Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that deals with mainstreaming in the classroom. It states that students with disabilities should be educated alongside non-disabled peers as much seen appropriate. The idea is that disabled students should have the same opportunities as their non-handicapped peers to learn from the same educational curriculum and have access to the same extracurricular activities. Depending on the child's individual needs, supplimentary aids and services should be provided to ensure that the learning environment is workable for all students as well as the teacher. It is only when a disabled child's performance is viewed to be unsatisfactory in the classroom that other arrangements can be made.

Key Manifestations: By incorporating disabled students into "regular" classrooms these students are given equal educational and social opportunities, as well as a better chance at attending college.

Key Personnel: Steve Krasner, Donna-Lee Rulli

Why/How a benchmark? The Least Restrictive Environment law is a benchmark in education because it strives to treat all children equally and to provide children with disabilities the chance to work alongside non-disabled peers and have access to the same activities both inside and outside of the classroom.

Links: http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/lre/lre2.htm