Across locales, there was little variation in 2003–04 in the percentage of public school students identified with disabilities that were addressed through an Individual Education Program (IEP).
In 2003–04, approximately 6.1 million public school students across the United States were identified with disabilities that were addressed through an Individual Education Program (IEP) (table 1.11). This number represented about 13 percent of the total number of public school students. An IEP is required for all public school students with an identified disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). IDEA is intended to "support states and localities in protecting the rights of, meeting the individual needs of, and improving the educational outcomes of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families" (U.S. Department of Education 2006).
Generally, there was little variation among the percentages of public school students with an IEP in the different locales (the percentages ranged from 12 to 14 percent). The percentages of such students in towns and rural areas who had an IEP (14 and 13 percent, respectively) were higher than in suburban areas (12 percent).