Gallaudet University, authorized by the Education of the Deaf Act of 1986 (EDA), as amended, is a federally chartered, private, nonprofit educational institution providing elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and continuing education programs for persons who are deaf. The University offers a traditional liberal arts curriculum for students who are deaf and graduate programs in fields related to deafness for students who are deaf and students who are hearing. Gallaudet also conducts a wide variety of basic and applied deafness research and provides public service programs for persons who are deaf and professionals who work with persons who are deaf. To increase the effectiveness of its instructional programs, the University provides communications training, counseling and other support services for its students.
Gallaudet operates two federally funded elementary and secondary education programs. The Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) operates an elementary school for children who are deaf, and the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) provides secondary education programs for students who are deaf. The federal government funds these programs in order to support the development, evaluation, and dissemination of model curricula, instructional techniques and strategies, and materials that can be used in a variety of educational environments serving individuals who are deaf and individuals who are hard of hearing throughout the nation.
The Education of the Deaf Act requires MSSD and KDES to include students preparing for postsecondary opportunities other than college and students with a broad spectrum of needs, such as students who are lower achieving academically, come from non-English speaking homes, have secondary disabilities, are member of minority groups, or are from rural areas. The EDA also requires the elementary and secondary education programs to ensure that special education and related services provided to children enrolled in these programs by their parents are in accordance with Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
For children placed by a local educational agency (LEA), that agency is responsible for ensuring that special education and related services are provided to those children in accordance with Part B of IDEA. The EDA also makes specific procedural safeguards from the IDEA applicable to parentally placed children at KDES or MSSD that would not otherwise apply because they are not placed by their LEA.s.