The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides continual professional development, advocates for newly and historically underserved individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.
CEC is the recognized leader in advocacy for special education policy. CEC has a long history of success in impacting policy and legislation in the special education, gifted and talented and general education areas. CEC played a large part in developing the predecessor of today's IDEA, then known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (PL 94-142). This law established the right to a free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities.