* In the year 1975 with the passage of landmark federal legislation, PL 94-142 establishing free, appropriate education for all, covers ages 3 through 21 requires that every state locality must have a plan to ensure :
- CHILD IDENTIFICATION: Extreme efforts must be made to screen and identify all handicapped children.
- FULL AT NO COST: Every handicapped child must be assured an appropriate public education at no cost to parents and guardian.
- DUE PROCESS: The child and parents rights to information and informed consents must be assured before the child is evaluated, labeled or placed and they have a right to an impartial due process hearing if they disagree with the schools decision.
- L.R.E: The child must be educated in the least restrictive environment that is consistent with his or her educational needs and as far as possible with non-handicapped children.
- IEP: A written IEP ( Individual Education Plan ) must be prepared for each handicapped child. The program must state present levels of functioning, long and short term goal, services to be provided and plans for initiating and evaluating the services.
- NON DISCRIMINARY EVALUATION: The child must be evaluated in the areas of suspected disability and in a way that is not biased by the child’s language or cultural characterization or handicaps. Evaluation must be by a multidisciplinary team and no single evaluation procedure must be used on the sole criterion for placement or planning.
- CONFIDENTIALITY: The results of evaluation/ placement must be kept confidential though the child’s parents or guardian may have access to the records.
- PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT – In service: Training must be provided for teachers and other professional personals, including in-service training for regular teachers in meeting the needs of handicapped students.
- PARENT GUARDIAN SURROGATE CONSULTATION: The child’s parents or guardian must be consulted about the child’s evaluation and placement and the education plan and if the parents are unknown or unavailable, a surrogate parents to act for the must be found.
* PL 94-142 evolved into what is now called the INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT ( I.D.E.A ), PL 101-476, with added emphasis on early preventation and planning. Today the law is clear: No child may be denied a free and appropriate public education.
**The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 proved to be the catalyst that served to pave the road towards the creation of what we now call SPECIAL EDUCATION.