In this paper, we will discuss The Education for All Handicapped Children Act also known as Public Law (PL) 94-142 of 1975. This piece of legislation encompasses many aspects of equal opportunity in education for handicapped children, ranging from individualized education programs, assessments, available technology, resources, placement, curriculum, evaluations, and learning environment. We will also evaluate the history of this law, providing insight about how it became what it is today. In addition to reviewing amendments of the law over time, we will discuss the law and its relationship with disabled students (regardless of the intensity of their disability). Finally, we will review the implications of the law as it relates to classroom management, instruction, and its impact on students and teachers alike.
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA or EHA), or Public Law (PL) 94-142 of 1975 mandated any school receiving federal funds to provide a free, appropriate public education for all children between the ages of five and 21, regardless of emotional or physical disabilities. Public schools were required to evaluate these children and formulate a plan to educate them in a way comparable to their non-handicapped peers. PL 94-142 also required an individualized education program (IEP) for every student with a disability. The program should be based on a multi-disciplinary assessment and incorporate any related services necessary to help that child. The IEP included both short-term and long-term goals for the student. The school had to take steps to ensure that each student classroom placement was in the most normal setting possible providing a non-restrictive environment (LRE) for the child.
PL 94-142 specified that children's testing be done in a non-discriminatory manner and took into account the child’s disability, including that of a different native language.
The act allowed the parents to become more involved in the testing and placement of their children. In addition, parents must give their consent before any evaluations or placement decisions. PL 94-142 also required that school districts provide administrative procedures so that parents of disabled children could dispute decisions made about their children’s education.
In 1975, the US Congress passed and President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA). This Act allowed a free and appropriate public education to all children age five to 21. In 1986, an amendment to the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, extended benefits to children from the ages of zero through five. Later in 1990, another amendment, changing the name of the Act to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), defined assistive technology devices, and services for children with disabilities including the individual education plan. It also ensured that special education children with disabilities participate in...