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Public education for disabled children: a quarter-century of progress
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Dec. 5, 2000 -- The proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Education contains a proposed 28 percent increase in funding for "special education," the Wall Street Journal reported last Wednesday -- the largest increase of any Education Dept. program.

Twenty-five years ago last week, Public Law 92-142, known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, was signed into law, so that children with disabilities in the United States would have educational opportunities equal to students who do not have disabilities.

In 1997, that law was revised and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

While The Washington Post and USA Today both did stories on Pres. Clinton's proclamation on the 25th anniversary of the law, The St. Louis Post Dispatch went further, with reporter Holly Hacker reporting how St. Louis, Missouri and Indiana school systems fared in a U.S. Dept. of Education report released last on the Act's anniversary. The Post-Dispatch reported that, according to the report, "nearly half of U.S. children with disabilities spent at least 80 percent of the day in regular classrooms. By contrast, about 35 percent of disabled children in Missouri and Illinois spent that much time in regular classrooms."

The Evansville Courier & Press looked at how the IDEA has changed the lives of children with disabilities in Indiana: "DISABLED STUDENTS IN MAINSTREAM" is available online at html

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