The History of Special Education

Included in this timeline are court cases, cultural changes, and legislation that affect the creation and evolution of special education. What changes in our society and government made special education into what we know of today?

Created by Ashley Pittman for SPED 6706 at the University of West Georgia. Course Instructor is Dr. B

The Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments of 1970

(P.L. 91-517) The amendments to the Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction law already in place included broad responsibilities for a state planning and advisory council to plan and implement a comprehensive program of services for persons with developmental disabilities. In addition, the legislation authorized grants to support interdisciplinary training in institutions of higher education of personnel providing services to persons with developmental disabilities (currently known as university affiliated programs).

Arlington Central School District Board of Education v. Murphy

This case reaffirmed that the school board must pay for private schooling for students with disabilities to be in accordance with IDEA.

Final release of details for the Education for All Hanicapped Children Act

Final details and regulations are released that delineate and provide a set of rules that school districts must follow when providing an education for students with disabilities.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)

(P. L. 89-10) This law provided a comprehensive plan for readdressing the inequality of educational opportunity for economically underprivileged children. It became the basis upon which early special education legislation was drafted.

John F. Kennedy's "National Plan to Combat Mental Retardation"

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy gathered a distinguished panel of experts to develop "A National Plan to Combat Mental Retardation." Kennedy made a speech to the Congress of the United States in 1963, where he announced the findings and asked for support for new resources to address the needs of people with mental retardation and mental illness: the Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Act, which granted $265 million in federal aid over five years to support programs for the mentally retarded, and the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Construction Act, which granted $330 million over five years for new buildings to serve disabled citizens.

John F. Kennedy's Bills Become Law

The Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Act, which granted $265 million in federal aid over five years to support programs for the mentally retarded, and the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Construction Act, which granted $330 million over five years for new buildings to serve disabled citizens were signed into law this day by John F. Kennedy.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act Amendments of 1965

(P. L. 89-313) Authorized grants to state institutions and state operated schools devoted to the education of children with disabilities. It was the first Federal grant program specifically targeted for children and youth with disabilities.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1966

(P.L. 89-750) This law amended the Title VI of P.L. 89-10 and established the first federal grant program for the education of children and youth with disabilities at the local school level, rather than at state-operated schools or institutions. It established the Bureau of Education of the Handicapped (BEH) and the National Advisory Council (now called the National Council on Disability).

Mental Retardation Facilities Construction Act of 1963

(P.L. 88-164) This act authorized federal support for the construction of mental retardation research centers, university-affiliated training facilities, and community service facilities for children and adults with mental retardation. This act was passed as part of John F. Kennedy's "New Frontier."

Library Services and Construction Act Amendments of 1966

(P.L. 89-511) The amendment to the already existing Library Services and Construction Act authorized assistance for students with physical or mental disabilities who were in residential schools operated or substantially supported by the state. Also Part B of Title IV of the Act made federal funds available to state agencies for library services for individuals who were certified by a responsible authority as unable to read or to use conventional printed materials as a result of physical limitations. Such services could be provided through public or nonprofit library agencies or organizations.

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