Future Reflections April 1982, Vol. 1 No. 3

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We are living in a time when legislation supporting social programs is being challenged. Many of these programs are being scrapped, others
weakened through decreased funding and/or weakened legislation and regulations. PL-94-142 is no exception. This law essentially protects and assures the right of every handicapped child to a free appropriate public education in the "least restrictive" environment, and the right of parents to be equal partners in determining the best educational placement for their child.

Some of the activities and proposed changes are as follows:

--President Reagan proposes to combine the State Grant, Part B (PL-94-142) program with the pre-school incentive program and the title I (PL-89-313) program.

--The administration is asking that funding for these programs be severely cut both for the remainder of 1982 and in the proposed 1983 budget ...from $1.1 billion in 1982 for the combined programs to $.771 billion in 1983, about a 30% decrease.

--The administration is also recommending some changes in the law that would result in a weaker, less effective statute. Among others, the proposed changes include: eliminating the I.E.P. document; changes in the due process hearing proceedure; and restrictions on the court in civic actions.

--The Department of Education is in the process of changing the regulations implementing PL-94-142. A study was made and released
September 1, 1981. Public Hearings around the country MAY BE scheduled this Spring before the proposed changes are finalized. In order to maintain an effective law, it will be important to monitor the activities of the Department of Education regarding Hearings and proposed changes.

--The House and the Senate have each sent a letter to the President expressing support for PL-94-142. The letters were signed by 285 House members and 59 Senators. They urge the President to maintain full-funding of the law, and ask that he not make any changes that would weaken its effectiveness.

As parents, educators, and friends, we must also do our part to insure the continuation of adequate legislation regarding the education of
handicapped children. There is still time to express our views and concerns. We can write our Congressmen, and we can urge the Department of Education to schedule well-publicized hearings regarding changes in the regulations.

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