Volume 6, Issue 1 (1977)
Public Law 94-142 and School Psychology: Challenges and Opportunities
Throughout the history of public education, many handicapped children have gone unidentified and/or unserved while other children have been included in programs where they did not belong. There has been outright denial of educational services, lack of facilities, shortage of trained personnel, as well as the use of inadequate or inappropriate testing materials and procedures in the assessment of suspected handicapped children. During the late 1960s and early 197Os, a large number of “right to an education” law suits were filed by parents of handicapped children (Abeson & Bolick, 1974). Concurrently, parents of minority group children have demanded that appropriate screening and evaluation procedures be implemented to eliminate racial and cultural discrimination in assessment practices (Nazzaro, 1976). Law suits have been filed or decided with racial and cultural discrimination in assessment practices as the central issue (Diana v. California State Board of Education, Note 1; Hobson v. Hanson, Note 2; Larry P. v. Riles, Note 3, and Stewart v. Phillips, Note 4). In response to the public demand for appropriate special education services and the elimination of discriminatory assessment practices, the U.S. Congress enacted landmark legislation. Public Law 93-380 and Public Law 94-142 (U.S. Congress, 1974a; U.S. Congress, 1975) established the right of all handicapped children to a free, appropriate, public education. Provisions of Public Law 94-142 assure that additional rights of handicapped children and their parents are protected. Because school psychological services are inextricably related to the education of handicapped children, school psychologists should be working with other educators, especially special educators to make the promise of the act a reality.
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