CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE: A New IDEA: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 1 after the 1997 Amendments 2 Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1999 Law and Psychology Review
Law and Psychology Review

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE: A New IDEA: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 1 after the 1997 Amendments 2

Spring, 1999

23 Law & Psychol. Rev. 91


Melisa C. George *



Special education 3 gained significant recognition in the United States in 1975 with the enactment of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA), commonly known as Public Law 94-142. 4 Prior to the enactment of the EAHCA, Congress maintained that the educational needs of disabled children simply were not being met. 5 Indeed, more than half of the disabled children in the United States did not receive what Congress considered appropriate educational services, and a million children with disabilities were entirely excluded from public schools. 6 Other children, who were included in the public schools, were given an inadequate education because their disabilities often went undetected. 7 Many children who did receive an adequate education often did so at incredible expense to their parents. 8 Thus, Congress decided that something needed to be done to help all children with disabilities receive an adequate education.


The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) provides for a "free, appropriate public education" (FAPE) and related services necessary to help children with disabilities benefit from the special education programs in school. 10 The IDEA imposes several obligations on states, both substantive and procedural, in exchange for federal funds. 11

Since its enactment, the IDEA has been amended and expanded many times. 12 Over the years, the IDEA has been successful in ensuring that an increasing number of children with disabilities have access to a FAPE. 13 It has allowed many persons with disabilities ...
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