LEARNING CENTERS FOR LEARNING-DISABLED AND AT-RISK
In 1975, Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) which mandates an appropriate public education for all disabled children. The law provides for an evaluation of each child's needs and the design of an appropriate program for the involvement of parents in the design of their children's education, and for the allocation of necessary funds. Eight out of ten children in special needs programs are mentally retarded, learning-disabled, or speech impaired (Taylor, Asher & Williams, 1987)
The legislation on special needs children recommends mainstreaming defined as the integration of disabled and nondisabled students as much as possible (Taylor, Asher & Williams, 1987). Under mainstreaming, disabled children are in regular classes with nondisabled youngsters for all or part of the day instead of being segregated in special classes (Taylor, Asher & Williams, 1987).
Regarding the efficacy of the laws for special needs children, Gartner and Kerzner-Lipsky (1992) report that:
The positive contributions...are unquestionable in that all students do have access to programs, there is a general recognition and acceptance of entitlement to education of students identified with a disability, due process rights exist for students and parents, and many more students have been mainstreamed, especially in nonacademic areas. (p. 1)
Despite the positive contributions of P.L. 94-142, and the passage of additional and supportive legislation regarding special needs students, there remain some serious problems in achieving a full implementation of the law (Kauffman, 1993). Kauffman (1993), for example, states that there has been inadequate training and support given to special education teacher which has obstructed disabled students' academic and social learning. Also, changes in the system made to accommodate special education students have of...