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Tenth annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Education of the Handicapped Act.

The Tenth Annual Report to Congress examines the progress being made to implement the requirements mandated by the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA), and its subsequent amendments. The purposes of the act, as stated in Section 601(c), are:
1 . to assure that all children with handicaps
 have available to them a free appropriate
 public education;
2. to assure that the rights of children with
 handicaps and their parents are protected;
3. to assist States and localities to provide for
 the education of all children with handicaps;
4. to assess and assure the effectiveness of
 efforts to educate children with handicaps.

This report provides a detailed description of the activities undertaken to implement the act and an assessment of the impact and effectiveness of its requirements. The following highlights provide brief summaries of the information presented in the body of the report.


Chapter I presents national statistics which are reported annually to the Office of Special Education Programs by the States.

Number of Students Served

* During the 1986-87 school year, 4,421,601 children with handicaps between the ages of 0 and 21 were served under Chapter I Handicapped Programs of the Education and Consolidation Improvement Act-State Operated Programs (ECIA [SOP]) and Part B of EHA. This represented an increase of 1.2 percent over the number served in 1985-86.

* The most frequent handicapping conditions were learning disabled (43.6 percent), speech impaired (25.8 percent), mentally retarded (15.0 percent), and emotionally disturbed (8.7 percent). The greatest changes from the 1985-86 year were in the categories of learning disabled (an increase of 53,760) and mentally retarded (a decrease of 21,653).

* Forty-eight percent of the handicapped children served under EHA-B were between the ages of 6 and I I with 41 percent between the ages of 12 and 17.

Related Services Received

* Students received 4,630,368 related services in 1985-86, which was an average of 1.2 services per handicapped child in those States reporting. (Eight States and three Insular Areas did not report data.) The most frequently used service was diagnostic services, which were received by 777,436 students. Deaf-blind students and orthopedically impaired students received the largest number of services per child-and 3.36 2.7 1, respectively.

Least Restrictive Environment

* During the 1985-86 school year, the majority of students with handicaps received special education and related services in settings with nonhandicapped peers. Over 26 percent received special education in regular classes. An additional 41 percent were served primarily in resource rooms, while over 24 percent were served in separate classes in regular education buildings.

* Significant variation in placement patterns existed across handicapping conditions. Students with learning disabilities or speech impairments were served primarily in regular classes or resource rooms (77 percent and 92 percent, respectively). Nationally, 56 percent of the mentally retarded students were placed in separate classes.

Personnel Employed and Needed

* States reported that 291,954 special education teachers were employed during 1985-86, an increase of approximately 6 percent over the previous year.

* An additional 27,474 teachers were needed to fill vacancies and replace uncertified staff. The greatest number of teachers were needed for the learning disabled, mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, and speech or language impaired.

* The number of personnel employed other than special education teachers was 229,872, which represented an increase of .5 percent over 1984-85. Over half of these personnel were teacher aides.

* An additional 13,720 staff other than special education teachers were needed in 1985-86. In proportion to the number employed, occupational and physical therapists were the most needed personnel.

STUDENTS WITH HANDICAPS IN TRANSITION: THE EXITING BEHAVIOR OF SECONDARY STUDENTS AND SERVICES ANTICIPATED TO MEET THEIR NEEDS Chapter 11 presents data on the circumstances under which students with handicaps exit from secondary school, and on services anticipated to meet their needs.
 * The majority of special education students
 (60 percent) graduate from high school with
 a diploma or certificate of completion.
 Students who are visually handicapped, hard
 of hearing, deaf, or orthopedically impaired
 are most likely to graduate with a diploma.
 Students who are deaf-blind, multi-handicapped,
 or mentally retarded are most likely to
 graduate with a certificate of completion.
 * An average of 312 students with handicaps
 drop out of high school each day. A total of
 56,156 students with handicaps dropped out
 of high school during school year 1985-86.
 * About 2 percent of the total exiting population
 of students with handicaps "age out"
 of the system by reaching the maximum age
 for which services are provided by individual
 States. Mandates for upper age limits vary
 by State.
 * Approximately 524,000 separate services
 were anticipated to be needed for handicapped
 children and youth exiting in the
 system. The most frequently needed services
 were vocational training services (16 percent
 of all anticipated services), counseling/
 guidance (14 percent), and vocational placement
 services (14 percent).
Chapter III focuses on the provision of services
to infants, toddlers, and preschool children with
 * Many States are targeting a portion of their
 EHA-B set-aside to meet the needs of
 preschool children with handicaps. ECIA
 (SOP) funds are used by States to provide
early intervention services for children aged
birth through 5.
 * Funds earmarked for services to young
children with handicaps were available to
States through the old Preschool Incentive
Grant Program and the new Preschool Grant
Program. All States have elected to participate
in the Preschool Grant Program and
were awarded a basic grant of $300 for each
3- through 5-year-old child receiving services
on December 1, 1986. In addition,
States received $3,270 for each newly
identified child.
 * All States have elected to participate in the
Part H program for infants and toddlers. State
awards for FY 1987 ranged from approximately
244,000 to 5,735,000. Approximately
one-third of the States have designated
State educational agencies as lead
agencies, while another third have selected
the State department of health.
 * Funds are available to States to initiate,
improve, or expand special education and
early intervention services for children below
school age through the EHA discretionary
programs. Funds have been provided through
State Implementation Grants and the Early
Childhood State Plan Grant Program. The
Handicapped Children's Early Education
Program (HCEEP) provides support for
model development and replication. Research
Institutes funded under HCEEP are
designed to improve services by expanding
the early childhood knowledge base. Projects
for preservice and inservice personnel development
and technical assistance have also
been supported.
Chapter IV presents the results of Federal
monitoring activities and discusses ongoing
evaluation efforts.
Program Review
 * To receive EHA-B State Grant program
funds for FY 88, States had to comply with
additional State Plan Requirements resulting
from the enactment of the Education of the
Handicapped Amendments of 1986. All
States submitted State Plan amendments to
fulfill the new legislative requirements addressing
interagency agreements, personnel
standards, nonsupplanting of funds, use of
the State's 20 percent portion of its set-aside,
and reduction of other assistance.
 * The staggered State Plan Review schedule
required 22 States to submit complete plans
for FY 88-90. More than half of the State
Plans reviewed required no changes or only
minor-mostly technical- additions or corrections.
Ten State Plans presented problem
areas requiring more intensive scrutiny prior
to approval. These areas included due
process and procedural safeguards; right to
education and definitions of handicapping
conditions; IEP requirements; and privacy
and confidentiality.
 * Comprehensive compliance reviews of the
29 States visited in the last two years
indicated that States are having the most
difficulty in meeting requirements in the
following areas: State Educational Agency
(SEA) monitoring, SEA review and approval
of local educational agency applications,
least restrictive environment, complaint management,
and general supervision of special
education programs.
 Program Evaluation
 * Congressionally-mandated studies which are
currently underway include a Special Study
on Special Populations, a Study of Programs
of Instruction ill Day and Residential Facilities,
a Longitudinal Study of Secondary and
Postsecondary Handicapped Students, and
a Survey of Expenditures for Special Education
and Related Services.
 * New studies recently undertaken under the
State Agency/Federal Evaluation Program
include: an investigation of the outcomes of
transition planning; the impact of separate
class and separate school secondary special
education programs; outcomes of special
education programs in terms of student
benefits; the impact of special education in
regular education settings; prereferral interventions
for students experiencing learning
problems in regular education; and normative
and quality indicators that measure the
effectiveness of special education.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Council for Exceptional Children
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Exceptional Children
Date:Sep 1, 1989
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