40th Anniversary Celebration of Public Law 94-142

The 40th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), will be on November 29th. On that date in 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the significant piece of legislation into law. Many of LDA's pioneer members were instrumental in lobbying for the bill in the years it took for introduction, amendments, acceptance and finally passage by Congress.  “The four purposes of the law articulated a compelling national mission to improve access to education for children with disabilities. Changes implicit in the law included efforts to (a) improve how children with disabilities were identified and educated, (b) evaluate the success of these efforts, and (c) provide due process protections for children and families. In addition, the law authorized financial incentives to enable states and localities to comply with P.L. 94-142.”

Four Purposes of P.L. 94-142

  • to assure that all children with disabilities have available to them … a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs
  • to assure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents … are protected
  • to assist States and localities to provide for the education of all children with disabilities
  • to assess and assure the effectiveness of efforts to educate all children with disabilities

Since November 29th falls on a Sunday, most celebrations to commemorate the event will be held the preceding week.  The U.S. Department of Education as well as disability-specific organizations across the country are currently planning events. Some State Departments of Education, in concert with other state agencies, will have ceremonies to acknowledge the event with various planned activities.


Education for all Handicapped Children Act, P.L. 94-142. (1975).


  1. Robin Phillips says:

    I am a 58 yrs women. I live in Central NYS. It’s a rural area, and we don’t have may resources. I feel I have always had a problem in school. I only have a high school education, and sometimes I feel just barely that. I don’t read, write or spell very well at all. I have lost 2 jobs because I was told I did not learn fast enough. I don’t want to have a job wiping old people bottoms. I am scared I need an income.
    Right, now I’m feeling very worthless, and stupid. At my last job, which I just lost 3 weeks ago, I was there for 67 days. The job was in a small Insurance office. Someone who I thought was my friend worked in the office, and told me about the job. She said I would be a great fit in the office. My friend was suppose to be training me. She just yelled at me and gossip about me, to other coworkers in a bigger insurance office. After a few weeks of this, my hands and arms began to go numb, headaches gut wrenching pain in my stomach, and I could not think. My brain felt like it was spinning inside my head. I still get this feelings even now. I went to my Dr. and she said I was dealing with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I even ask my dr if I could have some kind of retardation, or learning problems. She told me I was not retarded. I feel this so called friend screwed up my health, emotional & physical. Is there anything I can do?, and do I have any rights? Is there anything I can do? The behavior ( abuse) I endured in this office was cruel and mean. As I am writing this I can feel my chest tightening, and stomached twisting. Thank you for any thoughts you can give me.

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