Teacher and students in a classroom Photo courtesy Ann Marsden.

It was only in 1984 that the last state, New Mexico, decided to participate in federal funding through P. L. 94-142 and IDEA.

On the issue of student placement in the least restrictive environment, there was little change.

  • In 1985-86, 25% of students with disabilities spent most of their time in general classes, 44% in resource rooms, 25% in special classes, and 5% in separate schools and residential programs. This distribution was basically the same as that in 1975 when P. L. 94-142 was passed.
  • An analysis of U.S. Department of Education reports found that in the years between 1977 and 1990, placements of students with disabilities changed little. By 1990, for example, only 1.2 percent more students with disabilities were in general education classes and resource room environments: 69.2 percent in 1990 compared with 68 percent in 1977. Placements of students with disabilities in separate classes declined by only 0.5 percent: 24.8 percent in 1990 compared with 25.3 percent in 1977. And students with disabilities educated in separate public schools or other separate facilities declined by only 1.3 percent: 5.4 percent of students with disabilities in 1990 compared with 6.7 percent of students with disabilities in 1977.