Woman and child interacting
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden

The 1990s: More, but Slow Progress.
From Integration to Inclusion.
From Placement to Outcome.

In 1970, only one in five students with disabilities was educated in American schools. In 1993, fewer than 7% of school-aged children with developmental disabilities were educated in general education classrooms. The struggle had shifted over the years from getting children with disabilities into public schools to supporting them to learn in the classrooms of neighborhood schools.

In 1997, IDEA was amended. It formalized a shift in thinking that was kick started by Madeleine Will back in 1986. In 1986, Ms. Will, and many others, observed that little had changed in the schools of the nation since 1974 and 1977 when P. L. 94-142 and P. L. 93-380 required integration into the least restrictive environment.