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Statement on Signing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997

June 04, 1997

It is with great pleasure that I have today signed into law H.R. 5, the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997." This Act reaffirms and strengthens our national commitment to the education of children with disabilities and their families.

Since the enactment of Public Law 94-142 over 20 years ago, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has made it possible for millions of children with disabilities to receive an education, helping them become productive adults. The bill before me today builds on that success story by:

—putting an even sharper focus on improving educational results for these children through greater access to the general curriculum and inclusion in State and districtwide assessments;

—giving parents more information, including regular reports on their children's progress, and a greater role in decisions affecting their children's education;

—reducing paperwork and increasing administrative flexibility;

—asking children with disabilities, along with schools, teachers, and parents to assume greater responsibility for the children's success; and

—promoting the use of mediation to resolve disagreements between parents and schools.

This bill also gives school officials the tools they need to ensure that the Nation's schools are safe and conducive to learning for all children, while scrupulously protecting the rights of children with disabilities. It also includes a substantial commitment from the Federal Government to support the professional development of special and regular education teachers who work with children with disabilities, research and technological innovations to improve their education, the training of parents, and the provision of technical assistance.

This bipartisan legislation is the result of a unique process involving the Congress, the Department of Education, parents, educators, the disability community, and other interested parties. I thank all who played a part in this great achievement. Successful implementation of the revised IDEA is the key to the future for children with disabilities and it will help them become successful and contributing members of their communities.


The White House, June 4, 1997.

NOTE: H.R. 5, approved June 4, was assigned Public Law No. 105-17.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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