Introduction


Parental participation in the education of all children has become a desire of parents, teachers and society as a whole. This desire became evident when President Bill Clinton proposed in the National Education Goals (Public Law 103-227) number eight "by the year 2000 every school program will increase parental involvement" (Lin &

McBride, 1996, p. 350). But what is parental involvement? Researchers continue to ask parents, teachers and administrators for their definitions, but rarely do these definitions achieve consensus. More difficult than defining parental participation for regular education, is the problem of defining parental participation in special education. This difficulty occurs because Public Law 94-142, the special education law, seems to have defined parental participation for students with special needs, when in actuality it has not. To illustrate, Public Law 94-142 loosely defines parental participation as, parent and teacher involvement in the development an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) However, Public Law 94-142 does little to clarify the meaning of parental participation for parents and teachers in the education of their special needs child. Indeed, research suggests that teachers and parents view parental involvement as more than the development of an Individualized Education Plan.

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