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As educators prepare for the tasks ahead it is time to review and renew the efforts necessary to continue to assure the provision of a free, appropriate education for gifted/talented and handicapped students. Most notably the 1970's have been characterized as the decade of major educational rights for exceptional children. It was the era of serving and defining equal access to the education that previously many exceptional students had been denied. As a result, many major changes occurred in the educational systems at the state and local levels across the United States.
The 1980's indicate a shifting emphasis of priorities that educators and policymakers are determining for exceptional children. The author presents selected aspects of those future decisions and uses them as a framework for this article.