15. The History of Speech Pathology

Elementary and Secondary Act In 1964 

President Johnson in 1964 delivered his “War on Poverty” speech proposing creation of a variety of national programs to combat economic hardship. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 promoted citizen rights. The Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 (ESEA) provided support for poor children in schools. Schools received funds to improve education for the disadvantaged. Title 1 was a key program. In 1994 President Clinton signed Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994, strengthening standards, technology and programs for minority children. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB) mandating academic testing for all children evolved from the earlier acts.

Lupe Posada, signed lower left. Acrylic on canvas, "Day of the Dead Woman"


An unknown percentage of SLPs participated in ESEA programs to screen and advise teachers prior to referral to special education. In some places such measures were thought to cut down on special education referrals and placements. A lack of focus, teaching skill and following up made these efforts largely ineffective. In many states special education referrals increased as more non-disabled minority children were placed.

Subtle is the idea of moving school SLPs into non-traditional clinical roles outside of special education. This step places pressure on workloads and role functions. Response to Intervention is a current example of how employers can use SLPs in general education.

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