“America leads on disability rights by example, but we must advance them internationally,” says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in The Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 25: Now We Must Work for Global Equality.
Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution from U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Patty Murray (D-WA) to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law on July 26, 1990.
Senate Cosponsors of the resolution includes: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
OSERS recently announced a new funding opportunity, the Accessibility of Computers and Web Sites through an Automated Personalization Computing Project (APCP), to create the infrastructure we need to make it easier for any person of any age with any disability to more easily use any web enabled device at school, at home, at work, or in the community. This funding opportunity, totaling up to $20 million over five years, will implement a pilot demonstration of automated personalization for individuals with disabilities who are using information and communication technologies. Individuals with disabilities will be able to access communications and information technology on a secure basis no matter where they are (at school, work, home, or in the community), what kind of computer they work on (e.g., desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, kiosk) or what software platform (e.g., PC, Mac, Android, iOS) they are using, as long as it is an APCP-enabled computer with Web access. OSERS is looking forward to receiving and evaluating applications and making the award by the end of this September, 2015.
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senate Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and House Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) met recently to discuss proceeding with a conference committee to resolve differences in the House- and Senate-passed bills to replace No Child Left Behind.
The House passed the Student Success Act on July 8.
The Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act on July 16.
The two chambers will form a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two bills and develop a bicameral agreement.
To read more about the Education and the Workforce Committee, click here.
To read more about the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, click here.
On July 30th at 3:00pm EDT, ED will host a google hangout with experts to discuss “The Hidden Cost of Suspension.” They welcome you and your stakeholders to join – on either Google+ (http://bit.ly/1h5vGAR) or on YouTube (http://youtu.be/W0AroRVB2ao) – to follow the dialogue with:
Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Russell Skiba of Indiana University’s Equity Project
Dr. Ramona Bishop, Superintendent of Vallejo City Unified School District in California
Marlyn Tillman from Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (Gwinnett STOPP)
Tomorrow’s google hangout will also mark the release a new set of interactive, zoomable, clickable discipline maps – to be posted to ED’s new www.ed.gov/rethinkdiscipline site -- to help educators and communities to better understand the prevalence of out-of-school suspensions in their community.
The google hangout and new maps are part of ED’s new public awareness campaign -- #RethinkDiscipline. This campaign is intended to:
Highlight national data on discipline, particularly suspensions, expulsions, and other practices that remove students from instruction;
Clarify the impact of suspension on student outcomes and school communities; and
Share how schools and districts are working to implement effective alternatives to suspension by addressing student social, emotional, and behavioral needs.
The Secretary published the following list of correspondence from the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to individuals during the second and third quarters of 2014, from April 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014 and July 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014. The correspondence describes the Department's interpretations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or the regulations that implement the IDEA. This list and the letters or other documents described in this list, with personally identifiable information redacted, as appropriate, can be found at: www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/index.html.
This powerful video features Teach to Lead's Ruthanne Buck urging educators to think big about their profession. Teacher leadership, she argues, is much more than creating hybrid roles for teachers or structures for teachers to progress through their careers. It's about creating the space for teachers to develop ideas that can change the world.
Teach to Lead has engaged with more than 3,000 educators, in person and virtually, giving voice to more than 850 teacher leadership ideas, spanning 38 states. To learn more about Teach to lead, click here.
House Appropriations Committee Democrats today released Republican Appropriations Bills: Shortchanging America's Future, Serving Special Interests that “highlights some of the most damaging funding cuts in the 2016 Appropriations bills, and policy riders that prioritize special interests and politics over hardworking American families.” For education it says: “The United States is far behind many countries in providing access to preschool education, and ranks just 25th in the world in enrollment of 4 year-olds. Early childhood intervention is critical in reducing inequality and narrowing achievement gaps. Yet the Labor-HHS-Education bill would de-fund preschool programs in 18 states, causing 60,000 children to lose access to preschool entirely.
“The Labor-HHS-Education bill also eliminates more than 20 elementary, secondary, and higher education programs, including those that reduce gun violence in schools and increase access to mental health services; support school counselors’ efforts to ensure a safe environment; promote physical education; improve the teaching and learning of science and mathematics, and increase literacy. $2.5 billion in net cuts and underfunding of core priorities at the Department of Education will inhibit teachers’ ability to reach students and prevent millions of students from reaching their full potential.”
On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives completed its work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). H.R.5 the Student Success Act squeaked by with a vote of 218-213.
On July 16, the U.S. Senate passed S.117, the Every Child Achieves Act, to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 81-17, with three Democrats and 14 Republicans voting against the measure.
The two bills will now head to the conference committee who will draft a compromise bill that both houses can accept and send to the President for his signature. It is anticipated that the conference committee deliberations may be contentious as the House and Senate bills are significantly different in addition to the potential threat of a Veto from the President. The conference committee is usually composed of the senior Members of the standing committee of each House that originally considered the legislation. Stay tuned for the announcement of the conferees.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) opposed H.R.5 due to its lack of support for children with exceptionalities and the professionals who work on their behalf. CEC has concerns with the Student Success Act as it: reduces the accountability for students with disabilities, removes the 95% participation rate for all students; removes the 1% cap on alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards; lacks focus on professional development; eliminates HQT; includes performance pay that is solely based from standardized test scores; increases privatization; ignores high-ability students; eliminates MOE; permits Title I portability provisions; ignores early childhood; allows parents to opt out of state tests; and includes new requirements without adequate resources.
While the Senate bill is not perfect, it has many provisions that CEC supports which include those that: eliminate AYP; maintain disaggregation of subgroup data; support early intervening services in general ed, UDL, and PBIS; maintain the 1% cap on alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards; prohibit modified standards and assessments; maintain Javits Gifted and Talented Act; support early childhood programs; maintain MOE; prohibit Title I portability provisions; and allow but doesn’t require new teacher evaluation systems.
Unfortunately, both bills eliminate accountability safeguards to ensure that children and youth with disabilities receive the resources they need to succeed. As the bills move toward conference many Democratic Senators and President Obama are advocating for strong accountability provisions and equitable distribution of resources in the final bill.
Secretary Duncan issued a statement upon the passage of the Senate bill calling for strengthened accountability. The issue of accountability will undoubtedly be challenging in conference for both the Congress and the Administration.