early as Wednesday, April 30, 2003, the House of Representatives is
expected to vote on the Improving Education Results For Children With
Disabilities Act Of 2003 (H.R. 1350) (To view : Full text of legislation ) For children with special needs,
this measure would improve education results.
This would be accomplished by placing a renewed emphasis on
ensuring that children with disabilities are learning by shifting
focus away from compliance with duplicative burdensome and confusing
rules. The measure would do the following:
children with disabilities, accountability would be increased and
education result improved.
children with special needs, too much emphasis has been placed on
compliance with complicated rules by the current Individuals With
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). And to ensure that academic results are being
delivered, not enough emphasis is being placed. The bill would ensure that the Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
specifically addresses academic achievement of students with disabilities;
give local school districts in reviewing the progress of a child greater
flexibility by replacing benchmarks and short-term objectives with
the regular reporting requirements of No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB);
and ensure that States align their accountability system for students
with disabilities to the NCLB Act accountability system.
to the chronic shortage of quality teachers in special education,
the overwhelming and unnecessary paperwork burden is forcing good
special education teachers to leave the profession frustrated with
the current IDEA system. The measure will incorporate elements of the
paperwork reduction bill, that includes the three-year IEP and the
use of teleconferencing; create a ten state pilot program allowing
states to reduce the IEP paperwork burden in order to improve results
for students with disabilities and increase instructional time and
resources; and on States and local school districts, streamline and
decrease paperwork burden.
Intervention Strategies Improvements.
too many children with reading problems are being diagnosed as learning
disabled and placed unnecessarily in special education classes.
Students misidentified have their academic development hindered
by this over identification and from the truly learning disabled students,
valuable resources are taken away.
Special education will be significantly strengthened across
the nation by addressing this problem directly by strengthening the
quality of the reading instruction program.
This bill will give to local school districts flexibility to
use up to 15 percent of their funds for pre-referral services for
students before they are identified as requiring special education.
Reduction Of Over Identification/ Misidentification Of Non-disabled
Children, Including Minority Youth.
of providing positive behavioral intervention and supports and intensive
educational interventions, a disproportionate number of minority students
are wrongly placed in special education. Compared to their share of
the overall population, the proportion of minority students identified
in some categories is dramatically greater studies demonstrate.
For example, far out of proportion to their share of the student
population, African-American students are labeled as mentally retarded
and mentally retarded. When
these students are being removed from regular educational settings
and denied access to the core curriculum, this misclassification or
inappropriate placement in special education programs can have significant
adverse consequences. To reduce over identification, this measure
will require local school districts with significant over identification
of minority students to operate pre-referral programs; to encourage
greater use of programs that rely on positive behavioral intervention
and supports; introduce a response to intervention model that identifies
students with specific learning disabilities before the student is
failing at grade level; and eliminate the outdated “IQ-discrepancy”
model that relies on a “wait to fail” approach for identification
of “specific learning disabilities.”
Education and General Teachers Support.
the current IDEA system, the educational achievement of students with
disabilities is hindered by a continuing shortage of special education
teachers coupled with a shortage of regular education teachers adequately
trained to work with students with disabilities.
To address the educational needs of students with disabilities
both current and prospective special education and general education
teachers should have professional development.
This bill will do the following: streamline personnel preparation
programs and encourage training of both special education teachers
and regular education teachers to work with students with disabilities;
align IDEA with requirements of NCLB for “highly qualified” teachers
so all students with disabilities are taught by a highly qualified
teacher in core content areas; and refocus State Professional Development
Grants on professional development for school personnel working with
students with disabilities.
Litigation And Restore Trust.
of being used to protect the substantive rights of children with disabilities,
litigation under this Act has taken on more of a role of finding and
punishing school districts for technical violations.
An attitude of distrust exists between the parents and the
school personnel rather than working cooperatively to find the best
educational placement and services for the child by this type of litigation.
This measure will establish a statute of limitations of one
year from the date of the violation to file a complaint; require that
complaints be clear and specific when they are filed; and encourage
the use of medication as early as possible and create opportunities
for voluntary binding arbitration.
Parental Involvement And Parental Choice Encourage Innovative Approaches.
their child’s education experience parents should be active participants. Often, under the current IDEA parents of students with disabilities
however, are not fully informed or are often given limited options.
This bill will reform parent training centers to focus on all
children with disabilities and serve all parents of children with
disabilities, especially low-income, minority, and limited English
proficient parents; allow school districts to use IDEA funds to support
supplemental educational services for students with disabilities in
schools identified in need of improvement under NCLB; and enable parents
and local school districts to agree to change the IEP without holding
an IEP meeting.
8. Special Education Finance And Funding Reforms.
without necessity are the current funding streams under IDEA.
Simplified as well as creating a clear path created to reach
the Federal full spending goal of 40 percent should be the current
funding streams under the Act. For
IDEA Part B grants state this measure will simplify funding streams
and to reach the 40 percent goal of Association for Practical and
Professional Ethics (APPE) through the discretionary appropriations
process a clear seven-year path will be established.
districts will be required to continue to provide educational services
to students with disabilities while allowing school district personnel
to have one uniform discipline policy for all children by this legislation.
What Can You Do?
Urge your representative
to SUPPORT the
Improving Education Results For Children With Disabilities
Act Of 2003 (H.R. 1350)
Capitol Hill Switchboard
Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you
to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your representative's office.)
To go to your representative's
website, find his E-mail or to find out who your representatives are...
mail your U.S. House of Representative, go to http://www.house.gov/htbin/wrep_findrep.
Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Representative (last name):