[KeyStoneChapter] Legislative Alert: Preserving IDEA for our children

Harriet Go goharriet00 at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 20 02:47:29 UTC 2020

Hey Brad,
Good to hear from you! Hope you are staying well and safe throughout this corona virus outbreak. Glad you are still keeping up to date with the Keystone Chapter.

Take care,

From: KeyStoneChapter <keystonechapter-bounces at nfbnet.org> on behalf of Brad Morith via KeyStoneChapter <keystonechapter at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 10:36 PM
To: Keystone Chapter List of the NFB of Pennsylvania <keystonechapter at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Brad Morith <bradfordjm1 at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [KeyStoneChapter] Legislative Alert: Preserving IDEA for our children

Thank you, Harriet, for sending this.

Brad Morith

On Mar 19, 2020, at 9:33 PM, Harriet Go via KeyStoneChapter <keystonechapter at nfbnet.org<mailto:keystonechapter at nfbnet.org>> wrote:

Hi everyone,
I hope you all are doing well. Please see the email below regarding the very important issue that this proposed bill could have on PA students with disabilities.

Please take a moment to call or email our senators' offices and oppose the passage of this bill.

From: Nfbp-board <nfbp-board-bounces at lists.nfbp.org<mailto:nfbp-board-bounces at lists.nfbp.org>> on behalf of Drenth, Joe via Nfbp-board <nfbp-board at lists.nfbp.org<mailto:nfbp-board at lists.nfbp.org>>
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 8:17 PM
To: 'nfbp-talk at nfbnet.org<mailto:nfbp-talk at nfbnet.org>' <nfbp-talk at nfbnet.org<mailto:nfbp-talk at nfbnet.org>>; 'nfbp-board at lists.nfbp.org<mailto:nfbp-board at lists.nfbp.org>' <nfbp-board at lists.nfbp.org<mailto:nfbp-board at lists.nfbp.org>>
Cc: Drenth, Joe <Joe.Drenth at JBTC.COM<mailto:Joe.Drenth at JBTC.COM>>
Subject: [Nfbp-board] Legislative Alert: Preserving IDEA for our children

Hello everyone,

It is very important that we all contact our U.S. Senators to express our opposition to any amendment to the pending stimulus bill that delays or in any way decreases the effectiveness of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, also known as IDEA. You can read more about the issue in the email copied below.

As soon as possible, please contact the individuals listed here in the offices of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senators:

In Senator Toomey’s office:
Staff member Ariel Gordon.
Ariel_gordon at toomey.senate.gov<mailto:Ariel_gordon at toomey.senate.gov>

In Senator Casey’s office:
Staff member Julia Sferlazzo,
Julia_sferlazzo at casey.senate.gov<mailto:Julia_sferlazzo at casey.senate.gov>

Here is more information about what to say when you contact them. Remember, the Senate is trying to pass the stimulus bill as soon as possible, so do not wait to contact our senators:

--- Forwarded message ---

It has come to our attention that IDEA Rights May Be Waived by Congress! As part of the Senate’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has proposed to include a provision in the pending stimulus bill that would give the Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any statutory and/or regulatory requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for one year and extensions may also apply. The stimulus package is expected to drop as early as this weekend. This provision would be detrimental for children with disabilities. Covered entities such as Child Find, a free appropriate public education (FAPE), Individualized Education Program (IEP), all procedural safeguards, re-evaluations, related services and accommodations and more are at great risk.
We cannot allow this provision to pass.

Take Action NOW!

Currently offices are swamped with phone calls, so it may be better to email your two senators and urge them to oppose the Alexander IDEA Waiver provision.

When you call or email, you might say something like the following:

"Hello, my name is [your name] and I am a constituent of Senator Casey/Toomey. I live in [city], Pennsylvania. I am calling to urge Senator Toomey/Casey to oppose Senator Lamar Alexander’s provision to waive all IDEA requirements. While the COVID-19 outbreak has placed a tremendous and unprecedented strain on schools and districts, it is imperative that we work together to find solutions that allow children to receive equal access to an education and the services that support them without undoing all of their civil and educational rights. I am writing as a concerned (parent, teacher, blind person, etc.) to urge you to reject any provision that would provide waiver authority to the Secretary of Education regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Over seven million children rely on IDEA to receive special education supports and services. I hope you will help schools by providing states with additional funding that can be used to provide teachers, school leaders, and families with the tools they need to connect to teach and support students. Please support the students with disabilities and their families that rely upon the IDEA to have equal access to education.

(Your Name)”

Please note that due to the rapidly evolving legislation concerning the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves needing to focus on multiple issues simultaneously. Therefore, this legislative alert is in addition to yesterday’s alert on the ATAA. Please be sure to speak with or write to your senators and representative on both of these critical priorities.

You can contact your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard and asking for the office in question. The number is 202-224-3121. If you email your senators, please copy Stephanie Flynt at sflynt at nfb.org<mailto:sflynt at nfb.org>. Your calls and emails do make a difference.

It is best to call or email the relevant education staffer in your member of Congress's office. If you need the name and email of the appropriate staff person for any Senate  office, please email Jesa Medders at jmedders at nfb.org<mailto:jmedders at nfb.org>.

•     End of forwarded message ---
Thank you,
Joe Drenth
First Vice President, NFB of Pennsylvania

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