[nfbmi-talk] IDEA law Related Legislation

Terry D. Eagle terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 11 13:18:15 UTC 2015

The following goes directly toward the convention defeated resolution
concept focusing on equal education of blind and deaf-blind school aged
students under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) law:


Reps. Cartwright, McKinley Champion Comprehensive Bipartisan Legislation to
Transform Special Education for Students with Sensory Disabilities 

Washington, DC - 

U.S. Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-PA, 17) and David McKinley (R-WV, 1)
introduced the bipartisan Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R.
3535), named for two pioneers in the education of deaf and blind students.
This landmark legislation would dramatically improve educational results for
students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or


In 1975, Congress enacted America's federal special education law known
today as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the
Cogswell-Macy Act would amend and modernize IDEA to address the largely
unmet unique needs of students with sensory disabilities. The bill would:
ensure that students with vision and/or hearing disabilities are properly
identified, evaluated and served, especially when they may have additional
disabilities; guarantee that students with sensory disabilities are provided
with the full array of special education and related services they must have
to truly receive a free and appropriate public education; promote and
support teachers and associated professionals who are critical to the
delivery of such services; and hold all levels of our public education
system accountable for these expectations. 


"Upwards of 350,000 students are deaf or hard of hearing, and an estimated
100,000 have blindness or vision loss. Yet less than one-third of those
students are reported as having those needs under IDEA. That is completely
unacceptable," Rep. Cartwright said. "This legislation would ensure that
students who are deaf, hard of hearing blind, visually impaired, or
deaf-blind receive an equal and appropriate education and have access to
vital services. I look forward to working with my colleagues to guarantee
that all children can succeed and achieve their potential." 


"Americans have made great strides since 1975 toward improving the lives of
children dealing with hearing and sight disabilities but there is still more
work to be done. We need to ensure the nearly-half a million kids with these
disabilities have the same opportunity as other children to learn and
develop skills. This is a common sense step to ensure we are helping these
children," Rep. McKinley said. 


The American Foundation for the Blind and Conference of Educational
Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf have endorsed the
Cogswell-Macy Act, along with more than 100 other leading national, regional
and community-based organizations. 

 "The introduction of this bill represents a momentous step toward the
transformation of this country's special education system in a manner that
will truly allow for students who are blind or visually impaired to succeed
in a twenty-first century classroom." said Kim Charlson, president of the
American Council of the Blind (ACB). "The Cogswell-Macy Act is the most
significant national proposal to improve education for students who are
deafblind we've seen in decades," said Mussie Gebre, President of the
national consumer advocacy group, DeafBlind Citizens in Action (DBCA). "When
America's deafblind children and youth have their unique communications and
learning needs fully met, are provided with essential supports such as
intervener services, and are empowered by our national education system to
rise to their full potential, well then just you look out because they're on
their way to achieve great things. Just watch us and see for yourself!" 


"Our national special education law has been a success at getting kids with
disabilities into their neighborhood schools, but what we haven't done yet
is to make sure that students with vision loss get the education they
deserve once they get in the schoolhouse door," said Mark Richert, Director
of Public Policy for the American Foundation for the Blind. "We've waited
forty years, and we're not waiting another forty to give kids who are blind
or visually impaired an education that is worthy of their tremendous
potential. That's why the Cogswell-Macy Act is imperative." 

 "We expect that the passage of the Cogswell-Macy Act will rectify years of
misapplication of IDEA for deaf and hard of hearing children everywhere.
Deaf and hard of hearing children continue to experience language and
academic delays because their educational environments are not optimal or
even conducive to their learning," said James E. Tucker, Superintendent of
the Maryland School for the Deaf and President of the Conference of
Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf. "Every
student's Individualized Education Program needs to be student-driven and
focused on the child's language, cognitive, and social development." 

 NAD President Chris Wagner stated "Every deaf or hard of hearing child
deserves access to a quality education, and this Act will be an important
step towards reminding states of their accountability regarding deaf, hard
of hearing, blind, deafblind, and visually impaired children's needs." 


Rep. Matt Cartwright represents Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District,
which includes Schuylkill County and portions of Carbon, Lackawanna,
Luzerne, Monroe, and Northampton Counties. Cartwright serves on the House
Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform. 


More information about the NFBMI-Talk mailing list