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 Home > News  > IDEA Reauthorization: Advocacy Groups Speak Out, Organize, Demonstrate (February 2004)

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Advocacy Groups Speak Out, Organize

February 3, 2004. Last summer, the Senate HELP Committee voted to approve the controversial Senate Bill 1248 to reauthorize the IDEA. In December, Congress adjourned for the holidays before the Senate voted on Senate Bill 1248.

We understand that Senate Bill 1248 will be brought to the Senate floor for a vote in a few weeks. This may happen in March - or sooner - or later. (dates may change)

After the Senate votes, the House and Senate will meet and try to devise a compromise bill. If they cannot reach a compromise (this has happened in prior years), the current IDEA will remain in effect. If the House and Senate agree on a compromise, the bill will go to the President who is likely to sign it.

In recent months, advocacy groups have formed with the goal of preserving the IDEA. Their strategies include educating parents, policymakers and the media and teaching parents how to speak out. Other groups are planning a demonstration and march against Senate Bill 1248 in Washington, DC.

You need to learn about these groups, issues and the stakes.

Our Children Left Behind (OCLB)

Our Children Left Behind (OCLB) is a site created by parent volunteers. The site has dozens of well-written, informative articles and weekly IDEA Updates. This week's IDEA Update is "A Call to Arms" – a call to exercise your constitutional right to vote.

Show and Go or Ride and Hide - We Decide

"The fact is, as Dr. Phil likes to say, we teach people how to treat us. And the special education parent community, through our collective inaction, has been teaching Congress to treat us as if we don’t matter."

"There are 6.5 million children receiving IDEA services – each of those children has parents, guardians, family members, and friends who care about them. That could be a formidable voting bloc, if we were united and vocal, and if we voted. But, unfortunately, too many in the disability community have historically abdicated their civic responsibility to vote. That needs to change, and it needs to change now!"

Voter's Primary Primer

To facilitate change, OCLB prepared a Voter’s Primary Primer that explains the legislative processes that lead up to the general election. What Should I Say or Write to My Senators? will help you synthesize the issues that are of concern to you.

On their Breaking News page, you can read an update and talking points prepared by the National Coalition of Parent Centers. You may also want to read Parents Tell Senators to Reject IDEA Reauthorization Plan about why parents are opposing S.1248.

Searching for Heroes

Two weeks ago, in We Have Located Some Heroes, OCLB reported that the Michigan State Board of Education introduced an IDEA reauthorization position paper that supports the present IDEA. They (and we) urge you to read this article, then work with your Boards of Education to do the same.

Learn more about Our Children Left Behind.

For more information, please email

Hands Across America - Just Vote "No" to S. 1248 (March 15-16, 2004)

Several organizations, including The League of Special Education Voters, are planning a demonstration in Washington D.C. to urge Senators to "Just Vote 'NO' to S. 1248."

The League of Special Education Voters is a recent startup. Their mission is to create a unified voting bloc of parents, guardians and other supporters of the 6.5 million children with disabilities who receive services under IDEA.

They plan to organize events (including the Washington demonstration in March), monitor political developments, educate legislators, the media, and the general public, and empower the families of children with disabilities.

More IDEA Reauthorization News

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