Commission on Excellence in Special Education
Meeting, Sets Schedule
RELEASE: January 15, 2002
Kathleen Mynster, Jim Bradshaw
Commission on Excellence in Special Education was sworn in today and set
out its agenda for the next four months.
of Education Rod Paige delivered welcoming remarks and swore in the 19-member
is committed to the bold proposition that every child can learn,"
Paige told the commission. "This doesn't mean that, after you siphon
off the children who have disabilities; or the children who were never
properly taught how to read; or the children who never learned English;
or the children who disrupted their classrooms, most of the rest of them
means that all of our kids, even the ones our system calls 'hard to teach'
can learn. This means that even students with disabilities can learn to
called on the commission to discover what works to improve the performance
of students with disabilities.
task as a commission is to discover what works to improve the performance
of students with disabilities receiving special education," he said.
"Talk to other experts. Examine research. Study preventive reading
programs, and tell us how Washington can help state and local communities
provide excellent special education services."
Bush created the commission in October to collect information and study
issues related to federal, state and local special education programs
with the goal of recommending policies for improving the educational performance
of students with disabilities. The purpose of the meetings is to hear
from experts and members of the public who will provide the commission
with information and guidance.
is charged with producing a final report to the president by this summer
that contains findings and recommendations in the following nine areas:
The effectiveness and cost of special education and the appropriate role
of the federal government in special education programming and funding,
including an analysis of the factors that have contributed to the growth
in costs of special education since the enactment of the Education for
All Handicapped Children Act (a predecessor of IDEA);
b. Improving Results: How federal resources can best be used to improve
educational results for students with disabilities;
c. Research: A special education research agenda;
d. Early Intervention: The impact of providing appropriate early
intervention in reading instruction on the referral and identification
of children for special education;
e. Funding Formulae: The effect of special education funding on
decisions to serve, place, or refer children for special education services
and possible alternative funding formulae that might distribute funds
to achieve better results and eliminate any current incentives that undermine
the goals of ensuring high-quality education for children with disabilities;
f. Teacher Quality and Student Accountability: How the federal government
can help states and local education agencies provide a high-quality education
to students with disabilities, including the recruitment and retention
of qualified personnel and the inclusion of children with disabilities
in performance and accountability systems;
g. Regulations and Red Tape: The impact of federal and state statutory,
regulatory and administrative requirements on the cost and effectiveness
of special education services, and how these requirements support or hinder
the educational achievement of students with disabilities;
h. What Models Work in the States: How differences in local education
agency size, location, demographics and wealth, and in-state law and practice
affect which children are referred to special education and the cost of
special education; and
i. Federal v. Local Funding: A review of the experiences of state
and local governments in financing special education, and an analysis
of whether changes to the federal "supplement not supplant"
and maintenance of effort" requirements are appropriate.
Commission members approved the following meeting schedule:
March 6, Denver, Colo.
March 13, Des Moines, Iowa
March 20, San Diego, Calif.
March 21, Los Angeles, Calif.
April 9-10, Miami, Fla.
April 16, New York City, N.Y.
April 18, Nashville, Tenn.
May 30-31, Washington, D.C.
Meeting times and locations will be available at a later date, and additional
meetings may be added by the commission, if necessary.
Terry Edward Branstad of Iowa, chairman; Adela Acosta, Maryland; Steve
Bartlett, Texas; William Berdine, Kentucky; Paula Butterfield, Pennsylvania;
Jay G. Chambers, California; W. Alan Coulter, Louisiana; Floyd Flake,
New York; Thomas Albert Fleming, Michigan; Jack M. Fletcher, Texas; Douglas
H. Gill, Washington; David W. Gordon, California; Nancy Grasmick, Maryland;
Steve Hammerman, New York; Bryan Hassel, North Carolina; Douglas Carl
Huntt, Ohio; Michael J. Rivas, Texas; Cheryl Rei Takemoto, Virginia; and
Katie Wright, Illinois.
the commission's Web site at
to IDEA 2002 page