The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
May 20, 2004

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Full Funding Amendments

House-Senate Conference Committee

IDEA Reauthorization Issues & Talking Points

Wrightslaw Programs: AL, FL, WA, CA, MI

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IDEA Alert: Senate Passes Bill to Reauthorize IDEA by 95-3 Vote

On Thursday, May 13, the Senate passed S. 1248, the bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), on a 95-3 vote.

Full Funding Amendments

Senators Hagel (R-NE) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) proposed an amendment to fully fund IDEA until the federal share reached 40 percent. The Hagel/Harkin amendment failed by four votes. The Senate adopted an amendment by Senator Gregg that authorized discretionary funding to reach the 40 percent by 2011.

What next?

House-Senate Conference Committee

The Senate bill (S. 1248) is significantly different from the bill passed by the House of Representatives last year (H.R. 1350). A joint House-Senate conference committee will meet in an effort to resolve these differences.

Most special education advocacy groups strongly oppose the House bill because it weakens protections for students with disabilities.

The National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc. (NAPAS) published a side-by-side comparison of H.R. 1350, S. 1248, and IDEA '97. You can download this publication from their homepage or click to download the side-by-side comparison in PDF.  

After the House and Senate agree on a compromise bill, they will vote on the final version of the bill.

Although we cannot predict what Congress will do, it seems unlikely that the House and Senate will resolve their differences this year (an election year). If the conference committee does not develop a compromise bill that is acceptable to the Senate and House this year, IDEA will be reintroduced next year.

Note: When IDEA went through the reauthorization process in the mid-1990s, a similar scenario unfolded. The House and Senate passed different versions of IDEA. They were unable to resolve their differences. This led to a series of "off the record" closed hearings that allowed representatives and advocates to negotiate the bill that became IDEA-97.

We will keep newsletter subscribers updated on developments.

IDEA Reauthorization Issues

For news, progress reports, and other important information about the IDEA Reauthorization, please go to the IDEA Reauthorization News Page.

To learn more about the issues, including reports, surveys and recommendations about how the law may be changed, please visit the IDEA Resources page.

The National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc. (NAPAS) published a side-by-side comparison of H.R.1350, S.1248, and IDEA '97. You can download this publication from their homepage or click to download the side-by-side comparison in PDF  (Note: This is a large file so be patient when you download)

Wrightslaw Legal & Advocacy Programs: AL, FL, WA, CA, MI

Knowledge is power. When you have information and skills, you will be a more effective advocate for your child. Our role is to help you gain knowledge so you can negotiate with the school on your child's behalf.

Birmingham, AL - May 25, 2004 - FREE Parent Stipend!

Orlando, FL - Family Cafe - May 28-30, 2004 (sessions and Keynote speaker)

Seattle, WA - 1 day training at Autism Society of America National Conference - July 7, 2004

Sacramento, CA Boot Camp - July 17-18, 2004 - 1st Boot Camp on West Coast!

Grand Rapids, MI - July 21, 2004 - 1 day training at Williams Syndrome National Convention

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Programs focus on four areas: special education law; using the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.

We hope you will join us for a Wrightslaw Training Program! If you are interested in bringing Pete and Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars. (We are scheduling programs for 2005-2006.)

Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

Law Library Seminars & Training
Advocacy Yellow Pages for Kids
No Child Left Behind Free Newsletter
IDEA Reauthorization Newsletter Archives

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: https://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com

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