The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
September 24, 2004

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

September 21 Agreement

What You Can Do

IDEA Reauthorization News, Resources & Talking Points

Daily News from OCLB

Subscription and Contact Info

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IDEA Alert - Negotiations on IDEA Reauthorization to Begin

On September 21, the Senate and House of Representatives agreed to meet in conference to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Download this Alert.


In April 2003, the House of Representatives passed (H.R. 1350). On May 13, 2004, the Senate passed S. 1248 by a 95-3 vote. These two bills have significant differences from the current IDEA.

The next step is for members of the Senate and House to meet in a conference committee to resolve the differences between these two bills. Senate Democrats refused to meet in conference with the House until they were assured that they would have a meaningful role in developing the bill to reauthorize the IDEA.

September 21 Agreement

On September 21, the logjam broke when the Senate Minority Leader approved an agreement between Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H) and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass), the main sponsors of the Senate bill. All members of the Senate HELP Committee were appointed as Senate conferees. The House is expected to name its conferees later this week.

What You Can Do

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you represent your child's interests. You need to stay informed about changes to the law that will affect your child.

The election is just a few weeks away. You need to express your concerns about the bills to reauthorize IDEA to conference committee members and to the presidential candidates now.

Our Children Left Behind developed a short "To-Do List" that you can use to make your voice heard.

Contact Members of Conference Committee

Parent and disability groups uniformly oppose H.R. 1350 and
oppose or have major concerns with the Senate bill, S.1248. Read IDEA Talking Points

Our Children Left Behind published Guiding Principles for the Conference Committee:

* Promote school and community awareness of disability issues.

* Increase opportunities for children with disabilities to be educated in fully inclusive settings.

* Provide services to equalize educational opportunities for students with disabilities.

* Preserve or enhance the participatory and procedural protections in IDEA '97.

* Preserve or enhance the due process rights for children and parents in IDEA '97.

* Promote educational opportunities for parents to learn about the law.

* Strengthen parent-professional partnerships.

* Measure educational progress; use data collection to measure the effectiveness of programs and strategies.

Contact Presidential Campaigns

Because the presidential election is so close, you have leverage. In addition to contacting members of the conference committee, contact the Presidential campaigns. Your message is simple and clear:

"I am concerned about the future of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). I think the concerns expressed by parents have been overlooked, downplayed, or pointedly ignored. I am paying very close attention to your actions on this issue."

To contact the Bush Campaign: visit www.georgewbush.com/ContactUs/ or e-mail BushCheney04@GeorgeWBush.com or fax 703-647-2993.

To contact the Kerry campaign: visit www.johnkerry.com/contact/contact.php or fax 202-712-3001.

IDEA Reauthorization News, Resources, Talking Points

To learn why S.1248 is a bad IDEA, read Parents Urge Senate to Vote "No",  Advocacy Groups Speak Out, Organize, and IDEA Talking Points.

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 may download this publication from their homepage or click to download the side-by-side comparison in PDF  (This is a large file so be patient when you download)

Daily News from OCLB

If you want to receive daily news about IDEA reauthorization from Our Children Left Behind, you may subscribe by visiting the site at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OurChildrenLeftBehind
or by sending an e-mail to OurChildrenLeftBehind-subscribe@YahooGroups.com

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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