NDSS ESEA Advocacy Alert
NDSS wishes everyone the best as the new school year gets underway, and asks you to take action to ensure that schools maintain high expectations and provide necessary supports for students with disabilities.
Both the House and Senate are working to finalize a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ("ESEA"). The Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA, S. 1177) passed the Senate and the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) passed the House of Representatives in July 2015. These bills are drastically different, with the House bill essentially eliminating the accountability system under the current law and giving all power to the states to set their own academic standards and accountability mechanisms, which will significantly diminish accountability to students with disabilities. Though not perfect, the Senate version contains some very positive components, such as maintaining the 1% cap on the use of alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, annual assessments, and requiring that students with disabilities are involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. Click here for more information about these bills.
When Congress returns from summer recess in September, Members of the House and Senate will meet in a conference to work out differences between the two bills. They will then have to pass a compromise bill in both chambers of Congress before it is sent to the White House for the President's signature. We need to make our voices heard so that this compromise bill ensures accountability and equity for students with disabilities.
We need advocates to urge Members of Congress to increase accountability in the legislation to subgroups of students, including students with disabilities. Unfortunately, a school's overall student population can meet state-set accountability standards in the current legislation while its subgroups of students with disabilities do not. In other words, the performance of students with disabilities can be concealed by school averages and therefore not addressed.
Please take action by emailing your US Representative and US Senators to urge them to increase accountability toward students with disabilities and other subgroups in the compromise bill.
Thank you for your advocacy efforts!
Heather B. Sachs, JD
Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy
National Down Syndrome Society
1602 L St. NW, Suite 925
Washington, DC 20036
www.ndss.org [-] less
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