Last Update 8-1-02


Legislative Update



bulletIDEA-97
bulletPennsylvania Regulations
bulletChildrens' Action Network
bulletCEC Public Policy & Other Reports on the State & Federal Scene

Success Stories for CEC's Annual Budget Book  It's time for  CEC to begin preparing the FY '04 Budget Book.  CEC's annual Budget Book, officially known as the "Federal Outlook for Exceptional Children," is an education tool that our members use with their members of Congress and staff from a variety of federal agencies.  If you have a story you'd like to share, click here for details and examples of past stories.

CEC Special Alert

Please Act Now to Preserve Services for Students with Disabilities, Full Funding, and Gifted Education!

Congress is currently review the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and will act on issues of vital importance to special educators and their students including:

bulletExpelling children with disabilities;
bulletVoting to mandate full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and
bulletSupporting legislation for programs for students with gifts and talents.

It is vitally important that members of the House and Senate know how critical these issues are. If you haven't already done so, please visit your Congressional representatives in their local offices or send them an e-mail or letter urging them to:

bulletReject any IDEA discipline amendments offered allowing children to be denied educational services;
bulletSupport an amendment that provides for mandatory full funding of IDEA; and
bulletSupport the inclusion of language that contains the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Act and new state grant programs for gifted education.

For your ease, these letters are already drafted and can be sent from CEC's Legislative Action Center, go to: http://capwiz.com/cek/home/ For more information about these issues, go to CEC's home page, http://www.cec.sped.org and click on Public Policy and Legislative Affairs.

UPDATE ON CHAPTER 14

Carol Eisenbise went to the special ed law conference at Lehigh and got information on the chapter 14 regs. She created a table of items that caught her attention and the attention of the lawyers who presented. The page numbers refer to the pages of the side-by-side of federal and PA regs that are now Chapter 14. You can get it on the web at pattan.k12.pa.us which is where you can also get the newest forms.  For the latest copy of the Chapter 14 regulations, contact the PA School board at 1-800-654-5984 or at www.pde.psu.edu/regs/chap14prop.pdf .

IDEA FUNDING

At the Federal level, the US Senate and the House of Representatives are considering bills to fully fund IDEA. The full funding bill, called the "Helping Children Succeed by Fully Funding the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)," changes the funding stream under IDEA from discretionary to mandatory and guarantees that the federal special education funds would increase by $2.5 billion each year beginning in Fiscal Year 2002 until Fiscal Year 2007, when federal funding would reach 40%.

CEC is backing the proposed legislation and has joined a coalition of nine national education organizations to form the IDEA Funding Coalition, with a goal of fully funding the Part B Grants to States Program within 6 years. Members of the coalition include the American Association of School Administrators, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National School Boards Association, the National Parent-Teacher Association, the Council of Great City Schools, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, along with CEC.

It is important to note, however, that while both bills dramatically increase funds for special education programs and services under Part B of IDEA, they fail to secure increased funding for personnel preparation, research and other national activities that will improve educational services for children with disabilities. The proposed legislation also fails to provide additional funding for pre-school and early intervention programs for infants and toddlers. CEC will continue to work to obtain increased funding for these vital programs.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor bills supporting full funding for IDEA.

Talking Points

CEC has issued a "Talking Points" recommendation. Review it, then contact your legislator to voice your concerns about how their actions affect our kids.

Pennsylvania's Act 48 requirements are now a fact of life for educators?  PACEC has written to every district asking them to include PACEC activities in their plan. You should echo this request to your Act 48 Coordinator. Click here for the text of our letter, then copy it and send it along with your sentiments.

CEC Projects Provide Link to IDEA Resource Materials

CEC's two leadership initiatives, the ASPIIRE and ILIAD Partnership Projects, have a wide variety of IDEA-related information and materials on their website, called the IDEA Practices Web site. Funding for the two initiatives comes from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Agreement Nos. H326A80005 and H326A80006). The Partnership Projects also receive support from CEC's Association Partners. This rather extensive list is here for you. Click here to see it!

Go to top of page.

IDEA-97 -
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Following are important messages regarding the revisions to
IDEA - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


****************************************

The final regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended in 1997, were published in the March 12, 1999 Federal Register.  To view IDEA, or the regulations visit the the IDEA Partnership's website

ER AND IEP TIMELINES - Are you up to date?

Any lawyer familiar with special education will tell you that a school district can develop the ER and implement the IEP to perfection, yet if you've missed a timeline date, the district is out of compliance! To refresh your memory:

bulletPermission to (Re)Evaluate - 45 school days to complete the evaluation, 10 days to write the ER, 5 days to deliver it to parents.
bulletER - 10 school days between ER and IEP unless waived - copies of the ER shall be disseminated in typewritten form to the school district and parents at least 10 school days prior to the meeting of the IEP team. (Extensions: 30 school days if unusual circumstances such as illness; 60 days if specialized diagnostic or medical assessment services are not available within the school district, but are necessary for completion of ER - these require prior approval from PDE).
bulletIEP - develop within 30 calendar days after issuance of ER; implement within 10 days of IEP meeting or signature of NOREP.
bulletNOREP - parents have 10 days to sign it.

Suggestion: take your school calendar, pick out a fictitious date when a parent has requested a reevaluation, and count out your dates!

Go to top of page.

Children's Action Network - CAN

What's New In Washington, D.C.? Dr. Deb Zeigler and Dr. David Eignor of the CEC Public Policy Division provided a very important workshop outlining the latest happenings in Washington, D.C. The following is an accounting of their presentation at the Kansas City, MO convention. Also speaking at the workshop were Ms. Sally Rhodes, Aide to Sen. Jeffords of Vermont; Mr. David Rowe, Office of the Budget & Management and Mr. Lou Danielson, OSEP - US Dept. of Education.

Dr. Zeigler's Report: We now have a new Secretary of Education - Dr. Rodney Paige of Texas. We are in the 107th Congress and the main issue at this point is "Full Funding of IDEA". The new line on this issue is, "It's A Guarantee, Not Just a Promise". For the next six (6) fiscal years, 2002 - 2007, CEC recommends the following figures to help meet the full funding initiative:

bulletPart B -
bulletFY 2002 $ 8.8 Billion (an increase of $2.4 billion from 2001)
bulletFY 2003 $11.3 Billion
bulletFY 2004 $13.8 Billion
bulletFY 2005 $16.3 Billion
bulletFY 2006 $18.3 Billion
bulletFY 2007 $21.8 Billion
bulletPart B - Preschool Grants - CEC says, $574 million for 2002 - Feds say, level funding
bulletPart C - Infants & Toddlers - CEC says, $425 million for 2002 - Feds say, level funding
bulletPart D - Support Programs - CEC says $660 million for 2002 - Feds say, decrease funds
bulletJavits Gifted and Talented Act - CEC says, $12 million for 2002 - Feds say put in a block grant which could mean less money or just added to Part B funds and possibly not be used for its intended purpose.

Even with the increases requested by CEC, the federal share of the per pupil expenditure still only reaches 15% for 2002.

Dr. Eignor's Report: ESEA Reauthorization - The emphasis of this reauthorization is on consolidation of the funding for programs in ESEA with more accountability. Currently the administration is looking for lots of testing. It is suggested that it be done each year for grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8. The administration is looking at a National Test for 4th and 8th grades and also allowing the use of vouchers with Title 1 money which would allow parents to get services at another public school if they were unhappy with what they were receiving currently.

CEC's top priorities/ Principles for ESEA Reauthorization:

bulletRequire that assessments of student performance are developmentally appropriate and that appropriate accommodations, when necessary, are provided to children with disabilities as required by IDEA.
bulletMaximize opportunities for early learning for all young children, including young children with disabilities and/ or gifts and talents.
bulletAssure that young children and their families have access to developmentally appropriate programs and services in the least restrictive environment.
bulletClarify that social promotion and retention policies under ESEA must not override special education student's needs described in their IEPs.
bulletClarify the ESEA professional development activities shall include activities that enable all education processionals to appropriately serve all students, including students with disabilities and students with gifts and talents.
bulletEnd practice of hiring uncertified teachers and other education professionals, including special education professionals and paraprofessionals.
bulletEmphasize that all state and local educational agencies should adopt zero tolerance policies for academic failure. In this regard, educational and mental health services and supports must be continued for all students who are long-term suspended or expelled from school.

SAFE Schools - SAFE Streets - The emphasis of this initiative is to halt the cessation of services for students who are expelled from school. We need to implement a behavior/ discipline system that addresses the needs of students not put them out on the street to get into more trouble.

Gifted and Talented - This area is being treated as an optional activity and not a priority for this administration. Action needs to be taken of alerting your congress person to act now to say the Javits Act. Go to the Legislative Action Center on the CEC web site and let your congress person know where you stand.

Sally Rhodes Report - Legislative Aide to Sen. Jeffords, Vermont - #1 priority is full funding for IDEA. (Thank Senator Jeffords for going out on a limb for special education). Sen. Jeffords wants to make IDEA full funding mandatory and to take it out of the budget game played each year. He is in agreement with CEC's suggested six (6) year phase in of full funding.

Family Opportunity Act - Sen. Jeffords supports allowing access to medicaid for families of individuals with severe handicaps.

David Rowe's Report - Office of Management and Budget The administration is calling for a $1 Billion increase in special education funding over 2001. This represents an increase from 15% to 17% funding for IDEA, the highest increase ever. HE also stated that there is only so much money to go around and that the administration needs to look at the big picture and make appropriation suggestions/ recommendations for all areas.

Lew Danielson's Report - OSEP, Dept. of Education - There is no appointed head of OSEP yet. Look for some movement perhaps in the next one to two weeks. The issues for Part B facing OSEP at this time are those of the burdensome paperwork and the personnel shortages. Also, he stated that as the funding dollars increases, we will need to revamp the formulas for fund distribution. Finally, he stated that the OSEP is working on the following four projects:

bulletLooking at experts in the field to develop papers on the identification of LD students which will then be reviewed by a wide array of groups, people and organizations. Hopefully some recommendations on this issue will be forthcoming from this endeavor.
bulletThere will be a continuation of the push for school-wide positive behavioral approaches and support programs to help all students (not just special education).
bulletCurrently working on a longitudinal study to obtain meaningful/ measurable data on the benefits of special education for students.
bulletConducting a study on the issue of special education expenditures.

If further information or clarification of this information contained in the report of the workshop is needed, please contact Michael Thew, CAN Coordinator, PIONEER Division at: [email protected] .

Grassroots Advocacy - It works!

As a professional organization, the Pennsylvania Federation of the Council for Exceptional Children (PACEC) supports funding programs for the improvement of life for all persons with disabilities. Each PACEC member is also a part of three federal legislator's constituencies. They are one US Congressman and two US Senators. As a group, we should begin to express our professional position through statements which collectively include the entire organization. As individuals, we should express our personal positions through contacting our representatives at federal, state, and local levels to assure our/your position is heard. Usually, brief hand written notes are very effective but newer more effective methods to contact people are also very useful. These include FAX and email messages. What follows is information about the federal budget, possible challenges to IDEA 1997 and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) changes.

Prior to the enactment of the 1997 Amendments to IDEA, the Commonwealth of Virginia won an appeal in federal court regarding the expulsion or long term suspension of students with disabilities. In short, the decision found in favor of termination of the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities who were expelled due to misconduct not related to their disabilities. The 1997 Amendments to IDEA now include stipulations about previous knowledge of possible behavior problems. This part of the amendments remedies the expulsion issue, because previous knowledge of potential behavior problems must be addressed through multidisciplinary teams, programs and FAPE. This law now protects all students whether they are in general or special programs from expulsion. This provision of IDEA will probably be tested in litigation in the near future.

The provisions of IDEA also include intent to lessen the financial burden to school districts when providing special services. The first way, regards no legal fees for a hearing or IEP meeting unless it is the result some other hearing or action. Second, school districts can reduce the cost of expensive re-evaluations by forgoing unnecessary assessments with the proviso that parents do not object. However, some school systems may use this part of the law to terminate special education status of students without assessment. This type of action is not in the spirit of the legislation. There is no intention to allow school systems to determine without evidence which students will or will not receive services. The legislation allows that school systems do not have to retest students who obviously still have their disabilities.

If you are interested in any issues regarding children with disabilities or if you have a comment about the above information or issues please feel free to contact your CAN Coordinator. Your CAN coordinator is: Vicki McGinley at [email protected], West Chester University, 305 Recitation Hall, West Chester, PA 19383 (610) 436-3431

Go to top of page.

On the State & Federal Scene...

Following are current reports from PACEC's Representatives and CEC's Public Policy experts
to keep you updated regarding what's happening in Harrisburg and Washington
- and how it may affect us all.

Federal

See the reports at the top of this page.

State

See the reports at the top of this page.

Go to top of page.

Homepage - About PFCEC - Legislative Update - Professional Development -
Membership Info. - Related Sites/Addresses - News -
ACTION On-Line - JOBS - Family Resource Center - Student PASCEC
Book & Product Reviews - Things That Make You Think & Feel Good

powered by funny photo