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IDEA National Sign On

 

Pasted below is the position statement we are asking every parent group, chapter, affiliate, and advocacy organization nationwide to endorse with their "sign on." Together we are calling ourselves the National Committee of Parents and Advocates Organized to Protect IDEA -- and we will continue to work together until we are sure that the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is safe from changes that will compromise the rights of our children and youth to receive an education that is equitable and excellent.

 

Do you agree with the statement and will you join us in defending a strong IDEA? Please send us the name of your organization or group along with contact information.  Send your information to: jruppmann@tash.org. Jamie Ruppmann has agreed to collect the signatures and make sure they are added to our Position Statement.

 

Thank you for standing with us,


POSITION PAPER ON THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)

6-05-04

 

The National Committee of Parents and Advocates Organized to Protect IDEA represents millions of citizens who have come together to protect the educational guarantee required by (IDEA). The undersigned national, state and local organizations are united in opposition to the House and Senate bills that amend and reauthorize IDEA. Both of these bills weaken the rights and protections necessary to ensure that students with disabilities are not left behind.

At this critical time when states, districts and schools are being held accountable for improved student achievement, there is no justification for weakening IDEA – to make it easier to remove our children from school, to disrupt their education, to burden parents with additional procedures before addressing their children’s educational needs, or to weaken the Individualized Education Program (IEP), a parent’s strongest tool for holding schools accountable for their child’s learning to high standards.  We cannot afford to wait and to watch the existing achievement gap grow between our children and non-disabled students.  Time is precious and the clock is running.

The Senate bill, S. 1248 and the House bill, H. 1350, eliminate existing rights and protections from IDEA – rights and protections specifically designed to ensure that our most vulnerable students NOT be left behind but receive a free appropriate public education consistent with their State’s education standards and tailored to address their individual needs.

Listed below are some of the provisions in the House and Senate bills that will weaken the rights and protections of children with disabilities.

  • Both bills eliminate the right of students to “stay-put” in their current educational placement during disciplinary proceedings for proposed removals in excess of 10 school days, even when the behavior is unrelated to drugs, weapons or otherwise dangerous activities. We are also concerned that the behavior may often be a manifestation of the student’s disability or the result of an inappropriate IEP or the failure to implement an appropriate IEP. The elimination of the right to “stay put,” and the disruption that occurs as a result, will increase the achievement gap between these students and their non- disabled peers.

  • The House bill eliminates the right to a review to determine if a student’s behavior is the manifestation of his or her disability before using the disciplinary procedures that apply to non-disabled students.  The Senate bill allows for a manifestation determination review, but eliminates the most critical component –examining whether the student’s IEP is appropriate and whether it is being implemented.  In addition, the burden of proof is shifted to the parent.

  • The Senate bill eliminates required short term objectives or benchmarks in the IEP and the House bill eliminates them for all but students with the most significant disabilities. Measurable steps toward achieving annual goals, including academic content standards, are essential tools which enable teachers and parents to assess whether the child is learning and making effective progress;

  • Both bills will allow for three year IEPs.  The House will allow them for all students, while the Senate bill will allow them for students who are in their final three years of school.  Both undermine efforts to close the achievement gap and to hold schools accountable to parents.

  • The House bill permits 10 states and the Senate bill permits 15 states to negotiate paperwork reductions with the US Department of Education without having defined “paperwork” and without seeking input from parents and advocates on whether those “paperwork reductions would adversely affect the right to a free, appropriate public education.

  • Both bills will make it more difficult for the very small percentage of parents who are able to pursue their administrative and/or judicial remedies in order to obtain their children’s full rights and protections under IDEA. The Senate bill creates the fear that parents or their attorneys may have to pay fees for the school system’s attorney. This fear will intimidate some parents from exercising their right to due process. The House bill imposes a cap on the rate of attorney’s fees that can be reimbursed to parents when they are the prevailing party.

  • Neither bill requires mandatory full funding of IDEA to support the additional cost of educating students receiving special education services.

 

The House and Senate IDEA bills should not proceed to conference unless the committee is prepared to negotiate legislation that will protect these critical rights. The rights and protections of students with disabilities must be preserved in order to improve the educational outcomes of these students

The Position Statement is supported by the undersigned local, state and national organizations and groups.  Together we make up The National Committee of Parents and Advocates Organized to Protect IDEA.

 

Please click the link below to see the ever growing list of organizations joining this great cause:

http://p078.ezboard.com/fourchildrenleftbehindfrm28.showMessage?topicID=95.topic