[Nfbnet-members-list] Legislative Alert 3/19/2020
sflynt at nfb.org
Thu Mar 19 20:20:35 UTC 2020
My Federation Brothers and Sisters:
It has come to our attention that IDEA Rights May Be Waived by Congress! As part of the Senate’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has proposed to include a provision in the pending stimulus bill that would give the Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any statutory and/or regulatory requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for one year and extensions may also apply. The stimulus package is expected to drop as early as this weekend. This provision would be detrimental for children with disabilities. Covered entities such as Child Find, a free appropriate public education (FAPE), Individualized Education Program (IEP), all procedural safeguards, re-evaluations, related services and accommodations and more are at great risk.
We cannot allow this provision to pass.
Take Action NOW!
Currently offices are swamped with phone calls, so it may be better to email your two senators and urge them to oppose the Alexander IDEA Waiver provision.
When you call or email, you might say something like the following:
"Hello, my name is [your name] and I am a constituent of [your senator]. I live in [city, state]. I am calling to urge [your senator] to oppose Senator Lamar Alexander’s provision to waive all IDEA requirements. While the COVID-19 outbreak has placed a tremendous and unprecedented strain on schools and districts, it is imperative that we work together to find solutions that allow children to receive equal access to an education and the services that support them without undoing all of their civil and educational rights. I am writing as a concerned (parent, teacher, blind person, etc.) to urge you to reject any provision that would provide waiver authority to the Secretary of Education regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Over seven million children rely on IDEA to receive special education supports and services. I hope you will help schools by providing states with additional funding that can be used to provide teachers, school leaders, and families with the tools they need to connect to teach and support students. Please support the students with disabilities and their families that rely upon the IDEA to have equal access to education.
Please note that due to the rapidly evolving legislation concerning the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves needing to focus on multiple issues simultaneously. Therefore, this legislative alert is in addition to yesterday’s alert on the ATAA. Please be sure to speak with or write to your senators and representative on both of these critical priorities.
You can contact your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard and asking for the office in question. The number is 202-224-3121. If you email your senators, please copy Stephanie Flynt at sflynt at nfb.org<mailto:sflynt at nfb.org>. Your calls and emails do make a difference.
It is best to call or email the relevant education staffer in your member of Congress's office. If you need the name and email of the appropriate staff person for any Senate office, please email Jesa Medders at jmedders at nfb.org<mailto:jmedders at nfb.org>.
Government Affairs Specialist
National Federation of the Blind
P (410) 659-9314, Extension 2210
E: sflynt at nfb.org<mailto:sflynt at nfb.org>
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