NOVEMBER 2, 2004LAME BILLS AND SITTING DUCKS
Families are really learning why they call the next few weeks a “Lame Duck” session. We’ve discovered that it is the time that lame bills get tweaked and possibly passed, while there is little that the sitting ducks (we and the greatest victims, our children) can do about it!
While the enthusiasm of campaigning has been going on, families have been in front of television sets, white knuckled and waiting for at least one candidate to take a stand for the benefit of children with disabilities. We have contacted campaign offices. We have contacted our own legislators’ offices. We have made phone calls. We have written letters. Still, the bills are moving forward at breakneck speed, while most of our own elected officials are not even around.
We still remain hopeful for better outcomes to benefit children and educate everyone that we possibly we can, leading to understanding the issues that touch our kids directly in the classroom. After all, isn’t that what families do best?
There is great deal of misinformation surrounding IDEA reauthorization and how it relates to No Child Left Behind. Although those who have worked closely on the Senate and House bills understand the purposes and differences between No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, we have been hearing that there are many House and Senate members and staffers who simply do not. It is absolutely frightening to be facing bills in this Conference Committee that were based on the invalid opinions of many lobbyists, rather than on hard evidence. Furthermore, it is disheartening to have those bills voted on by elected officials who, for the most part, are not even in Washington, D.C. during these potentially life-altering negotiations.
Families have been scraping and scouring for what may very well be our last available opportunities to strengthen the final bill and forestall the harm that the current Senate and House bills may potentially impose on children and families. We ask that you do the same during this very critical time in the history of educating students with disabilities. Please contact all of the conference committee members, using either your targeted talking points or some of those posted on our Breaking News
page. We will continue to post some nice examples as this IDEA reauthorization marches onward.
Good luck at the polls today!
Shari Krishnan, today's parentvolunteer@...