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National Council on Disabilities Seeks Public Input on Education By Sept. 15

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  • Alpy2@aol.com
    The National Council on Disability is seeking public comments on special education related issues and concerns from the community. Such feedback is requested
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2009
      The National Council on Disability is seeking public comments on special education related issues and concerns from the community. Such feedback is requested by Sept. 15. Please see below for more information (the following was written by a special education parent and active volunteer), and please feel free to share!
      There are two National Council on Disability events that disability community members may be interested in.  Years ago, under the Clinton administration, NCD produced the groundbreaking "Back to School on Civil Rights Law " (2000)  an expose of many of the problems with special education, the lack of rights, and the uphill battle parents face.  ( http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2000/backtoschool_1.htm  ),   The NCD has largely been quiet on education for the last 8 years, other than publishing Pete Wright's excellent paper on Schaffer (burden of proof).  But now, NCD has announced two events of interest. (1) NCD is making recommendations about trends and legislation affecting the lives of people with disabilities, including in Education, and is soliciting ideas and input, with a Sept 15 deadline.  (2) NCD is convening a National Summit on Disability in 2010; applications are due this October, and there are tracks devoted to Education.


      NCD is gathering public input for a study of emerging issues and trends affecting the lives of people with disabilities. NCD will assess the county's status in achieving equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, and empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.  Input will be used to develop recommendations for changes in legislation, regulations, policies, or programs, as appropriate.

      AMONG OTHER ISSUES, NCD IS ANALYZING EDUCATION.  Folks may wish to write in with information and ideas that they have.  The entire document and information on how to respond is available at http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2009/NationalCouncilonDisability.doc.

      There are questions on the form that might appear difficult such as asking about programs that work in communities, but I personally do not think there is anything wrong with writing "unknown" or "none."  For example, if someone believes that NCD needs to write another Back To School on Civil Rights, they might submit that as an idea and realize that they'd have to write"unknown" as answers to 7-9.   If they believe that Murphy (expert witness fees) and Schaffer (burden of proof) make the playing field uneven for parents and they want that fixed, that person might have to do a similar thing on some of the questions.  (New Hampshire has adopted expert witness fees and NJ, NY, and Conn. have statutes overriding Schaffer.)

      WHEN NCD doesn't hear voices, they cannot know there is a problem out there.  In my personal opinion, it is better for them to get letters than for people to worry about pigeonholing everything into the 9 questions. If you're a parent, advocate or attorney new to practice, and you're concerned about something, just say that in your submission; people understand that you aren't going to approach this like someone who has been running a disability agency for the last 20 years.  But when there are many letters about an issue, they can be used by other people in policymaking positions or to support the need to do something (like write another Back to School on Civil Rights or whatever it may be).  When there is silence, there can sometimes be an assumption that everything is okay.  You may remember in the 2006 IDEA regulations portions where the Dept. of Education said there wasn't a need for a pro-parent provision because they hadn't gotten any complaints that there were problems. 

      (2) National Summit on Disability Policy 2010.  Be a delegate and make your voice heard on education!  (October deadline)

      The National Summit on Disability Policy 2010 commemorates the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but focuses on much more.  The summit results will help shape disability policy and programs for the next decade. There are 10 tracks, including Education, Civil Rights, and Employment.  If you wish to be a delegate, you must submit an application by October 15, 2009.  There are limited scholarship funds available.  Folks who wish to raise their voices on education issues and help shape education policy may wish to apply. 

      Please feel free to forward or share this email with others.

      Sandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
      Volunteer Co-Webmaster, Our Children Left Behind (http://www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com) (IDEA & NCLB reauthorization)
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