NDSS Action Alert re: IDEA Survey and Expert Witness Fee Issue - please share!!!
- Please share widely - thanks!HELP ADVOCATE FOR RIGHTS UNDER THE INDIVDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)
HELP ADVOCATE FOR RIGHTS UNDER THE INDIVDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)
1. Complete the IDEA Survey
2. Get co-sponsors for the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (permits expert witness fee reimbursement)
1. IDEA Survey
Please participate in the IDEA National Survey Project, a survey which examines whether the rights of parents and children with disabilities in special education are protected. Go to http://www.ideasurvey.org to take the survey or for more information. You can also visit the project on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/IDEA.Survey and Twitter, https://twitter.com/#!/IDEASurvey . The deadline for completing the survey is June 14, 2011.
The survey project is sponsored by the National Down Syndrome Society, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Autism Society of America, Autism National Committee, and The Advocacy Institute. The survey examines whether the playing field is level for children with disabilities and their parents, and whether parents are treated as equal partners in their children’s education. A report will be compiled from the responses. There are a few choices of surveys, each appropriate for different groups: parents of children with disabilities; self-advocates (a long and short version); and attorneys, advocates, and other professionals.
2. IDEA Fairness Restoration Act
In early May there will be a call-in day to get co-sponsors for the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (S. 613 in the Senate; H.R. 1208 in the House). You can find the name of your elected officials and contact information at http://capwiz.com/ndss/dbq/officials/?command=local. We will send out another action alert once the call-in date has been selected. If you are in contact with your Representative and/or Senators before the call-in date, please ask them to co-sponsor this bill. They will be back in your state for Spring Recess from April 18-29.
On March 17, 2011, federal legislation was introduced to allow parents to recover expert witness fees in due process hearings and litigation under the IDEA. The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act was introduced in the Senate by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee; Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT); and introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1208) by Congressmen Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Pete Sessions (R-TX).
When schools fail to meet their legal obligations under the IDEA, parents may seek an impartial hearing. Parents need expert witnesses for these hearings, especially in states where they have the burden of proof. Expert witnesses can include psychologists; pediatricians and other physicians; therapists; educational, inclusion, or positive behavioral support experts, and others. Their testimony ensures that children with disabilities get the educational programs, accommodations, and supports they need.
In 2006, the Supreme Court held in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy that parents could not recover their expert witness fees under the IDEA even if the case is decided in their favor. Many parents cannot afford to shoulder this expense. Therefore, they are unable to defend their child’s educational rights. The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act will override the Murphy decision. It will enable parents who prevail in due process hearings and litigation to recover their expert witness fees.Sandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
Our Children Left Behind (http://www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com)