Fwd: Changes to ESEA in Your State Could Impact Your Child's Education
Volunteer Co-Webmaster, Our Children Left Behind (http://www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com) (special education advocacy volunteers)
From: National Center for Learning Disabilities <Do.Not.Reply@...>
To: alpy2 <alpy2@...>
Sent: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 1:34 pm
Subject: Changes to ESEA in Your State Could Impact Your Child's Education
Donate | LD.orgAction Alert:
Changes to ESEA in Your State Could Impact Your Child's Education
Happy New Year!
Today, I am writing to share crucial information about activities underway in the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Your voice matters in the fight to make a difference for our kids; we need your help today!
As the year unfolds, I’ll be with you every step of the way to keep you updated on events in order to protect the rights of our nation’s 5.8 million students with disabilities, almost half of whom have LD. Please continue reading to learn more about what you can do. The 2012 year promises to be a busy year for parents and advocates of students with learning disabilities (LD)!
On September 23, 2011, USED introduced an ESEA Flexibility Program which allows states to waive certain key accountability and funding allocation requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA – formerly referred to as NCLB, the No Child Left Behind Act). In exchange for these waivers, states must provide certain assurances that are supposed to improve academic achievement for all students.
Eleven states submitted requests for this new flexibility on Nov. 14, 2011: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
In mid-February, many more states will submit requests to USED, including Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
In developing these requests, states must seek input from diverse communities and stakeholders, including those who represent the interest of students with disabilities. States are required to include evidence of their efforts to engage the public with their application. The following statement, from the USED official document on ESEA Flexibility, makes the requirement very clear:
“Each SEA (State Dept. of Education) must provide a description of how the SEA meaningfully engaged and solicited input on its request from teachers and their representatives. Each SEA must also provide a description of how the SEA meaningfully engaged and solicited input on its request from other diverse communities, such as students, parents, community-based organizations, civil rights organizations, organizations representing students with disabilities and English Learners, business organizations, and Indian tribes.”Source: ESEA Flexibility, U.S. Dept. of Education, September 23, 2011
However, as we reviewed the requests submitted in November we saw a major lack of meaningful engagement with local organizations that represent students with disabilities. In fact, NCLD considers this lack of engagement and input to be so serious that we joined other disability advocacy organizations to express our concern in a letter to US ED Secretary Arne Duncan.
NCLD also expressed additional concerns in its own letter to US ED Secretary Arne Duncan. This letter sought to highlight several additional areas of concern beyond the lack of engagement.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If your state submitted an ESEA Flexibility Request in November of 2011, or if your state plans to submit a request in February 2012, please get involved in reviewing and commenting on your state’s application. Here are ways to get involved:
Together we can help ensure that changes made to your state’s school accountability system via ESEA Flexibility Requests maintain full and open accountability for students with disabilities and protect the academic progress we’ve seen in the past decade.
- Contact your state's department of education. Ask for information about your state’s ESEA Flexibility Request and how you can provide input.
- Contact your state's parent training and information center. Ask how they can assist you in reviewing your state’s request.
- Work with disability groups in your state to help with the review (Use NCLD's Resource Locator to find groups in your state).
- Review the list of concerns raised by NCLD in our letter to Secretary Duncan to inform your input.
- Review the Tips for Protecting Students with Disabilities for assistance.
Thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf of students with learning disabilities.
Public Policy Director
The National Center for Learning Disabilities is listed by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All gifts made to NCLD are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
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