On February 12, 2014, a comprehensive bill that will reform education for deaf and hard of hearing and blind and visually impaired students was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D- PA), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Steve Stockman (R-TX). Named for the first deaf student to be formally educated in the U.S. and the beloved teacher of Helen Keller, respectively, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will will ensure that: every child who is deaf and every child who is blind, regardless of whether they have additional disabilities, will be properly counted and served; each of a child's unique learning needs will be properly evaluated; states will engage in strategic planning to be sure that they can in fact meet each child's specialized needs; the U.S. Department of Education will do its part to hold states and schools accountable; students who are deaf will be served by qualified personnel; and students who are blind will receive state-of-the-art services and skills supported through a new major national collaborative initiative addressing their unique learning needs. Thanks to all who have supported this effort through calls, e-mails, letters, meetings, and in other ways!
There is much work still to be done to move this bill forward. You can help!
- Sign the support petition as an individual.
- If you represent a local state, or national advocacy organization, sign the petition as an organization.
- If your House member has sponsored or co-sponsored the bill thank him or her. Click here for a Sample letter.
- Ask your House of Representatives member to sign on as a cosponsor.
- Ask your Senators to sponsor a bill in the Senate.
- Use this Press Release as is or modify it to your needs. Post it on your web site, share it with your stakeholders, send it to local media with your own comments.
"H. R. 4040 Hope for Meaningful and Significant Reform" by James E. Tucker, Superintendent, Maryland School for the Deaf Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children Act) enacted in 1975, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is landmark legislation for millions of students with disabilities who were once either underserved or excluded from public school (click here for more)