On September 17, 2015, a comprehensive BILL to reform the education of deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deafblind students was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill was sponsored by Congressman Matt Cartwright (D- PA 17th), with original co-sponsors David McKinley (R-WV 1st), Mark Takano (D-CA 41st), Tony Cardenas (D-CA 29th), Kathy Castor (D-FL 14th), Alan Grayson (D-FL 9th), Michael Honda (D-CA 17th), Jared Huffman (D-CA 2nd), and Tim Ryan (D-OH 13th). H.R. 3535, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, will amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to address the unique needs of these populations. This is truly a historic event, and we should be proud of our efforts to make this happen.
However, there still is much work to be done. The bill needs to gain the sponsorship of many more House members, and it needs to be introduced in the Senate. Please take a few moments to contact your Congressional members to ask them to sponsor this bill. It is easy to contact them through their web site, and you can use the sample letters. Be sure to tailor them to your particular situation.
Thanks for all you do to support deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind children!
Find your members of Congress here.
Click here for a Letter to House Members.
Click here for a Letter to Senate Members.
Click here for the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act Summary
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 ensure that:
- every child who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-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;
- 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;
- and students who are deaf-blind will have access to trained and qualified interveners.