On February 12, 2014, a comprehensive bill, H.R. 4040, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D- PA), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Steve Stockman (R-TX). The bill was designed to reform education for deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired students. When the 2013-2014 session of Congress expired, that bill expired as well. (All bills that are introduced but not passed during a session of Congress expire at the end of that session.) CEASD and partner organizations have prepared a new draft bill to be introduced in the current Congress. In addition to addressing the needs of deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired students, this new draft also includes a section supporting the needs of deaf-blind students.
We have made some progress towards having the bill reintroduced, but we need your help. As Mr. Stockman has left the House of Representatives, we are looking for a Republican to sponsor the bill in the House. We also need a Republican sponsor in the Senate. Please take a few moments to contact your Republican representatives 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!
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 (Draft) 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.