On February 16, 2017, a comprehensive, bipartisan 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. H.R. 1120, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, was sponsored by Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA 17) and Congressman David McKinley (R-WV 1), with 14 original co-sponsors: Pete Aguilar (D-CA-31), Joseph Crowley (D-NY-14), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD-7), John K. Delaney (D-MD-7), Michael F. Doyle (D-PA-14), Grace Meng (D-NY-6), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Eric Swalwell (D-CA-41), Mark Takano (D-CA-41), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-5), Mike Thompson (D-CA-5), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3).
On November 7, 2017, a companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) as S. 2087.
This is a history-making bill! It is the first that specifically addresses the educational needs of these populations. All too often students who are deaf, blind, or deafblind miss out on information in the classroom. When they are able to receive the same information as their peers, they are able to achieve and thrive.
We need your help to obtain more co-sponsors in the House and Senate. Please write to your members of Congress today, using the model letters below.
Thanks for all you do to support deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind children!
Find your members of Congress here.
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.