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  • BPI: Where Equality Matters...
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  • BPI: Where Equality Matters...
  • 713-614-3322

Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act

Legislative Imperative   The Issue   Since 1975, Public Law 94-142, now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), has revolutionized educational opportunity for all children and youth with disabilities. However, without key improvements, our national special education system cannot fully keep IDEA’s promise of a truly appropriate education for students who are blind or visually impaired. H.R. 4040, The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, is intended to do just that, to improve the delivery of appropriate special education and related services to all students who are blind or visually impaired and deaf or hard of hearing, including students who may have additional disabilities. Once enacted, the legislation will ensure that properly designed and individually tailored services are in fact provided, meeting the unique learning needs of students who are blind or visually impaired, and that the educators who serve them are prepared and supported to do their jobs well, based on evidence-driven best practice.   Strategy   During the next two years, the U.S. Congress may review and amend IDEA as part of Congress’ periodic reauthorization of the law. The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act can be passed by Congress at any time in advance of IDEA reauthorization, or it can be incorporated, in whole or in part, into reauthorization itself.   Legislative Proposal   ACB and BPI urge the U.S. House of Representatives to promptly pass H.R. 4040, The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act. This legislation will:  
  • Ensure that every student with vision loss is properly      identified regardless of formal disability category or classification so      that all students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with      additional disabilities, are counted and properly served.
  • Expand knowledge about the scope and quality of      special education and related services provided to students who are blind      or visually impaired through refined data collection that tracks all      students with vision loss, regardless of formal disability category or      classification.
  • Expect      states to conduct strategic planning, and commit such planning to writing,      to guarantee that all students who are blind or visually impaired within      each state receive all specialized instruction and services needed by      students with vision loss provided by properly trained personnel.
 
  • Clarify that proper evaluation of students who are      blind or visually impaired includes evaluation for students’ needs for      instruction in communication and productivity (including braille      instruction and assistive technology proficiency inclusive of low-vision      devices where appropriate); self-sufficiency and interaction (including      orientation and mobility, self-determination, sensory efficiency,      socialization, recreation and fitness, and independent living skills); and      age-appropriate career education. Such instruction and services constitute      the Expanded Core Curriculum, the body of services which teachers of      students with visual impairments and related professions are expertly      trained to provide.
  • Ramp up U.S. Department of Education responsibilities      to monitor and report on states’ compliance with their obligations with      respect to instruction and services specifically provided to students who      are blind or visually impaired.
  • Assist parents and educators of students who are blind      or visually impaired through regular and up-to-date written policy      guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Establish      a national collaborative organizational resource, the Anne Sullivan Macy      Center on Vision Loss and Educational Excellence, to proliferate      evidence-based practices in the education of students who are blind or      visually impaired, to keep special educators current with the latest      instructional methods, and to supplement state and local educational      agency provision of the instruction and services constituting the Expanded      Core Curriculum.
  Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions   Democrats   Tom Harkin (D-IA) Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) Patty Murray (D-WA) Bernard Sanders (I-VT) Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) Al Franken (D-MN) Michael F. Bennet (D-CO) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT) Elizabeth Warren (D-MD)   Republicans   Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) Richard Burr (R-NC) Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Rand Paul (R-KY) Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) Pat Roberts (RKS) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Mark Kirk (R-IL) Tim Scott (R-SC)   House Committee on Education and the Workforce   Republicans   John Kline (R-MN), Chairman Thomas E. Petri (R-WI) Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) Joe Wilson (R-SC) Virginia Foxx (R-NC) Tom Price (R-GA) Kenny Marchant (R-TX) Duncan Hunter (R-CA) David P. Roe (R-TN) Glenn Thompson (R-PA) Tim Walberg (R-MI) Matt Salmon (R-AZ) Brett Guthrie (R-KY) Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) Todd Rokita (R-IN) Larry Bucshon (R-IN) Trey Gowdy (R-SC) Lou Barletta (R-PA) Joseph J. Heck (R-NV) Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) Richard Hudson (R-NC) Luke Messer (R-IN) ​ Democrats   George Miller (D-CA), Senior Democratic Member Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) John F. Tierney (D-MA) Rush Holt (D-NJ) Susan A. Davis (D-CA) Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) Timothy H. Bishop (D-NY) David Loebsack (D-IA) Joe Courtney (D-CT) Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) Jared Polis (D-CO) Gregorio Sablan (D-Northern Mariana Islands) Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL) Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) Mark Pocan (D-WI)  

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