While people’s attention has been caught up in the political drama of late, some important things have been happening in congress. Whatever your political views, some are important and you should know that they are happening, whether you agree with them or not.
One thing is the House of Representatives Bill 610. This bill will start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5 to 17, and starts the de-funding process of public schools.
The bill will eliminate the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA) of 1965 which is the nation’s educational law and provides equal opportunity in education. It is a comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance and Federal Accountability Programs.
The bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch. For our most vulnerable, this may be the ONLY nutritious food they have in a day.
The bill has no wording whatsoever protecting special needs kids, no mention of IDEA and FAPE.
Some things the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA) of 1965 does for Children with Disabilities:
-ensures access to the general education curriculum
-ensures access to accommodations on assessments
-ensures concepts of Universal Design for Learning
-includes provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based interventions in schools with consistently underperforming subgroups
-requires states in Title I plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, overuse of discipline practices and reduce the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).
Call your representative and let them know your views on HR 610.