Chronology of events regarding IDEA

Tuesday, March 31, 1998

From: Patty Smith

This past week has been a "week from hell". NPND leaders have been battling on all fronts to fight back against the Gorton/Gregg or the Gregg/Gorton amendments and to keep track of the Coverdell Bill, H.R. 2646. The following is information that will update you on the latest events.

On Monday, March 23rd, NPND Board members made the rounds on the Hill visiting with members from the major committees, attended the CCD Ed Task Force meeting, 2 Board Members attended the rally on the Hill with Sen. Jeffords and Kennedy and others, while Linda Shepard and I attended an initial meeting with Michael Morris and Madeleine Will to begin scoping out a response to Priority 4 of the RFP's from OSEP.

Tuesday, March 24th, we had the opportunity to attend an OCR briefing on the work between OSERS and OCR. In the middle of this meeting, we learned that a Gorton Amendment had been attached to the Coverdell Bill, HR 2646.

We began working the hill, had a brief meeting with Senator Lotts staffer. He indicated that Mr. Lott would probably vote yes to Gorton at this time. We got alerts out all over the country. We have had access to get information to all PTI's, all Partners in Policymaking, TASH, and a number of other organizations copied our alerts.

Wednesday, March 25th, NPND leaders and CCD leaders delivered information to all 100 Senators. In addition, 7 parents from the FICC meeting also worked the Hill that a.m.

We learned from that there was going to be a meeting of educators, et al on Thursday March 26th, with Senator Lott. Learning that no parents were going to be in that meeting we strongly urged to get parents from MS to be a part of that meeting. Linda Bond and Agnes Johnson were flown up for the 4 PM meeting on Thursday.

The only positive event last week was the Work Incentives Improvement Act (WIIA) was launched in a wonderful press conference.

Thursday, March 26th, Linda Bond and Agnes Johnson, from the MS PTI, came to Washington to attend the Lott meeting. NPND and CCD leaders worked to brief parents for that meeting . Basically, the meeting with Senator Lott was very difficult and distressful for the parents. The cloture vote on the Coverdell Bill failed on Thursday night and there was no agreement on amendments.

Friday evening, March 27th, HR 2646 moved to Unanimous Consent (UC) with the vote scheduled for the 20th and/or the 21st of April.

Monday, March 30th, Janet Lonsdale traveled to Washington to accompany me and members of the CCD to a meeting with the Secretary of Education and his staff. The meeting was extremely intense as the advocates pressed the Secretary about the critical implications of the Gorton/Gregg Amendments, or the opening of the IDEA statute.

Monday, Mr. Gorton's staff stated his Amendment was not withdrawn and it is still alive. We tried all day to get "paper" on the Gregg Amendment...Teacher Flexibility, but were unable to get any information. Pat Morrissey promised she would have it on Monday, but no deal.

Tuesday, March 31 - I invited CCD leaders to accompany me to a meeting with Senator Jeffords. We carried the same message that we gave to the Secretary of Education. Senator Jeffords said that he and Chairman Goodling are planning to hold hearings on the Regulations this summer. He felt this would be the way to turn the Gortons and Greggs.

To Jeffords, we need his continual support and leadership to protect our children. Regulate the statute, implement and enforce the law.

Tuesday, March 31, afternoon, CCD met and laid out plans to battle for the next three weeks.

NPND was encouraged to approach all of the PTI's and ask for information to demonstrate that IDEA does work. We have designed a PLEDGE for parents, educates and advocate, addressed to the Secretary of Education stating our belief and confidence in IDEA.