The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
FEBRUARY 14, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 30

Senators Send Special Ed Letter to President

Following is the text of a letter to President Clinton dated February 11, 1997. We would like to congratulate you on your continued efforts to focus this country’s attention on the critical issue of education. As you are aware, the Senate's attention has also been centered on this area ,with both Republicans and Democrats proposing education packages in the first days of the 105th Congress.

Today, we ask that you highlight an education issue of great importance to this country: special education. The federal government, under P.L. 94-142, has said that local schools must educate children with disabilities. This was an excellent decision to ensure that special needs children are educated in the least restrictive and most mainstream environment possible.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal government is required to pay 40% of the average cost of educating special needs children. Contributing to the cost is only fair, since it was the federal government that insisted that local schools undertake this responsibility. Today, however, the federal government is not living up to that promise and instead, is funding 7% of the bill.

At the local level, we have seen a shift in resources as a result of the federal government's failure to meet its responsibility. Since the federal government is unwilling to pay its promised 40%, local property taxpayers make up the difference. As a result, Washington has created an inappropriate and unfair conflict between children with disabilities and children without. We owe it to these children to live up to our responsibility and resolve this conflict.

Mr. President, you have proposed more than S40 billion in new education funding, without making any attempt to fully fund special education. The federal government’s share remains at an unacceptable 7% under your budget, We should live up to our existing obligations under the law before we pursue new, expensive initiatives.

Senate Republicans have proposed adding $10 billion over the next seven years to fully fund special education. We ask that you show your support for special education by joining with our efforts to begin fully funding special education.


s: 	Judd Gregg     		Susan M. Collins    	Pat Roberts 
Bob Smith Slade Gorton Jeff Sessions
John Ashcroft Larry Craig Trent Lott
Jim Jeffords Conrad Burns Gordon Smith
Dan Coats Thad Cochran Bill Frist
Dirk Kempthorne Kit Bond Chuck Grassley
John Warner James Inhofe Paul Coverdell
Michael Enzi Spencer Abraham Mike DeWine

Congressional Leaders Present Plan

Stakeholders working for the Reauthorization of IDEA gathered in the Capitol on February 12th to listen to Chairman Jim Jeffords and Chairman Bill Goodling present a plan to bring all interested parties together to gain a consensus on issues concerning IDEA . In an unprecedented move, the leaders unveiled a plan to take IDEA "out of the normal political process" and to work towards a new consensus. All leaders from the special education community and the regular education groups are invited to participate. Next Thursday, February 20th, the groups are invited to begin the process. The goal is to set aside 1 month to work together, find common ground and have a bill that would be "acceptable" to all. A number of the leaders, especially those on the disability side questioned if this is possible. Sen. Jeffords and Representative Goodling were adamant regarding the need for the Reauthorization. They stated that all voices will be heard and the process will be "as inclusive as humanly possible.” If this effort fails, Congress will return to the normal process of Reauthorization in the House and Senate Committees.

Debra Johnson, President , and Patty Smith, Executive Director of the NPND met with Senator Jeffords and Representative Goodling to convey the NPND IDEA Position Statement. They presented a critique of S216 and reported that the NPND Legislative Committee will have the critique of HR 5 this week. NPND will keep you posted.

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Bright Futures for Families, PART 3

Thanks to all who have responded to the previous surveys. We have some new questions and would love to hear from you again, along with anyone who was unable to respond.
The National Parent Network on Disabilities is sharing the lead with Family Voices in the Bright Futures for Families initiative in collaboration with the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The purpose of this important project is to produce practical materials, developed by families for families, which will:
· Help families to form partnerships with their providers and to advocate for the health care needs of their child
· Prepare families to actively participate in health supervision and the promotion of healthy habits.
· Provide valuable information about child development and what to expect as a child matures to adolescence
· Share tips, hints, and stories based on the experiences of a variety of families

These family materials will be derived from Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, published in 1994 as a comprehensive resource to help health professionals, families, and communities more effectively promote the health and well-being of our nation’s children and adolescents.

As we develop these materials, we want to hear from you!! We’d love your input not only on how to make these materials beneficial, but on how to make them unique. Over the next few weeks, we will be including questions to solicit your ideas in shaping this fabulous resource. Please take a moment to answer the following questions, and then return this to NPND (Fax:703-836-1232; e-mail: Thank you for your help. ——————————————————————————————————————————— 1. Describe your relationship to the children you care for.

Health Professional
Child Advocacy Professional
Other ___________________

2. List three subjects regarding raising your children on which you would like information more readily available? (Either now, or topics on which you may have had difficulty finding sufficient information in the past)

3. Where would you like to have materials about raising healthy children more readily available to you:

Doctor’s Office
Child care center
Grocery store

NPND * 1727 King Street, Suite 305 * Alexandria, VA 22314
(703)684-6763 (V/TDD) * (703)836-1232 (fax) * *