The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
FEBRUARY 28, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 32

IDEA Begins Again

David Hoppe, Chief of Staff for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, convened the first meeting of various stakeholders to try to reach consensus on a bill to reauthorize IDEA on Friday, February 21, in the Capitol. He outlined the purpose and process for the series of meetings and made it clear that all are welcome to participate.

Recognizing the need to start from current law, Mr. Hoppe began by saying, "We will start with current law. While it has been successful overall, it is not perfect." We feel strongly that this decision is the result of all the hard work of you as parents and advocates for children with disabilities.

Mr. Hoppe explained that the decision to vary from the usual legislative process and hold regular meetings of involved citizens along with key legislative and administration staff was made in an effort to build a broad bipartisan agreement. The plan is to complete the work in about one month.

OSERS Assistant Secretary Judy Heumann told the group that the Administration, including the Secretary of Education and the President, is committed to this process. She said her guiding principles are: "No harm to children, and improvement in teaching and learning."

Echoing the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Hoppe said the group would look for ways "to strengthen the law, improve it, make it more efficient." His three guiding principles are: "Help kids, help parents, and help schools."

Many interesting points were made; some of the more pervasive points of agreement that emerged from the audience are the following:
• Support for permanent authorization of Part H.
• Expansion of the discretionary programs, with particular emphasis on personnel preparation and dissemination of promising practices.
• Importance of the setaside of Part B money for state education agencies - with an interesting variety of reports of the many different ways states are using this money to serve students.

Near the end of the session, Mr. Hoppe outlined the overall strategy he will follow: He wants to begin with the "easy points," where he believes there is already agreement, and then proceed in later meetings to the more controversial items. He presented a list of eight proposed changes. This list, which appeared to have been hammered out by the legislative and administration staff shortly before the meeting, is as follows:
1. Adding orientation and mobility training as related services.
2. Require participation of children with disabilities in state and district-wide assessments of student progress.
3. Require states to have placement neutral state funding formula.
4. Require parent participation in placement decisions regarding their child.
5. Require performance goals and indicators for children with disabilities.
6. Expand the provisions of current law regarding non-discriminatory testing procedures.
7. Allow "incidental benefits" to children without disabilities.
8. Require non educational agencies to reimburse schools to pay for services.

We believe there will be four more meetings, about a week apart. Everyone is invited to attend or give input on the issues listed above before next Friday's meeting. Please continue to help us, leaders attending this meeting from NPND will use the input you forward to guide our discussions. Parents are also encouraged to send in stories of their son's or daughter's experiences relative to the eight issues.

Input should be sent to David Hoppe, Chief of Staff, S 230, US Capitol, Washington, DC 20510. NPND would appreciate a copy of ideas sent to Mr. Hoppe.

On Friday, we got off to a very good start. However, even with this good start, there will be many difficult decisions and challenges for IDEA in the upcoming weeks.


Mr. Hoppe has forwarded the principles that will be used by the joint Congressional and Administrative working group to guide the IDEA Reauthorization process. They include the following:
Review, strengthen, and improve IDEA to better educate children with disabilities, and enable them to receive a quality education by: Ensuring access to the general education curriculum and reforms; Strengthen the role of parents; Focusing on teaching and learning while reducing unnecessary paperwork requirements; Giving increased attention to racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity to prevent inappropriate identification and mislabeling; Ensuring that schools are safe and conducive to learning; Encouraging parents and educators to work out their differences by using nonadversarial means; Assisting educational agencies in addressing the costs of improving special education and related services to children with disabilities. With the goal of providing equality education, we will start with the current law and build on the actions, experiences, information, facts, and research gathered over the life of this law, particularly in the last three years. We must distinguish between problems of implementation and problems with the law, and respond appropriately, according to the issue raised.

Encourage exemplary practices that lead to improved teaching and learning experiences, and which in turn result in productive independent adult lives.

Assist States in the implementation of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families and support the smooth and effective transition of these young children to preschool.

Bright Futures for Families, PART 5

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. Mother
Health Professional
Child Advocacy Professional
Other ___________________

2. How do you and your child prepare for appointments with your health provider? Do you discuss possible questions or concerns you have, take any health forms, or make any other preparations?

3. Do you keep a record of your child’s immunizations, height and weight, dates of visits, questions for health care provider, advice or recommendations given, etc.? What system have you found useful to organize this information?

4. Do you have a good relationship with your child’s primary health care provider? Do you ask questions and raise concerns?

5. What types of questions do you expect your health provider to be able to answer easily and completely?

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