In an effort to share our unified voice, the undersigned parent leaders would like to convey the following commitments:
1. As parents, we support your efforts to establish a collaborative decision making process. We applaud and praise your precedent setting efforts to establish the IDEA Working Group. This has provided an open forum for direct communication with Congress and has assured parents and families an active role in the decision making process so essential to our children's educational futures. We strongly believe that you have the best interest of our children and their families in the process you have established.
2. As parents, we strongly believe in the following four basic concepts that families of children
and youth have been conveying to their Congressional Representatives for the past few months.
They embody the basic foundations that NPND has consistently conveyed to Congress for the
past three years.
- Parts A and B are permanently authorized and must remain intact. Current law is strong and effective and must be more effectively monitored and implemented.
- Part H should be permanently authorized. We believe that Part H is a family focused cost- effective manner of providing services to infants and toddlers with disabilities.
- Discretionary programs must be effectively funded. Research, information, and training programs are the backbone of local schools' ability to provide cost effective and proven best practices to students with disabilities.
- IDEA must be adequately funded. All American students, with and without disabilities, educators, administrators, and related service personnel will benefit if funding is provided to assist States and localities to provide for the education of all children with disabilities, and to assess and assure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.
3. Parents must remain active, and equal partners in this essential decision making process. As parents, we are committed to the concepts listed above; however if within the process of achieving a consensus document, any of the above issues are modified we are committed to remaining active and equal partners in this important decision making process.
4. Any modifications must strengthen the basic tenets of IDEA rather than weaken them. We have reviewed the documents that have come from the working group to date. We are particularly pleased with your efforts to strengthen the role of parents in the IEP process. We want to continue this strong level of collaboration. At this time, we have not seen the completed consensus document; therefore we are unable to endorse the final product. However, it is our greatest hope that we will be able to endorse the bill when the time comes.
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