Here you will find information on legislative events that impact education policy and more. CASE encourages it's membership to take an active role in these process through education, email alerts, and position statements. CASE is a recognized leader in advocacy for special education policy. CASE along with CEC has a long history of success in impacting this country's policy and legislation in the special education. Each summer during July, CASE sponsors a Special Education Leadership Seminar in Washington. Participants experience guided practice sessions on how to interact with legislators and spend time "On the Hill" practicing these new skills.
CASE joined AASA, the School Superintendents Association, and 5 other education organizations to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Endrew v. Douglas County School District. This was the lead amicus representing groups in the K-12 space—it was actually mentioned twice in the actual hearing. The organizations submitting the brief were, AASA, the CASE, NAFIS, ASBO, AESA, NAESP, NASSP, and NREA. The AASA lawyers, Ruthanne Deutsch of Deutch Hunt and Chris Borecca of Thompson & Horton did a commendable job outlining the concerns of school administrators and why Congress, not the Courts, should determine what changes, if any, are needed to IDEA's educational benefit standard.
This case is considered the most important IDEA case the Court has decided since Rowley as it could redefine the concept of educational benefit in the context of providing FAPE in the LRE. Despite losing in the lower courts, the Petitioner (Endrew) has support from the Obama Administration (among others) and it is not at all clear how SCOTUS will rule. You can read the brief here to better understand the massive implications for districts (financial, procedural and administrative) if the Court rules in favor of the Petitioner.
CASE has a long history of providing a well-designed legislative platform that serves as a base for our advocacy on behalf of our members. This year is no exception. This platform is used by our Executive Committee, our Policy and Legislative Committee as well as the Board of Directors during our meetings to frame CASE priorities. We also reference it in our discussions with our collaborative partners as well as members of Congress and other entities of our federal government. The platform can be used by our CASE Units state by state to consider priorities as they may align with our federal efforts. The platform is updated annually and is also used during our Legislative Summit each summer as we advocate for schools and students on capitol hill.
The CASE Policy and Legislative Committee has worked closely with our Legislative Consultant, Myrna Mandlawitz, Esq., to develop "Every Student Succeeds Act: Summary of Key Provisions! We hope you find this document beneficial as stakeholders working closely with your state officials. This document addresses key provisions of the act that directly impact students with disabilities and the work of special education directors.
On July 24, 2015 CASE sent a letter to OSERS [click to view letter] urging them to use caution in issuing new guidance relating to the identification of students with disabilities; more specifically utilizing new terms for eligibility under the IDEA. CASE is opposed to creating more compliance requirements for special educators and believes the focus should be placed on instructional outcomes for students and professional learning for special education staff.
The following organizations also signed the July 24, 2015 letter: AASA, The School Superintendents Organization, Association of Education Service Agencies, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Education Association, National Rural Education Association and National School Boards Association
CASE's letter was written in response to a letter from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) [click to view letter] sent to OSERS on June 30, 2015.
CASE Policy chair Phyllis Wolfram, Myrna Mandlawitz, CASE legislative consultant, and Luann Purcell, Executive Director have subsequently had discussions with the policy department at NCLD and have begun working together to develop guidance for both parents and LEA personnel as they work collaboratively to better meet the needs of students.
School Districts' Perspectives on the Economic Stimulus Package: Teaching Jobs Saved in 2009-10 But Teacher Layoffs Loom for Next School Year
Today, the Center on Education Policy released the results from a spring of 2010 survey of a nationally representative sample of school districts. The purpose of the survey was to learn about districts' fiscal situation and how American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds have impacted them over the last year. CEP found that while the federal funds helped districts save or create teaching jobs and stabilize budgets, most districts expected to layoff teachers in the 2010-11 school year. The report also addresses districts' efforts to carryout ARRA's four reform areas, district uses of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds and supplemental Title I and IDEA funds, and problems faced by districts in implementing ARRA. School Districts' Perspectives on the Economic Stimulus Package: Teaching Jobs Saved in 2009-10 But Teacher Layoffs Loom for Next School Year is posted on the CEP Web site (www.cep-dc.org) under "What's New" and can be downloaded free-of-charge.
Over the last few weeks we have been updating you on the progress of much needed education jobs legislation. Thank you for all of your work on this important issue and for keeping your networks informed. We have had a great response from CEC members!! Despite all of our outreach, however, the Senate and House both left town last week without passing this much needed legislation. Thus, our work goes on! As our CAN Network, we are asking you to help us with some targeted advocacy.
The fiscally conservative Blue Dog coalition in the House is refusing to vote for this measure, despite the fact many of them supported it in December of 2009. We need your help targeting these members! Here is a list of important members to speak to: http://www.house.gov/melancon/BlueDogs/Member%20Page.html
If you live in one of these states, please encourage your network to go to CEC's Legislative Action Center and use our letter to encourage them to ask the House Appropriations Committee to include emergency funding for legislation now!
The Senate has also failed to pass this legislation. In the Senate, Senator Harkin is leading the charge with his introduction of S.3206 - legislation which would provide $23 billion for educator jobs. His bill, however, only has 29 cosponsors (people who have publically agreed to support it). The reality is we need 60 votes to pass this in the Senate, which means that we need the support of certain key Senators who can help influence others. Therefore, if you live in the following states, please encourage your network to reach out to their Senators and ask them to support this bill:
Alabama - Senator Shelby
Arkansas - Senators Lincoln and Pryor
Indiana - Senators Bayh and Lugar
Indiana - Senator Lugar
Louisiana - Senator Landrieu
Massachusetts - Senator Scott Brown
Maine - Senators Snowe and Collins
Missouri - Senators McCaskill and Bond
North Dakota - Senator Conrad
Nebraska - Senator Nelson
Ohio - Senator Voinovich
Virginia - Senators Warner and Webb
Wisconsin - Senators Feingold and Kohl
We appreciate all that you do - together we can get this done! Remember they count every letter, email and call -- so every voice matters! Your efforts have paid off but we need to keep going!!
CEC Policy & Advocacy Team
Dear U.S. CASE members,
In December, 2009 two bills were introduced in Congress (H.R. 4247 and S.2860) entitled Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act. We believe language similar to that in these bills will be included in the reauthorizations of ESEA and IDEA. Things appear to be moving quickly on this proposed legislation, so it is important CASE gets information to you quickly and that you act quickly in communicating with your Congressional representatives (by kym at testsforge). An easy way to do this is to go the http://www.cec.sped.org, click on Policy and Advocacy at the top of the page, and then click on Legislative Action Center on the left side of the page. Scroll down the page to the section titled Congress and the President, enter your zip code, hit go, and you will have links to your 2 Senators and your Representative. The CASE voice is important. Make yours a part of that collective voice.
Emily Collins, Ph.D.