Lynn Donald Carver and Candia Nicholas of Arkansas Support Network/Community Parent Resource Center recently attended the 2012 IDEA Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. The conference was hosted by the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the theme of the conference was, “Leading together to achieve success from cradle to career”. The list of attendees included: Parent Centers, Early Intervention Specialists, State Directors and Coordinators of Special Education, Advisory Panel members, and State Interagency Coordinating Council members.
As part of the conference, a reception on the hill for members of Congress was hosted by the Parent Centers’ staff. Parent Center staff use this as an opportunity to emphasize the work of the centers on behalf of students in special education and their families, and also as a time to voice support for, or concerns about, impending legislation that may impact our work.
This year, with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (otherwise known as No Child Left Behind), as well as proposed changes to both IDEA and the Rehab Act (which includes Section 504 protections), there are many reasons for all of us to be concerned about the education of our children, including those with disabilities.
We will keep you apprised of what’s happening with these proposals for change, and we hope that you’ll use the information to express your support or concern (or both) to our members of Congress as they deliberate on the changes. Each of the Senators and both of the staff representatives of Congressmen that we spoke with invited us to have input, and to encourage you to voice your opinions also. For your convenience we have listed contact information below.
Congressman Steve Womack’s Office at (202)225-4301 or by emailing him at Womack@mail.house.gov
Senator John Boozman’s Office at (202)224-4843 or by emailing Ian Prince/Legislative Assistant at
Senator Mark Pryor’s Office at (202)224-2353 or by emailing Sarah Holland/Legislative Assistant at
Staff of the Family Support Program (including original content as well as curated links to various authors around the web.)