July 2019 Policy News Round Up

Written by NCLD Policy Team | 3 months ago

This month, while Congress tackled the budget, NCLD released joint principles to guide the SLD evaluation process, and the community hosted a drive to register voters with disabilities and more. See how NCLD worked this month to empower people with disabilities in the dog days of summer.

Congress Agrees to Federal Budget
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 was passed and is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump soon. This compromise doesn’t fund the government for 2020, but it will raise the spending caps on defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and 2021 and will suspend the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. Doing so is essential to continue funding government programs—like education—without experiencing huge cuts that would come as a result of the sequestration caps! NCLD joined with other education advocacy organizations in support of this compromise.

New NCLD Resource! 8 Principles: Special Education Eligibility for Students With SLD
In collaboration with 10 national partners, NCLD is proud to announce the release of eight principles to guide the evaluation process: “Eligibility for Special Education Under a Specific Learning Disability Classification.” The principles cover topics such as instruction and intervention, collaboration among team members, parent and family engagement, the use of cognitive assessments, and the use of RTI data in decision making.

NCLD Promotes National Disability Voter Registration Week
NCLD joined with others to participate in National Disability Voter Registration Week. Voting is the foundation of our democracy and one of the most fundamental rights that Americans enjoy. People with disabilities represent more than 20 percent of the U.S. population, and they can have a powerful influence if they are fully included in the voting and electoral processes. Since 2016, the nonpartisan REV UP Campaign has aimed to increase voter turnout and political participation among people with disabilities. NCLD is working with the disability community to ensure that people with disabilities register to vote, become informed about election issues, and participate in all aspects of elections. Stay tuned for more information about NCLD’s Get Out the Vote efforts!

Op-Ed: NCLD and ACE Combat Stigma in Higher Education
Lindsay Jones, president and CEO of NCLD, co-wrote an op-ed with the American Council on Education (ACE), an organization representing more than 1,000 leaders of colleges and universities. “Ending the Stigma for College Students With Learning Disabilities” reflects on how the college admissions scandal impacts students with disabilities—and the need for our communities to directly confront the abuse of a system that’s essential to supporting these students.

NCLD Joins With Other Organizations to Maintain the Least Restrictive Environment Requirements Under IDEA
In response to concerns that the U.S. Department of Education was considering taking action and weakening the legal interpretation of the “least restrictive environment” (LRE) mandate under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), NCLD partnered with a diverse group of individuals and organizations that care about and protect the rights of children with disabilities. Together, we made clear in our joint statement that we will work together to vigorously protect current law and fight any interpretation of LRE that alters or weakens IDEA’s clear requirement that schools and districts must consider general education first, for every child. We must protect IDEA’s presumption of general education because without it, we can expect to see increases in the inappropriate placement of children with disabilities in more segregated settings which contradicts the clear language, intent, and established legal precedent of the IDEA.