A new Congress took office while the government shutdown continued. An effort to reduce restraint and seclusion was rekindled, and two reports – one of hope and one of caution were published.

The first month of 2019 has been a lively one in Washington, DC. There’s a new Congress in town and Democrats are preparing to wield their power with newly gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This session, Congress will attempt to tackle many important issues impacting students with disabilities and their families, but they’ll need to get the government running first. Below are a few highlights of what has happened in our nation’s capital in the past month.

NCLD Releases Legislative Priorities for the 116th Congress

  • Earlier this month, NCLD released our legislative priorities for the 116th Congress which focuses on Empowering Students and Families, Early Identification and Intervention, and Strengthening & Enforcing Civil Rights Laws.
  • Read our full legislative priorities, our blog post and watch NCLD’s Director of Government Affairs, Robert Stephens, talk with Understood.Org about what the new Congress means for students with learning disabilities.

If It Continues, the Government Shutdown Could Impact School Lunches, Child-Care for Low-Income Families

  • As the government shutdown continues, an increasing number of programs will be impacted. The National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Child Care Development Block Grant Program (CCDBG) are just a few.

U.S. Department of Education has announced that it would “address the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion” on students with disabilities.

  • On January 17th, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced an initiative to address the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools.
  • The initiative will be lead by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).
  • NCLD has supported the Keeping All Students Safe Act in the past which would make it illegal for any school receiving federal funds to place a child in seclusion and limit the use of physical restraints.  

Release of Two Groundbreaking Reports:

  • The Century Foundation released a report, Students from Low-Income Families and Special Education, co-authored by NCLD Professional Advisory Board (PAB) Member, Dr. Laura Schifter, and former PAB member, Dr. Thomas Hehir, along with Dr. Todd Grindal and Gabriel Schwartz highlighting the disproportionate number of students from low-income families in special education. The study found that students with disabilities low-income students were more likely to be identified for special education in more subjectively defined disability categories, such as learning disability, emotional disability and intellectual disability, than their non-low-income peers. Read the full report here.  
  • As a partner of the Aspen Institute Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development, we’re proud to announce the release of From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at HopeThe National Commission’s groundbreaking final report focuses on what it takes to support young people’s social, emotional, and academic development in all communities. Read the full report at here.

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