October 31st, 2022

October Policy News Round-Up

NCLD observed LD Awareness month, garnering support for college accommodations access (RISE Act) and raising awareness for mental health. Learn more about what NCLD did this month.

Support for the RISE Act to Pass the U.S. Senate

Recap: In September, the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Mental Health Matters Act (S. 7780). This bill would create fairer access to accommodations for college students with disabilities. 

This was enormous progress and a win for the many advocates that paved the way for this to happen, but the journey does not stop there. In order for the RISE Act to become law, it needs to pass the U.S Senate. In response, many advocates contacted their Senators asking them to pass the RISE Act throughout October and on our call-in day on October 20th.

It is not too late to act! Visit and use the template to send an email to your Senators today. The clock is ticking because if it does not pass the Senate before the start of 118th Congress in January after the midterm elections, the legislative process will start over.

Mental Health is On Our Minds

Every October, our community celebrates Learning Disabilities Awareness Month! Our goal this year was to bring awareness to the correlation between learning disabilities and mental health issues. Together we’ve sought out answers to important questions, explored solutions that will enable schools to support students’ mental health, and more.

Our young adult leaders have raised the importance of focusing on student mental health. To raise awareness, they authored the open letter which includes the following policy recommendations: 

  • Increase funding for early identification, treatment, and psychological support within schools. We need well-funded school-based mental health programs, school psychologists, counselors, and social workers.
  • Keep your promise and fully fund IDEA, after over 40 years of never doing so.
  • Ban the practices of seclusion and restraint that have harmed and oppressed disabled students for decades.

Additionally, young adult authored blogs were featured by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services:

Read the open letter and more at

The Nation’s Report Card Shows Pandemic’s Impact on Academic Achievement

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also called the Nation’s Report Card, is the largest nationally representative assessment of student progress. Grade 4 results were released in September and Grade 8 results are now in. The results show the pandemic’s impact on student achievement: 

  • Average scores declined in both Math and Reading for Grade 4 and Grade 8
  • Average score declines in Math for Grade 4 and Grade 8 were the largest ever recorded in that subject.
  • Achievement gaps persist between students with disabilities and their peers

These results have clear implications for educational leaders to support learning recovery. The U.S. Department of Education outlined the new and ongoing actions to accelerate recovery, which includes Reading and Math expert convenings and a Learning Acceleration guide with resources for states and districts. 

GAO Report Says ED Should Assess Its Efforts to Address Teacher Shortages

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the U.S. Department of Education (ED)’s efforts to address the dire teacher shortage. Its findings showed that shortages were most prevalent in the West, urban and rural areas, and schools predominantly serving students of color. 

In response to ED’s Supporting and Elevating the Teaching Profession vision announced in summer 2022, GAO stated that ED “had not yet clearly communicated time frames, milestones, or performance measures to gauge results of their efforts.”

One of the report’s recommendations is for Secretary Cardona to direct the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to collect resources that address the key challenges contributing to teacher shortages, and share those resources with states and school districts to help them address specific recruitment and retention challenges.

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