James Wendorf on CSPAN

Watch Us on C-SPAN: Fighting for IDEA, Education Funding and Civil Rights

Written by | March 10, 2014

We work tirelessly to make sure that learning and attention issues—and your child’s needs—are front and center on Capitol Hill. That’s why last week, NCLD Executive Director James Wendorf appeared on C-SPAN’sWashington Journal to discuss federal legislation and the impact of budget issues on your child’s education.

Watch the interview and read selected quotes from Executive Director, James Wendorf below:

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
“Every student is an individual and needs to be looked at in terms of what’s best for him or her…. We have to make sure that schools have the flexibility and that parents understand what kind of flexibility there may be—what kinds of environments, situations and learning conditions might work best for their child.” (Watch the video.)

Federal Funding for Special Education
“Almost 40 years ago, the President and Congress decided that the federal government would be responsible for 40 percent of the excess cost of educating children with disabilities. Today we stand at less than 16 percent in terms of the federal share…. And this has been the situation pretty much year after year…. But that’s a problem. It means that there continues to be a shift of the funding burden for special education to states and to the local school districts themselves. It’s tough especially on the kids because they tend not to get the services they need in order to be successful in school.” (Watch the video.)

Results-Driven Accountability
“This is a very positive thing in the President’s budget. This $100 million competitive grant program is focused on the states…. I think that many of us in the disability community look at this as a positive step—a form of positive disruption, if you will. It’s focus is to move, I would say not away from compliance, but to make sure that a focus… on results is included in the way states and local school districts address the educational needs of kids with disabilities. Compliance is necessary, but it’s not sufficient. And anything in the funding stream that actually incentivizes states and local school districts to put additional emphasis on the academic progress of kids is a very positive thing.” (Watch the video.)

Transition to Post-Secondary Education
“We know it’s very difficult to make that transition from high school to post-secondary…. It’s tough when you get to the campus. There is no similar safety net in post-secondary that one has in K–12 education. IDEA is gone. It’s not there. There’s coverage from some other laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and others. There are disability services offices, as you say, but some, frankly, work better and more effectively than others. I would say that the very positive thing that you’ve done, and that we would like to see more of, is for students with disabilities to actually disclose. To go to the disability office and disclose and to seek the kind of accommodations and support that they would need.” (Watch the video.)

Civil Rights for Students With Disabilities
“IDEA is a civil rights law. Students with disabilities are a protected class. They require, they need, they deserve a level of support and instruction that goes beyond the needs of their non-disabled peers. There’s a long history of this stretching back 40 years for individuals with disabilities.” (Watch the video.)

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