By: Lindsay E. Jones, NCLD Policy & Advocacy Director Published Date: December 11, 2013
Finally, some good news from Washington, D.C.
Negotiators in Congress have reached a tentative budget deal. The proposal would restore about 87 percent of funding for domestic discretionary programs, which includes funding for education. The deal would roll back sequestration cuts for the next two years. This could give Congress a way forward to boost support for disadvantaged children and students in special education. Under the deal, the deficit would also be reduced by $23 billion.
Is this deal perfect?No. As we’ve said time and time again, Congress needs to step up and fully fund the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act as well as invest in education generally. But we think restoring 87 percent of education funding for the next two years moves us in the right direction.
Is this a done deal?Not yet. The proposal was negotiated by Democratic Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Republican Representative Paul Ryan (WI), but Congress will have to still have to vote and approve the deal. It looks like votes on the deal are scheduled for late this week or early next.
Did you make a difference?Yes. More than 1,000 of you took our survey about budget cuts in your local schools—we used the results of the survey to create a budget infographic presentation for Congress. In addition, more than 3,000 of you took action and wrote directly to your Senators and Representatives. Congressional staffers have stopped me in the halls of Congress to tell me that both the budget survey and your emails have influenced the budget discussion.
Bottom line—this is not a perfect deal, but it’s a good step. Your actions made a difference and Congress should approve this deal.
If you want to learn more about the current deal, take a look at this Education Week article, which gives more specifics.
By: NCLD Editorial Team Published Date: December 10, 2013
As the political debate over the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) continues, schools are already implementing the standards in classrooms all across the country. Many teachers, parents and students are focusing on how to adjust to the new higher expectations of the CCSS. Here's a typical comment that we got from one of our parents:
Our child’s first report card aligned with CCSS was dismal and we’re trying to figure out what to do. Can you help?
When Congress passed IDEA, it promised to pay for 40 percent of the extra cost of education for children with disabilities. But Congress has never fully funded IDEA and, as the chart shows, the situation is getting even worse. In fact, if nothing changes, sequestration will cause more cuts. It's time for you tell Congress that you've had enough. Join more than 3,000 other LD.org users in saying: No More Cuts!Read More >
By: Quinn Bradlee, NCLD Team Published Date: December 05, 2013
I’m well aware that if I didn’t have learning differences I wouldn’t have started Friends of Quinn and made it my mission to help others with similar issues. As much as I complain about it, I love my dyslexia. I know that my dyslexia is the reason why I do what I do today. It gives me a sense of purpose and helps shape me into the person I am.
One of my favorite quotes is from Shakespeare’s play Othello, when Iago says, “I am not who I am.” I got what he meant right away—that people see him for what he’s not. When you are different, as hard as it may be sometimes, it’s a gift in the sense that you can see the world in a completely different view. It’s almost a birds-eye-view, because you can see more than most people. You have the ability to see people’s vulnerabilities, subtle strengths and characteristics. You appreciate how pain and awkwardness can make someone sensitive and kind. Read More >