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TSA encourages 2 email re;education bill,S.1248

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Dear Members and Friends:




This alert is going to be the first of several different alerts that

will be sent to you in the next couple of months. All of the alerts

will be requesting you to take action, but in different ways, so

please respond. By taking action on one of the alerts does not

preclude you from taking action on all.








On June 12, 2003, after months of negotiations, the Senate Health,

Education, Labor and Pensions Committee introduced a bipartisan

special education bill, S. 1248, Individuals with Disabilities

Education Improvement Act of 2003.




The Tourette Syndrome Association applauds the Senate for developing

bipartisan legislation that attempts to find compromises in many

complex educational issues. S.1248 is a drastic improvement over

the House passed bill, H.R. 1350.




Many of the concerns that TSA had with H.R. 1350 were addressed in

S. 1248. For example, including convening a manifestation

determination hearing after a student has been removed (H.R. 1350

removed this provision), the bill takes proactive steps to assist

individual students to receive the supports they need to manage

their behavior (H.R. 1350 eliminated positive behavioral supports),

the bill successfully addresses the need for states to do more

around alternative assessments (H.R. 1350 did not), and S. 1248

continues the annual IEP process (H.R. 1350 proposed an optional

three-year IEP).




Although S. 1248 is a marked improvement over the bill passed by the

House and it addresses many of TSA's concerns—there are still


provisions that need to be fixed, namely, eliminating functional

behavioral assessments, short-term objectives and full mandatory









As promised, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Committee is conducting bipartisan feedback meetings on the Hill to

give groups and individuals the opportunity to comment on the bill

before they mark it up. The Committee has also setup a temporary

email address to receive responses to the bill the individuals that

can not make the meetings.




TSA encourages all members to send the below email to this address:

idea_feedback@labor.senate.gov. Emailed responses should be sent to

the attention of and titled "Annie and Connie – IDEA


Feedback." Please note that this email is only temporary and


not long work past June 25th.








Subject Line: Annie and Connie – IDEA Reauthorization Feedback




I am writing you today, a [parent, grandparent, relative, teacher,

friend or advocate] of a child with Tourette Syndrome, to applaud

the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for

developing a bipartisan bill on many complex special education

issues. This bill, S. 1248, is a drastic improvement over the bill

that passed the House of Representatives.




While you addressed many of my concerns with H.R. 1350: retaining

manifestation determination hearing, positive behavioral supports,

alternative assessments, and the annual IEP process, there are still

a few provisions that concern me. First, the bill eliminates the

requirement to conduct a functional behavioral assessment. How will

a behavioral intervention plan be implemented without an

assessment? Second, S. 1248 alters the process by which students

with disabilities, including Tourette Syndrome, can be disciplined

for various violations of the school code of conduct. While this is

a stark improvement over the House bill, the Senate bill permits

schools to remove certain students from their current placement for

specified violations even if the violation was a result of the

child's disability. Third, S. 1248 removes short-term objectives

from a child's IEP and replaces them with a statement of the


progress toward annual goals that includes quarterly reports. This

new provision will make it more difficult for parents and schools to

measure a student's progress. Finally, S. 1248 makes no mention


mandatory full funding. As a [parent, grandparent, relative,

teacher, friend or advocate], I support mandatory full funding, as

opposed to discretionary full funding that was passed by the House.




Thank you for all of the time and hard work that you put into

crafting this bill. As I already mentioned, this bill is drastic

improvement over what the House passes, but a lot more can be done.
























Jeremy R. Scott


Government Relations Specialist


Tourette Syndrome Association


1301 K Street, N.W., Suite 600 East


Washington, D.C. 20005


Direct - 202.408.6443


Fax - 202.408.3260





Please Post this to all your groups and message boards. Thank you.


Paul Marshall Ph.D




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