Monthly Meeting: Friday, April 12, 9:30 AM
IDEA Reauthorization Briefing, Friday, April 12, 10:30 AM
624 Ninth Street, N.W., Room 540
Washington, DC 20425
(Washington, DC) - Special education advocates, parents, educators and policy experts will testify before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at its upcoming briefing: Making a good IDEA better - A Briefing on the Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The briefing is the beginning of the Commission's inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of the far-reaching civil rights and education legislation.
More than 6 million students nationwide benefit from the federal government's efforts to meet the education and related service needs of students with disabilities. In March, Congress began a series of hearings on re-authorization of the IDEA, which many education and disability rights advocates contend needs to be fully funded to be effective.
"We know that twice as many children with disabilities drop out of school and that black and brown children are more likely to be labeled 'mentally retarded' and end up in special education classes, residential facilities and correctional institutions than their white peers," stated Commission Chairperson Mary Frances Berry. "What we hope to learn is how the IDEA can be strengthened to address concerns such as these."
Panelists for the IDEA briefing include:
Prior to the IDEA re-authorization briefing, the Commission will release the Alaska State Advisory Committee report, Racism's Frontier: The Untold Story of Discrimination and Division in Alaska. The report is based on investigations and information gathered at community forums held in August and October of 2001. A January 2001 incident in which three youths videotaped themselves shooting frozen paintballs at Alaska Natives in Anchorage exposed long simmering allegations of discrimination there. The investigation uncovered an urban/rural divide and significant disparities in education, economic opportunity, and administration of justice.