COSB Urges Members to Support Bill Aimed at Improved Educational Services for B/VI Students
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that will strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act to ensure that visual and hearing-impaired students receive the best education possible. The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act would improve the effectiveness of education and services for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind. The legislation will also enhance reporting and evaluation measures for special education in each state, increase training for teachers and other special education professionals, and reaffirm the Department of Education’s mission and responsibility to ensure an accessible and quality education for all students.
This bill is named after Alice Cogswell, the first deaf student that was formally educated in the United States, and Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller’s famous teacher. Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA-08) and David McKinley (WV-01) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Specifically, the Cogswell-Macy Act would:
- Require states to identify and evaluate children who are visually and hearing impaired so that appropriate services can be delivered to each student, and report instances when they fall short
- Help parents and educators stay informed and up-to-date through written policy guidance released regularly from the Department of Education
- Encourage states to plan for and commit to specialized instruction for all deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind students, provided by trained personnel
- Establish the Anne Sullivan Macy Center of Vision Loss and Educational Excellence within the Department of Education to function as a national resource to better support students with visual disabilities