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June 19, 2003

*****ACTION ALERT*****

*****ACTION ALERT*****

National Association of the Deaf
June 19, 2003


IDEA Re-Authorization Now on U.S. Senate "Fast Track"

What are the Issues?

* Are you prepared to lose broadcast TV/cable captioning access for local
news and entertainment programs?

* Are you going to stand-by and watch your elected officials once again
ignore the most critical needs of deaf and hard of hearing children for
language and communication access?

Funding for captioning will be dramatically curtailed. The federal
Captioned Media Program, which provides the only accessible materials to
schools and families, may not be funded at all or may have its funding
severely cut.

There are other related issues of critical importance. (Visit the NAD
website at and view the document "NAD proposed changes for the
Senate IDEA Bill and accompanying rationales"

Deaf children today are essentially being denied language and communication
access to the general curriculum. In this age of increased accountability
and high-stakes testing, access to the curriculum and all that schools have
to offer is critically important.

Without captioning as well as language and communication access, deaf and
hard of hearing children will never achieve their human potential. We
cannot stand by while they are essentially being denied equal opportunity to
participate fully in society!

S. 1248, a bill to reauthorize the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA)
has been introduced and is being put on a fast track by the U.S. Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The Committee intends to
move this bill through both the Committee and the full Senate in the next
two weeks.

Grassroots Action Needed!

Nationwide grassroots action is needed - especially from those states
represented by members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education,
Labor and Pension (HELP).

A strong "voice" is needed from these groups:

* NAD membership
* State Association affiliate membership
* Organizational affiliate leadership and membership
* Parents of deaf and hard of hearing children
* Educators and professionals serving deaf and hard of hearing children
* And every one else who is concerned about these issues!

If you are from the states listed below, please immediately contact the U.S.
Congressional Senators representing your state, leadership of the Senate
HELP Committee, and other Senate leadership demanding that mark up of S.
1248 include changes to the following Sections - on Captioning, Special
Factors, and Natural Environments (see below).

Please read the instructions below about sending emails, faxes, and calling
your senators.

If you are not from one of the states being represented on the HELP
Committee, please make a mental note of this Action Alert. We will need you
in a few weeks. Meanwhile please do forward this Action Alert to your
friends from those states.

Contact these members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions (HELP):

Alabama: Jeff Sessions
Connecticut: Christopher Dodd
Iowa: Tom Harkin
Kansas: Pat Roberts
Maryland: Barbara Mikulski
Massachusetts: Edward Kennedy
Missouri: Christopher Bond
Nevada: John Ensign
New Hampshire: Judd Gregg
New Mexico: Jeff Bingaman
New York: Hillary Clinton
North Carolina: John Edwards
Ohio: Mike DeWine
Rhode Island: Jack Reed
South Carolina: Lindsey Graham
Tennessee: Bill Frist
Tennessee: Lamar Alexander
Vermont: James Jeffords
Virginia: John Warner
Washington: Patty Murray
Wyoming: Mike Enzi


Print out this action alert so you can follow these instructions:
a. Go to the NAD website at
b. Locate the "Write to Congress" sticker under "HOTLINKS" (the column on
the right side)
c. Enter your zip code and click on "GO"
d. A new page will appear with photos and email addresses of President Bush,
your Senators, and your local Congressional representative.
e. Select "email" under your Senator's picture and name
f. Select "Compose your own letter" and click on "Next Step"
g. In the SUBJECT box enter: S. 1248
h. In the "OPTIONAL TEXT" box cut and paste the following text (Be sure to
add your personal information and remove the information in the parentheses,
plus follow the additional instructions below):


(Start of text)

The National Association of the Deaf is the nation's oldest and largest
consumer organization protecting the rights of 28 million deaf, hard of
hearing, late-deafened, and deaf-blind individuals, including approximately
50,000 children who are being served under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act. The NAD, since its formation in 1880, has placed a high
priority on the educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing children.

As a ______________ (e.g., member, deaf individual, hard of hearing
individual, parent, concerned citizen, educator, etc) I am writing to
express my views about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
reauthorization, specifically S. 1248, the Senate's bill to reauthorize and
amend the IDEA.

While there are several provisions in the Senate bill that I support, it is
critical that certain provisions presented to the Committee by the NAD and a
large coalition of organizations involved with the education of deaf and
hard of hearing individuals is included in the bill.

These provisions are:
1. Restoring captioning in "Educational Media Services" to "the Secretary
shall support" as is currently stated in the statute, rather than merely
"may support."
2. Ensuring that the IDEA requires that the communication needs of deaf and
hard of hearing children be provided rather than merely considered under
Section 614(d)(3)(B)(iv) Development of IEP.
3. Changing the "natural environments" provision under Part C of the IDEA to
language consistent with the House Bill.
4. Increasing the need for more teachers to work with deaf, hard of hearing,
blind, deaf-blind students. Personnel preparation needs of low-incidence
populations are being ignored and it is becoming catastrophic.
5. Including in the law, the continuum of educational placements and fully
appraising parents of the options on the continuum before a placement
decision is made. The continuum includes instruction in regular classes,
special classes, special schools, home instruction, instruction in hospitals
and institutions, and supplementary services such as resource room or
itinerant instruction provided in conjunction with the regular classroom
* Mere consideration of the child's language and communication needs is
insufficient. Schools and programs must provide deaf and hard of hearing
children with language and communication access. Without it deaf children
will not have adequate access to the general curriculum or a fair
opportunity to perform satisfactorily on mandated assessments based on that
* Language and communication access is critical to the overall development
and education of deaf and hard of hearing children.
* Schools and programs must not be allowed to simply consider a child's
language and communication needs, they must provide language and
communication access, the cornerstone upon which all learning rests.

ACTION TO TAKE (continued):

i. Make sure you insert the proper identifier in the email (underlined area)
and remove the (e.g., Member, Deaf individual, Hard of Hearing individual,
parent, concerned citizen, educator, etc) bracket.
j. Fill in the requested information on the web page
k. Click YES in the box labeled "Would you like to have a copy of this
message sent to your email address?"
l. Send your message via email on the message delivery page
m. If you also have access to a fax machine hit the BACKPAGE key on your web
n. Select PRINT under message delivery option
o. Print out your letter and fax it to your Senator, using the number
available through the same webpage at
p. Send a copy of your email to,,
q. Send a copy of your email to
r. Email, fax, and call your Senator's office and deliver the following

"I am a (deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind individual, or parent, educator,
etc.) calling about S. 1248, a bill to amend the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act. I am requesting that... (Refer to letter


For more information on the NAD's Recommended IDEA Language, go to

The National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center
814 Thayer Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 587-1789 TTY
(301) 587-1788 Voice
(301) 587-0234 FAX