Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Spellings Report: Help For Disabled Hurricane Victims

The U.S. Department of Education announces aid for hurricane victims with disabilities:
President Bush signed into law on Sept. 30 the Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Act of 2005, granting the U.S. Education Department authority to permit hurricane-affected Gulf Coast states access to $25.9 million in federal funds for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services without the states having to provide matching funds.

These VR services may include education, training, assistive technology or various supports necessary for employment of individuals with disabilities affected by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita that contribute to the economic growth and development of communities.

"Children and adults with disabilities face challenges with the loss of their homes and supports for daily living," Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said. "Through the department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, this funding will provide additional assistance to those with disabilities affected by the hurricanes."

Federal funds for VR services will be made available to affected states in the following amounts:

Louisiana, $16.4 million;
Mississippi, $6.1 million;
Alabama, $1.7 million; and
Texas, $1.7 million.
Now if only the House of Spellings would announce the passage of legislation empowering me to require that parents attend conferences regarding their children, I would be delighted.

I know that both state and federal legislatures can do this. If the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Internal Revenue Service can command (and get) my presence at their respective offices, I know there is no legal reason why a law couldn't be enacted giving teachers this much-needed authority.

It's all about the kids.
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