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ALERT! Cogswell-Macy Bill Introduced! 

Comprehensive Special Education Legislation for Blind/Visually Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind Students

H.R. 3535: The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act

"Our students will thrive - with Thirty-five Thirty-five!"
Follow this link to read this latest edition of DirectConnect online: newsletter/cogswell-macy-bill-introduced/1235

For further information, contact:

Mark Richert, Esq.
Director, Public Policy, AFB
(202) 469-6833

Dear colleagues, friends and fellow advocates for students with disabilities:

Yesterday, following impressive, dedicated advocacy across the sensory impairments communities, the most comprehensive legislation to enhance and reform America's special education system for students with vision/hearing disabilities and deafblindness has been introduced. H.R. 3535, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, once enacted, will ensure that: every child who is deaf, every child who is blind, and every child who is deafblind, regardless of whether they have additional disabilities, will be properly counted and served; each of a child's unique learning needs will be properly evaluated; states will engage in strategic planning to be sure that they can in fact meet each child's specialized needs; the U.S. Department of Education will do its part to hold states and schools accountable; students with sensory disabilities will be served by qualified personnel; and students who are blind will receive state-of-the-art services and skills supported through a new major national collaborative initiative addressing their unique learning needs.

Introduced by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and David McKinley (R-WV), H.R. 3535 is named for Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's beloved teacher; and Alice Cogswell, the first deaf girl to be educated in a school for the deaf in the United States. Originally introduced in the previous Congress as H.R. 4040, this updated version of the Cogswell-Macy Act includes additional language to support students who are deafblind. Advocates for students who are blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard-of-hearing, and deafblind have worked tirelessly with legislators to compose three strong, parallel titles within the Act, addressing the needs of students in these three sensory- disability areas.

Read below for the press release from Rep. Cartwright's office, and read the complete text of the Cogswell-Macy Act on the AFB Policy Center website at the following link:

Advocates are urged to contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives to ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 3535 today!

Tell your Representative that by cosponsoring, he/she will be helping to make history by ensuring that America's special education system is worthy of the enormous potential of every child who is blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf blind.

This year, 2015, is the 40th anniversary of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Tell your Representative that by joining in this campaign, they will help us transform a forty-year-old system from one that has broken down barriers into a system that finally ensures that kids with sensory disabilities will be receiving the education and supports they need to thrive in our nation's classrooms!

Advocates should stay tuned to at: for more information and regular updates as the Cogswell-Macy Act progresses. Thank you for your advocacy for children and youth with sensory disabilities!