Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America welcomed final passage by the U.S. Congress of its reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [“IDEA”] – the legislation which provides the federal template and funding for services provided to learning-disabled children in the United States.
The UOJCA has worked with a broad coalition of allies and members of Congress of both parties to improve the federal funding program to better serve learning disabled children in nonpublic, including Jewish, schools. The UOJCA is pleased with the progress made on this front.
The UOJCA’s director of public policy, Nathan J. Diament, issued the following statement in connection with the bill’s passage:
The Orthodox Jewish community is grateful to our coalition partners and to members of the Senate and House for the progress we’ve made over the last three years in improving IDEA. We particularly note Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as well as Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) and George Miller (D-CA) for their receptiveness and working with us in this process.
Notable improvements in the revised IDEA include: A mandate that a local school district must utilize the share of IDEA funds it receives by virtue of its nonpublic school population count on servicing that population; a required consultation process to take place between public and nonpublic school officials regarding the methods and locations of IDEA services; and a redefinition of a nonpublic school student’s school, rather than their home, as their IDEA “address.”
We look forward to working with Education Secretary Designate Spellings and others in the Bush administration to ensure the regulations and implementation of this important program achieve the goal of serving disabled children in our community more fairly.