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FEDERAL.gif
 
We have a moral duty to remove the barriers to participation, and to invest sufficient funding and expertise to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities.
— Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist
 
 

CHERYL, WE NEED INTRODUCTORY TEXT HERE.

 
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step one
[WHAT] YOU NEED TO KNOW

The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND SPECIAL EDUCATION


Some people may be uncomfortable associating the word “disability” with children, especially those who have “invisible” or “mild” disabilities. We get it. The word “disability” sounds like a negative label that emphasizes what a student can’t do. It sounds like a label that slams doors. But in reality, it’s exactly the opposite.

The word “disability” is a term for a minority status that grants the children who have it strong educational civil rights under federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 (“504”) of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These laws spell out qualifying conditions that protect individuals from discrimination and help them get a fair shake in achieving their potential. That’s how we roll in the USA.

In order to understand the critical importance of the federal government’s role in the protecting the rights of students with disabilities, we have to remember that before these laws were passed, most of these kids received no education at all, and those who did were mostly “taught” in segregated “special” schools where very little teaching occurred.

The laws produced by civil rights movement for people with disabilities are federal laws, and school districts receive federal funding to supplement the costs of education students with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights enforces anti-discrimination laws, and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSER) supports programs, research, and policies that benefit youth with disabilities.

In the fall of 2016, OSER launched an investigation into the Texas Education Agency’s 8.5% cap on the number of students receiving special education in our state. The investigation followed the Houston Chronicle’s “Denied” investigative series. OSER is expected to release its findings in the summer of 2017.

step two
[WHO] YOU NEED TO KNOW
  • U.S.CONSTITUTION
  • U.S.VOTERS
  • The Legislative Branch

    Legislative Branch

    The legislature, known as the U.S. Congress, consists of two chambers - the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    This branch is empowered to make laws.
      • HOUSEof
        REPRESENTATIVES
        Learn More
      • ×
        The U.S. House of Representatives
        What is the US House of Representatives?
      • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

      • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

      • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

      • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

      • House Leadership

      • Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI)

        The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer in the House of Representatives. He is selected by a roll call vote on the first day of every new Congress, and is held by the majority party.

        The Speaker has several responsibilities within the chamber, including:


      • WHO REPRESENTS YOU IN WASHINGTON, DC?

        BLAH blah blah. NEED COPY HERE. All Texans are currently represented by Senators Ted Cruz(R) and John Cornyn(R) in the U.S. Senate. Include their contact information.

        Make note of your representative's addresses and phone numbers for future reference. A big part of reform action includes contacting those who represent you. They are your voice in Washington, D.C. and they need to know what's important to their constituent. More important than knowing how our state government works or who's in charge is knowing who YOUR elected state representatives are. If you don't know your's, follow our link below to find out quick and easy.

        Be sure to return back here to learn [HOW] you can use this information to affect special education reform.

      • THESENATE
        Learn More
      ×
      The Texas Senate
      What is the Texas Senate?
    • The upper house of the United States Congress.

    • Two senators are elected from each state, regardless of state population, guaranteeing each state equal representation.

    • Senators are elected for six-year terms.

    • The Senate tends to respond more directly than the House of Representatives to issues of national, rather than local, concern, though both houses of Congress participate in all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

    • The Senate has the exclusive right to try cases of impeachment, approve presidential appointments, confirm treaties, and elect a vice president if no candidate receives a majority from the Electoral College.

    • The Vice President of the United States serves as presiding officer of the Senate.

    • Senate Leadership

    • President of the Senate, Mike Pence

      As mandated by the US Constitution, the Vice President of the United States presides over the Senate.

      He has several responsibilities within the chamber, including:
      •Breaking tie votes (which seldom occurs);
      •Running meetings of the Senate, much like a chairperson runs a meeting;
      •Making sure that the rules of the Senate, known as the standing orders, are obeyed; and
      •Participating in special ceremonial occasions, such as the opening of Parliament.

      While being the President of the Senate sounds like a big job, in reality, it's not. The true leaders come from the floor and are elected from within parties.

    • Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

      The Majority Leader is elected by the political party with the most Senators (currently the Republicans). The majority leader holds alot of power in the Senate, including:
      •Setting the agenda;
      •Scheduling debates and votes; and
      •Acting as chief spokesperson and strategist for the party.

      By rule, the Majority Leader is given priority in obtaining recognition to speak on the floor of the Senate.

    • Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

      The leader of the political party that holds a minority of seats in Senate (currently the Democrats). Selected by his/her own party, the Minority Leader acts as chief spokesperson and strategist for the party.

    • Texas' US Senators
    • John Cornyn, US Senator (R-TX)

      Senator Cornyn was first elected to the United States Senate on Nov. 5, 2002, and was reelected to his 3rd term in 2014. He will be up for reelection in 2020.

      Senator Cornyn has 7 offices around Texas and in Washington, DC:


      Office Location Address City State Zip Phone Map
      Central Texas Chase Tower, 221 W. Sixth Street, Ste 1530 Austin TX 78701 (512) 469-6034 MAP
      North Texas 5001 Spring Valley Rd, Ste 1125 E Dallas TX 75244 (972) 239-1310 MAP
      Southeast Texas 5300 Memorial Dr, Ste 980 Houston TX 77007 (713) 572-3337 MAP
      South/Central Texas 600 Navarro, Ste 210 San Antonio TX 78205 (210) 224-7485 MAP
      East Texas Regions Bank Building, 100 E. Ferguson St, Ste 1004 Tyler TX 75702 (903) 593-0902 MAP
      South Texas 222 East Van Buren, Ste 404 Harlingen TX 78550 (956) 423-0162 MAP
      West Texas Wells Fargo Center, 1500 Broadway, Ste 1230 Lubbock TX 79401 (806) 472-7533 MAP
      Washington, DC 517 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington DC 20510 (202) 224-2934 MAP

      Follow Senator Cornyn:



      According to his website, "If you are visiting while the Senate is in session, you are invited to attend a Texas Thursday Coffee. Thursday Coffees are held every Thursday the Senate is in session and begin at 9:30 a.m. We recommend arriving 15 to 20 minutes early. To RSVP online, please click here. To RSVP by mail or phone, fill out and returnthis form or contact our Washington, D.C. office at 202-224-2934."



    • Ted Cruz, US Senator (R-TX)

      Senator Ted Cruz was elected in 2012 as the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas. He and his family reside in his hometown of Houston, Texas.

      Senator Cruz has 7 offices around Texas and in Washington, DC:


      Office Location Address City State Zip Phone Map
      Central Texas 300 E 8th, Suite 961 Austin TX 78701 (512) 916-5834 MAP
      North Texas Lee Park Tower II, 3626 N. Hall St., Suite 410 Dallas TX 75219 (214) 599-8749 MAP
      Southeast Texas 808 Travis Street, Suite 1420 Houston TX 77002 (713) 718-3057 MAP
      South/Central Texas 9901 IH-10W, Suite 950 San Antonio TX 78230 (210) 340-2885 MAP
      East Texas 305 S. Broadway, Suite 501 Tyler TX 75702 (903) 593-5130 MAP
      South Texas 200 S. 10th St, Suite 1603 McAllen TX 78501 (956) 686-7339 MAP
      Washington, DC Russell Senate Office Bldg 404 Washington DC 20510 (202) 224-5922 MAP

      Follow Senator Cruz:



      To request a meeting with Senator Cruz, send him an email here.

      According to his website, "Senator Cruz hosts Texas Tuesday Coffee at 9:30 AM every Tuesday the Senate is in session for constituents visiting Washington, DC. To RSVP, please email scheduler@cruz.senate.gov with “Texas Tuesday RSVP” in the subject line, and your full name, phone number, email address, the date you will be in DC, and the number of people in your group."

  • Executive Branch

    The branch of federal government that is broadly responsible for implementing, supporting, and enforcing the laws made by the legislative branch and interpreted by the judicial branch.
    • THEPRESIDENT
      Learn More
    • ×
      The President of the United States
      Who is the US President?
    • Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas (R-TX)

      The governor blah blah blah.


    • What is the role of the President?
    • The Governor blah blah blah is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

    • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

    • Did You Know?

      Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


    • VICEPRESIDENT
      Learn More
    • ×
      The Vice President
      Who is the Vice President?
    • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

    • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

    • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

    • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

    • What is the role of the Vice President?
    • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

    • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

    • Did You Know?

      Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


    • THECABINET
      Learn More
    • ×
      The Cabinet
      What is the State Board of Education?
    • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

    • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

    • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

    • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

    • Who You Need to Know on the Board
    • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

    • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

    • How are State Board of Education members Elected?

      Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


  • Judicial Branch

    The court systems of the federal government, responsible for interpreting the laws passed by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch.
      • U.S.SUPREMECOURT
        Learn More
      • ×
        The U.S. Supreme Court
        Who is the President?
      • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

      • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

      • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

      • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

      • What is the role of the President?
      • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

      • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

      • How is the President Elected?

        Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


      • COURTofAPPEALS
        Learn More
      ×
      Other Federal Courts
      What is the Cabinet?
    • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

    • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

    • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

    • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

    • Who You Need to Know on the Cabinet
    • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

    • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

    • Texas Senators

      Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


WHO REPRESENTS YOU IN WASHINGTON, DC?


BLAH blah blah. NEED COPY HERE. All Texans are currently represented by Senators Ted Cruz(R) and John Cornyn(R) in the U.S. Senate. Include their contact information.

Make note of your representative's addresses and phone numbers for future reference. A big part of reform action includes contacting those who represent you. They are your voice in Washington, D.C. and they need to know what's important to their constituent. More important than knowing how our state government works or who's in charge is knowing who YOUR elected state representatives are. If you don't know your's, follow our link below to find out quick and easy.

Be sure to return back here to learn [HOW] you can use this information to affect special education reform.

step three
[HOW] TO GET INVOLVED

Tips to BLAH BLAH BLAH


  • 1. Need copy here.
    Go to your district’s website and find the school board link. This should take you to information about your representatives, their regular meetings, and how to contact them. You should also find a link to the school board’s policies.


    • 2.Need copy here.
      School board meetings are open to the public, and most boards schedule a time during meetings for public comment. Check out our guide to effective public testimony for tips on using your voice effectively at school board meetings.


      • 3. Need copy here.
        Establishing a positive working relationship is very important. Invite them to lunch or coffee. Tell them your story. Share your concerns. Remember that many people who have never experienced disability in their families have no way of knowing what the journey is, and educating them is an important first step.


        • 4. Need copy here.
          Expressing your concerns in a business-like email to your trustees can be an effective way to get a special education issue prioritized in your district. Written correspondence and public testimony at board meetings becomes part of the record.


          • 5. Need copy here.
            One person is an important voice, but an organized effort is a constituency. Speaking in a unified voice benefits all the students.


            • 6. Need copy here.
              You are the beneficiary of courageous advocates who have gone before you; remember that people with disabilities and their parents were responsible for the passage of the laws that protect your children today. You can pay it forward by advocating in your community.

GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE WHO REPRESENT YOU


BLAH blah blah. NEED COPY HERE. Possibly talk about (1)writing/calling reps. Scripts? (2) Attending rallies and marches with rules of etiquette? (3) Attend townhalls, link to Town Hall Project here.

step four
TXSER ACTION [ALERT!]

need federal action alert!


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We envision a state in which all individuals with disabilities are identified, and receive an education that maximizes their future potential for post-secondary education, employment, community participation, and independent living.

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