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Cole Votes to Improve Education Results for Children with Disabilities

April 30, 2003
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Because all students deserve equal access to a quality education, Congressman Tom Cole today voted for flexibility, options and accountability for students with disabilities. The House passed the Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act (IDEA)(H.R. 1350) by a bipartisan vote of 251-171.

"We have seen dramatic improvements in assessing and providing for specific disabilities and for funding requirements since 1995 when Congress finally began to take its responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Act seriously. IDEA will hopefully fill the voids and smooth the rough edges of the first legislation. It is about creating a plan for success that fits the needs of the student, the parents and the teacher," Congressman Tom Cole said.

"We must ensure that children with disabilities are not left behind. This begins with proper identification of physical, learning or emotional disabilities. Students should be receiving the right help so they can achieve the best results. There is an inconsistency when disabled youth drop out of high school at twice the rate of non-disabled students," Congressman Cole said.

H.R. 1350 puts more emphasis on results through accountability and correct identification. It will allow local school districts to use up to 15% of their funds for pre-referral services before they are given special need education. It will reduce the burden of paperwork so that teachers will have more time to work with students.

"I am especially pleased that the passage of H.R. 1350 will enable us to dramatically increase funding for children with disabilities," Cole added.

"All of us want each student to have a customized plan for success. The parents and the educators will be a big part of this effort and they must have the flexibility and funds necessary," Congressman Tom Cole said.
 

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