Kildee Convenes Key Subcommittee Hearing on NCLB
Congressman Dale E. Kildee (D-MI) convened a hearing of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, to examine how the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) affects children with disabilities. The Congressman is chairman of the subcommittee.
"This hearing is about dignity - the principle of including children with disabilities in the No Child Left Behind Act," Congressman Kildee said. "Today we have examined ways to improve special education programs so we can help children with disabilities overcome unique hurdles to get their education."
Currently, there are between six and seven million students with disabilities in U.S. schools, comprising approximately 10 percent of all students. NCLB requires that states include these students in their assessment and accountability systems.
A former teacher, Congressman Kildee has always considered education for children with disabilities a top priority. In fact, during his 12 years in the Michigan Legislature, he authored the state's special education law - before the U.S. Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975.
The following witnesses testified at today's hearing:
* Dr. Jane Rhyne, Assistant Superintendent, Programs for Exceptional Children, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Schools, discussed how her schools have increased access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities and also increased such students' performance on mathematics and reading tests.
* Dr. Rebecca Cort, Deputy Commissioner, New York State Education Department, Office for Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, discussed improvements in students with disabilities' academic achievement and the need to increase the number of highly qualified special education teachers.
* Rachel Quenemoen, Senior Research Fellow, National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota, discussed issues concerning the assessment of students with disabilities.
* Dr. Michael L. Hardman, Dean-Designate, College of Education, University of Utah, the need to improve teacher preparation programs to better enable teachers to work with students with disabilities.
* Dr. William Henderson, Principal, The O'Hearn Elementary School, Dorchester, MA, discussed the importance of providing students with disabilities access to the general curriculum and including them in accountability systems.
Congressman Kildee's opening statement and witness testimonies are available upon request.