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Public Statements

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2003

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, regulations applying IDEA are complex, and I applaud the work of my colleagues in trying to make these regulations a little easier for students, parents, and schools. This bill is a clear signal that the Senate is concerned about the welfare of our children with special needs.

S. 1248 helps our students by providing early access to services and support while working to reduce the misidentification of nondisabled children. This bill aims to make things easier for parents by allowing parents and schools to make changes to a student's individualized education plan, IEP, without calling an entire IEP meeting. S. 1248 should also help to relieve the burden on schools that are often associated with special education regulations. It includes provisions to improve discipline and school safety, reduce paperwork, and simplify funding for grants to State agencies.

Mr. President, as you know, when IDEA was signed into law, Congress committed to contribute up to 40 percent of the costs associated with special education. We have failed miserably in this. One important provision in this bill is a plan to authorize the Congress to fund its 40 percent portion completely by the year 2011. I am pleased to report our success in the Senate and pledge my commitment to seeing the Federal Government contributes its full share.

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