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Conference Report on H.R. 1350, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for the time, and I commend him for his excellent work on getting things done on this vital issue.

Being one of the last speakers, I know a lot of things have been said about this bill. I do not want to take too much time to reiterate some of them, but let me tell my colleagues what this bipartisan agreement does.

It improves communications between parents and appropriate school personnel related to the development of the individual education plan.

It reduces the number of reevaluations required for students whose disability does not change as they age and progress through school.

They ensure that the Federal dollars for IDEA flow to the local districts and cannot be diverted for other State purposes. Very important.

Continues to send the majority of Federal funds to local school districts where children are served.

It protects parents from being forced to medicate their children.

The NCLB ensures, of course, that all children will be taught by highly qualified teachers. All children need to be taught by highly qualified teachers, and special education teachers are particularly in demand. To meet that goal, the NCLB is providing dramatic funding increases for teacher quality grants, and funds can be used for training and professional development specifically for special education teachers.

Two other things about this bill today that have not been said. The first is that it takes a major issue off the front burner as this committee works to help our kids in the next Congress so that we can focus on higher education and Head Start. This issue now is behind us, and to do it in the waning hour is a terrific accomplishment not only for the committee but for every Member, particularly my chairman.

For the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner), my chairman, this is always a very tough weekend for him. It is the weekend that the Wolverines beat the Ohio State Buckeyes, and he is usually in a very foul mood about four o'clock tomorrow afternoon. He will be very happy today with this passage, and I am sorry that he will be so unhappy tomorrow with the score put up on the board.

God bless the Wolverines.

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