Longmeadow—A comprehensive bill, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 4040) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, which will reform education for deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind and visually impaired students.
Named for the first deaf student to be formally educated in the U.S. and the beloved teacher of Helen Keller, respectively, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to improve results for deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind and visually impaired children, including those who have additional disabilities.
The bill will also ensure that every child who is deaf and every child who is blind, regardless of whether they have additional disabilities, will be properly counted and served; each of a child's unique learning needs will be properly evaluated; states will engage in strategic planning to be sure that they can in fact meet each child's specialized needs; the U.S. Department of Education will do its part to hold states and schools accountable; and, students who are deaf will be served by qualified personnel.
According to Bert Carter, President and CEO of the Willie Ross School for the Deaf, "This is landmark legislation that recognizes the unique needs of the deaf and those with disabilities and we urge the Massachusetts congressional delegation to support this bill, which we believe will lead to better outcomes for the students we serve."
Those interested in supporting this bill can get involved in various ways: sign the support petition as an individual, or, if one represents a local, state, or national advocacy organization, the bill can be signed as an organization; ask a House of Representatives member to sign as a cosponsor; or ask a Senator to sponsor a bill in the Senate.
The Willie Ross School for the Deaf provides a comprehensive educational program stressing academic excellence that focuses on the development of students' intellectual, social, and emotional growth from the early childhood level through high school. Willie Ross serves students at its main campus in Longmeadow and at its partnership campus located in the East Longmeadow Public Schools. Mainstreaming opportunities are provided at the partnership campus.