The Advocacy  Institute Logo
image Search   Contact UsDonatefacebookfacebook

 About UsProjectsServicesResourcesAdvocate AcademyAdvocacy in ActionHome page

improving the lives of people with disabilities

Follow us on Twitter

Why Should
You Care?

  • Just over half (56%) of students with disabilities graduate with a regular diploma. Some states have graduation rates as low as 17% (Nevada) and 23% (Mississippi).
    Source:, 2007
  • One in four (26%) students with disabilities drops out of school. Some states have drop-out rates as high as 50% (Arizona) and 45% (Louisiana). In some states, more Black students with disabilities drop out than graduate (FL, LA, MI, NY, SC).
    Source:, 2007
  • Students with disabilities score poorly on national measures of reading and math:
    4th Grade
    - Reading: 11% “at” or “above proficient”
    - Math: 18% “at” or “above proficient”
    8th Grade
    - Reading: 9% “at” or “above proficient”
    - Math: 8% “at” or “above proficient”
    Source: NAEP, 2013
  • One in ten (45,500) special education teachers is not highly qualified as required by IDEA.
    Source:, 2006


"Eighty-five percent (85%) of students identified under the IDEA do not have intellectual disabilities that should prevent them from achieving at grade level. This includes students with learning disabilities, who comprise nearly half of the IDEA population, as well as students with physical disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, emotional and behavioral disabilities, and even some students with mild cognitive impairments."

Excerpt from testimony of Jacqui Farmer Kearns before House Education and Labor Committee, March 18, 2010.
- Watch the testimony on YouTube
- Read full testimony.



Our Kids Count

Following the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


NEWS AND ACTIVITIES during the 114th Congress ~ January 3, 2015 to January 3, 2017

The Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) on December 10, 2015.

Information on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is available here.


More about including students with disabilities in assessments and accountability

US Senate

U.S. Senate
:: Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee
114th Congress :: HELP Committee Webpage :: Ranking Member's Webpage

July 16, 2015: The Senate passes S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, by a vote of 81-17. During Floor debate 178 amendments were considered and 66 were adopted.
Floor activity:
July 13, 2015: Summary :: Video
July 14, 2015: Summary :: Video
July 15, 2015: Summary :: Video
July 16, 2015: Summary :: Video

April 30, 2015: HELP Committee passes Every Child Achieves Act by a vote of 22-0. In committee, 29 amendments were adopted to the bill. Video of committee mark-up (held over 3 days, April 14, 15, and 16) and all amendments offered are available from this page.

February 3, 2015: HELP Committee Roundtable on Fixing No Child Left Behind: Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students

January 27, 2015: HELP Committee hearing* on Fixing No Child Left Behind: Supporting Teachers and School Leaders

January 21, 2015: HELP Committee hearing* on Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability

January 14, 2015: HELP Committee Ranking member Patty Murray outlines priorities for ESEA reauthorization.

January 13, 2015: HELP Committee Chairman, Lamar Alexander, releases discussion draft of bill to reauthorize ESEA. Read press release here. Click HERE to access the discussion draft.

*All hearings are steamed live on the Internet and the archived video and witness testimony are made available immediately following the hearing!

US House of Representatives

U.S. House of Representatives
:: Education and the Workforce Committee
114th Congress :: Committee's K-12 Education Web page :: Education and the Workforce Democrats' Website

July 8, 2015: House passes HR 5, Student Success Act, by a vote of 218 to 213. Received in the Senate on July 13, 2015.

February 11, 2015: Education and the Workforce Committee passes Student Success Act by a vote of 21 to 16.
Committee Report :: Archived webcast

February 3, 2015: Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline introduces the Student Success Act.

January 22, 2015: Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline talks about the committee's priorities including ESEA reauthorization at the American Enterprise Institute. Watch video of his remarks here.

ESEA activities in previous sessions of Congress:

113th Congress
(January 3, 2013 to January 3, 2015)

112th Congress
(January 3, 2011 to January 3, 2013)

111th Congress
(January 3, 2009 to January 3, 2011)

US Dept. of Education

U.S. Department of Education
:: ESEA Reauthorization Website

July 16, 2015: Statement by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Senate passage of Every Child Achieves Act.

July 8, 2015: Statement by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on House passage of Student Success Act.

January 12, 2015: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivers speech outlining vision for ESEA reauthorization.

September 23, 2011: U.S. Dept. of Education announced flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive State-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. Details here. Read our report on Issues for Students with Disabilities in ESEA Flexibility.

August 3, 2010: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan addressed the August Mega-Conference, telling the group "I understand that parents are compelled to advocate because they see that their sons and daughters aren't getting the free, appropriate public education that federal law guarantees them." Read the full speech here.

March 13, 2010 :: The U.S. Dept. of Education released "A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act".

Congressional Hearings on the USED Blueprint (111th Congress):

- Hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee ::March 17, 2010
Statements and Webcast archive

- Hearing in the House of Representatives :: March 17, 2010
Statements of Members and Witnesses :: Webcast archive

Series of Stakeholders Forums

- November 20, 2009 Forum on "Educating Diverse Learners"
Download files: Transcript in MS Word :: Video :: Audio
Video of presentation by Dr. Judith Moening

- November 4, 2009 Forum on "Measuring Progress and Creating Continuous Systems of Improvement"
Including testimony by Dr. Martha Thurlow of the National Center on Educational Outcomes
Download files: Transcript in MS Word :: Video :: Audio


See what leading disability organizations and coalitions have to say about updating the ESEA!

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force :: Principles for the ESEA reauthorization (2013) (PDF)
National Down Syndrome Society & National Down Syndrome Congress :: ESEA Issues (PDF, 8 pgs)
Council for Exceptional Children :: ESEA Reauthorization Recommendations
Learning Disabilities Association of America :: ESEA Recommendations (PDF, 9 pgs)
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates :: ESEA Position and Letters
Democrats for Education Reform :: Statement of Principles (PDF)
National Universal Design for Learning Task force :: Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization (PDF)
School Success for All Coalition :: Recommendations to Improve School Climate (PDF)

Parents Across America :: Recommendations for ESEA/NCLB reauthorization (PDF)

About Us | Projects | Services | Resources | Advocacy in Action | Contact Us | Donate | Home

Copyright 2001-2024 The Advocacy Institute