On September 17, 2015, a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to reform the education of deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deafblind students was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 3535 was sponsored by Congressman Matt Cartwright (D- PA 17th), with original co-sponsors David McKinley (R-WV 1st), Mark Takano (D-CA 41st), Tony Cardenas (D-CA 29th), Kathy Castor (D-FL 14th), Alan Grayson (D-FL 9th), Michael Honda (D-CA 17th), Jared Huffman (D-CA 2nd), and Tim Ryan (D-OH 13th). By the time the 114th Congress ended in 2016 the bill had garnered an additional 35 co-sponsors.
However, as with all bills that did not pass, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act died at the end of the Congressional session. We are seeking to have it re-introduced in the 115th Congress. Once this happens we will ask you to contact your Congressional members to ask them to co-sponsor this bill.
Thanks for all you do to support deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind children!
Find your members of Congress here.
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 ensure that:
- every child who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-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;
- students who are deaf will be served by qualified personnel;
- students who are blind will receive state-of-the-art services and skills supported through a new major national collaborative initiative addressing their unique learning needs;
- and students who are deaf-blind will have access to trained and qualified interveners.