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A Chance to Learn

Posted By Denise Marshall, COPAA, Wednesday, June 19, 2013

by Denise Stile Marshall, M.S.
COPAA Executive Director

While Congress sits in Washington engaged in debate about the future of education in this country, millions of children are celebrating summer.  Some will continue to attend school in extended school year placements or summer school. Some will re-enter in the fall. Some have disability labels, some do not. All have one thing in common though; they are the future generation, our greatest hope and most precious responsibility. Our elected officials need to stop the partisan posturing and work together to assure that every student in America has what they need to obtain the life knowledge and tools that come from receiving a quality education.

We expect Congress to stop bickering across the isle and discuss meaningful data and evidence proven to successfully harness the knowledge, wealth, and ingenuity in this country to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to achieve to their full potential. The Elementary and Secondary School Education Act (ESEA ) was originally enacted to assure, and must continue to provide, accountability for the use of federal funds to improve life opportunities for low income, underperforming and disenfranchised students.

What do those students and their parents want when they enter the school house? The same thing all parents and students, including those with disabilities, expect; that every student:

Is treated with respect and a presumption of competence  to learn.

Has a safe school learning environment that meet challenges with positive, instructional, evidence based approaches.

Has highly qualified teachers that understand and can deliver instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Is challenged to learn the general education curriculum at grade level,

Makes real, measureable progress on relevant goals, and receives the services accomodations and supports to which he or she is entitled under the law.

Counts in robust and systemic accountability that is outcome-based and insists that every school provides equal access to a high quality education for all.

Has the opportunity to graduate, go to college, get a job.

Is meaninfully engaged,

has friends,

has fun,


Let's stop the rhetoric and work together to provide meaningful opportunities for every child to achieve, to contribute, to graduate career and college ready, to secure a meaningful job, to earn money, and be a productive and contributing member of  his or her community.

Our government must live up to its obligation to educate all students equitably and hold States accountable for assuring that every child has a chance to learn.

COPAA Policy Statements on ESEA

      ESEA Update - Senate Bill Passes, House to Mark Bill (June 18,2013)

      House and Senate Work to Reauthorize ESEA (June 12,   2013)

Recent COPAA ESEA Policy Letters

Tags:  Elementary and Secondary Education Act  ESEA  Students with Disabilities 

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