The following is about a topic important to all parents of children with FXS, including those who are now adults or soon to become adults. The NFXF continues to provide leadership on issues related to education and opportunities for adults through its leading role within the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD), a Washington, DC-based legislative advocacy group co-founded by the NFXF in 2008.

CPSD is a national non-partisan coalition of national organizations that advocates for innovative public policy reform focused on promoting the effective transition of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities into adulthood by preparing them to pursue and obtain optimal outcomes in the areas of employment, economic advancement, and independent living.

Disability Advocacy Coalition Criticizes ESEA Waivers

By Christine Samuels

A coalition of groups representing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities outlined its concerns with the waivers from certain requirements in the No Child Left Behind law that the U.S. Department of Education has granted to states.

The Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination released its letter Thursday, the same day a Senate committee held a hearing on the waivers, which have been issued using the education secretary’s broad waiver authority—and without much Congressional oversight. The collaboration, formed in 2008, includes groups such as the National Down Syndrome Society, the Autism Society, the National Fragile X Foundation, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Among its concerns are that states haven’t made a strong effort to get meaningful from people who represent the disability community; the waivers diminish subgroup accountability by allowing states to consolidate them into so-called “super-subgroups;” and that states are failing to address in detail how they plan to transition severely cognitively disabled students who are taking alternate assessments to common college- and career-ready standards.

The waivers “were really complex and hard to understand,” said Ricki Sabia, the associate director of education for the National Down Syndrome Society Policy Center. NDSS is a founding member of the coaliting. “Parents asked to be part of the input and weren’t involved.”

Many of the group’s concerns mirror those brought forward by the Education Trust, which my colleague Michele McNeil wrote about earlier todayEducation Week also covered the Senate panel hearing, where senators offered their own critiques of the Education Department’s waiver initiative.