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American Foundation for the Blind Applauds Senate Introduction of Cogswell-Macy Act, Calls for Further Action

Announces National Call-In Day to Urge Congress to Take Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 13, 2017)—The Cogswell-Macy Act, federal bipartisan legislation aimed at improving special education for students with sensory disabilities, was introduced in the Senate this week by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) as S.2087. The House of Representatives version of the bill (H.R.1120) was introduced in February by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and David McKinley (R-WV). The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is now calling on all Americans concerned about public education for students with disabilities to take part in a National Call-In Day Wednesday, November 15, to encourage Congress to keep moving this legislation forward in support of children who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind.

The Cogswell-Macy Act, named for Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy, two iconic figures in the blindness, deafness, and deafblindness communities, would:

  • Ensure specialized instruction specifically for students who are visually impaired, deafblind, or deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Increase the availability of services and resources by ensuring all students who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deafblind are accounted for.
  • Enhance accountability at the state and federal levels.
  • Increase research into best practices for teaching and evaluating students with visual impairments by establishing the Anne Sullivan Macy Center on Visual Disability and Educational Excellence—a collaborative consortium of nonprofits, higher education institutions, and other agencies to provide technical support, research assistance, and professional development.

Resources for participation in the call-in day, including the numbers to call and identifying your members of Congress, are available on AFB’s website at AFB.org/CallInDay. Callers can dial 1-855-754-MACY (1-855-754-6229) and ask their members of Congress to cosponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act. When speaking to U.S. Senators or staff, ask them to cosponsor S. 2087. When speaking to House Representatives or staff, ask them to cosponsor H.R. 1120. The message: this legislation will revolutionize special education for students with sensory disabilities.

"While the law currently ensures that all students with disabilities have a right to attend their neighborhood school, what we haven't done yet is make sure that students get the education they need once they get in the schoolhouse door," said Mark Richert, AFB Public Policy Director. "The Cogswell-Macy Act, the most comprehensive special education legislation for students with sensory disabilities we've ever seen, will do just that."

“Creating a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired extends to all facets of daily life, including and especially in the classroom,” said Kirk Adams, AFB President and CEO. “Equal access to education from early life onwards is a priority for AFB. We are proud to support this legislation and encourage everyone to do the same by calling their legislators this Wednesday.”

This legislation has the support of more than 100 national, regional, and community organizations.

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About The American Foundation for the Blind
Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. AFB mobilizes leaders, advances understanding, and champions impactful policies and practices using research and data. AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. Visit: www.afb.org

Contact:

John Mackin
AFB Communications
646-499-1873
jmackin@afb.net

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