Foreword to the National Agenda
This year, 2004, marks the 10th anniversary of the birth of the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities. The impact that the National Agenda has had on services for children and youths who are visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities, in this country within a single decade has been profound and constitutes a significant achievement in the area of special education. The National Agenda has revolutionized thinking on how students with visual impairments are educated. And, by identifying and pursuing specific goals, the National Agenda continues to provide definite direction that will lead to a higher quality of educational services for visually impaired students.
From the beginning, those involved in the creation of the National Agenda recognized that a structure that partnered professionals and parents as leaders of the effort would be most effective. These founders knew that success depended on a plan that honored and respected the skills and knowledge of parents and professionals alike. Because of this commitment, the National Agenda has become a powerful movement, influencing the lives of countless students, parents, and professionals. The National Agenda has changed the face of education for children and youths with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities, because it has embodied a strong partnership between parents and professionals as the leaders of a vital grassroots movement.
As the original co-chairs of the National Agenda, we join you in celebrating this 10th anniversary of the National Agenda with a revised version of the original groundbreaking document first published in 1995. Let us move forward toward improved educational services with a continued commitment to powerful and proactive parent-professional partnerships!
Phil Hatlen, Ph.D.
Former National Agenda Co-Chair
Current National Agenda Co-Chair
Las Cruces, NM