Disability Policy News In Brief

August 14, 2017

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August 14, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 135
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are still on recess through Labor Day. Recess is a good opportunity to meet with your members of congress in your state/district in order to continue educating them on the importance of Medicaid and affordable and accessible health care for people with disabilities. Find your elected officials here.


ESSA Implementation

The Center for American Progress (CAP) published a series of briefs regarding the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) including: Measuring Success: An Overview of New School Classification Indicators Under ESSA that explores which new indicators of school quality or student success states use and how they include them in their school classification systems and State Fact Sheets: School Accountability in First-Round ESSA State Plans, which reviews the 16 state and Washington DC submissions for their school classification systems and school improvement plans.

ESSA Plan Approval

Last week, the Department of Education approved three more state ESSA plans for Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico; the three states join just one other, Delaware, whose plan was approved earlier this month. To date, 12 other states and D.C. still have pending approvals for plans submitted earlier this year.

New Jersey education officials still plan to request a federal waiver to expand a provision of ESSA that allows eighth-grade students enrolled in advanced math to avoid "double testing," letting them take an advanced math test for accountability and avoid taking their grade-level test. New Jersey would like to apply that provision to lower grades.

Nevada and New Mexico were among the first states to receive federal feedback on their plans earlier this year.  For example, the Education Department wanted Nevada to set short-term goals for the academic achievement of all students that correspond with the state's long-term goals. And federal officials wanted to know more about New Mexico's criteria for when low-performing schools are no longer considered low-performing.

New Appointments

Administration for Community Living

Last week, Lance Robertson was confirmed as the new Assistant Secretary on Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living. His opening statement and hearing can be found on the Senate HELP committee website.  In his statement, he outlines four preliminary priorities for ACL:

  1. Improve access to information about long-term services and supports for consumers and families
  2. Support informal and family caregivers
  3. Strengthen elder justice
  4. Increase business acumen in the non-profit aging and disability community-based organizations.

Civil Rights

AUCD joins with many in the disability and civil rights communities to condemn the hate and violence that were on display this weekend at the University of Virginia campus and in Charlottesville, VA. We stand in solidarity with all who have been and may be targeted by these hate groups and call on bipartisan elected officials at every level of government to condemn the racism and hate that was witnessed this weekend. Please see AUCDs full statement here.

Home and Community Based Services

Since July, two states - Michigan and Maryland - have received initial approval (34 states total) and one state - Oklahoma - has received final approval (4 states total) for their Statewide Transition Plan. For more information on HCBS Settings Rule State Plans and criteria for initial and final approvals please visit hcbsadvocacy.org.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Bob Bacon, recently retired director of the Iowa UCEDD, about the accomplishments in the disability movement and his future plans. In case you missed last week, Liz interviewed Heather Sachs, Senior Advisor for the National ABLE resource Center, about the ABLE Resource Center's month-long campaign to increase the knowledge about opening ABLE accounts.


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For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

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