Ron Paul
2003 Ron Paul Chapter 52

Ron Paul Improving Educational Results For Children With Disabilities Act

30 April 2003

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Improving Educational Results For Children With Disabilities Act
30 April 2003

2003 Ron Paul 52:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose H.R. 1350, the Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act. I oppose this bill as a strong supporter of doing everything possible to advance the education of persons with disabilities. However, I believe this bill is yet another case of false advertising by supporters of centralized education, as it expands the federal education bureaucracy and thus strips control over education from local communities and the parents of disabled children. Parents and local communities know their children so much better than any federal bureaucrat, and they can do a better job of meeting a child’s needs than we in Washington. There is no way that the unique needs of my grandchildren, and some young boy or girl in Los Angeles, CA or New York City can be educated by some sort of “Cookie Cutter” approach. In fact, the “Cookie Cutter” approach is especially inappropriate for special needs children.

2003 Ron Paul 52:2
At a time when Congress should be returning power and funds to the states, IDEA increases Federal control over education. Under this bill, expenditures on IDEA will total over $100 billion by the year 2011. After 2011, congressional appropriators are free to spend as much as they wish on this program. This flies in the face of many members’ public commitment to place limits on the scope of the Federal bureaucracy.

2003 Ron Paul 52:3
There are attempts in this bill to reduce the role of bureaucracy and paperwork, and some provisions will benefit children. In particular, I applaud the efforts of the drafters of those who drafted it to address the over-prescription of psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin by ensuring that no child shall be placed on these drugs without parental consent.

2003 Ron Paul 52:4
However, H.R. 1350 still imposes significant costs on state governments and localities. For example, this bill places new mandates on state and local schools to offer special services in areas with significant “overidentification” of disabled students. Mr. Chairman, the problem of overidentification is one created by the Federal mandates and federal spending of IDEA! So once again, Congress is using problems created by their prior mandates to justify imposing new mandates on the states!

2003 Ron Paul 52:5
When I think of imposing new mandates on local schools, I think of a survey of teachers my office conducted last year. According to this survey, over 65 percent of teachers felt that the federal mandates are excessive. In fact, the area where most teachers indicated there is too much federal involvement is disabilities education.

2003 Ron Paul 52:6
I would ask all my colleagues to consider whether we are truly aiding education by imposing new mandates, or just making it more difficult for hard-working, education professionals to properly educate our children?

2003 Ron Paul 52:7
The major federal mandate in IDEA is that disabled children be educated in the least restrictive setting. In other words, this bill makes mainstreaming the federal policy. Many children may thrive in a mainstream classroom environment; however, I worry that some children may be mainstreamed solely because school officials believe federal law requires it, even though the mainstream environment is not the most appropriate for that child.

2003 Ron Paul 52:8
On May 10, 1994, Dr. Mary Wagner testified before the Education Committee that disabled children who are not placed in mainstream classrooms graduate from high school at a much higher rate than disabled children who are mainstreamed. Dr. Wagner quite properly accused Congress of sacrificing children to ideology.

2003 Ron Paul 52:9
H.R. 1350 also burdens parents by requiring them to go through a time-consuming process of bureaucracy and litigation to obtain a proper education for their child. I have been told that there are trial lawyers actively soliciting dissatisfied parents of special needs children as clients for lawsuits against local schools! Parents and school districts should not be wasting resources that could go to educating children enriching trial lawyers.

2003 Ron Paul 52:10
Instead of placing more federal control on education, Congress should allow parents of disabled children the ability to obtain the type of education appropriate for that child’s unique needs by passing my Help and Opportunities for Parents of Exceptional Children (HOPE for Children) Act of 2003, H.R. 1575. This bill allows parents of children with a learning disability a tax cut of up to $3,000 for educational expenses. Parents could use this credit to pay for special services for their child, or to pay tuition at private school or even to home school their child. By allowing parents of special needs children to control the education dollar, the HOPE for Children Act allows parents to control their child’s education. Thus, this bill helps parents of special needs children provide their child an education tailored to the child’s unique needs.

2003 Ron Paul 52:11
The HOPE for Children Act allows parents of special needs children to provide those children with an education that matches their child’s unique needs without having to beg permission of education bureaucrats or engage in lengthy and costly litigation.

2003 Ron Paul 52:12
Mr. Chairman, it is time to stop sacrificing children on the altar of ideology. Every child is unique and special. Given the colossal failure of Washington’s existing interference, it is clear that all children will be better off when we get Washington out of their classroom and out of their parents’ pocketbooks. I therefore urge my colleagues to cast a vote for constitutionally limited government and genuine compassion by opposing H.R. 1350 and supporting the HOPE for Children Act.

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