Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Please Comment on IDEA Part B Proposed Regs

OCLB is sending this out as a reminder that public comments on the proposed IDEA Part B regulations are due July 28, so please take a look at the proposals and send in any comments you may have!

~ ~ ~

On Tuesday May 13, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will supplement the IDEA Part B final regulations was published in the Federal Register. The Supplemental NPRM is available for comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or vial postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Comments by fax or by email will not be accepted. Comments are due by July 28, 2008.

The NPRM addresses such issues as revocation of parental consent to provision of special education services (unilateral withdrawal of parental consent to continued services) as well as parents' use of non-attorney advocates at due process hearings. As these are important issues to the parent community, we encourage you to take a look at the Department of Education's proposed regulations and submit comments.

You can find the NPRM as follows:


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Senator Kennedy

Senator Kennedy was a true hero to families during the IDEA reauthorization. He and his staff listened intently and understood our issues deeply. There is nobody in Washington D.C. who works harder to assure that our children are not left behind than Senator Kennedy. He is a true gentleman, powerful orator, and incredible leader in our nation and around the world.

As you may have already heard, Senator Kennedy experienced a seizure last Saturday morning. Yesterday, it was confirmed by the press that Senator Kennedy has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. (For a summary of yesterday's announcement, see CNN Online at www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/20/kennedy.tumor/index.html .)
We at Our Children Left Behind were numb when we heard the news. Our ongoing prayers and best wishes are with Senator Kennedy, his family, and all who are closest to him.

If you would like to send your best wishes to Senator Kennedy, thanking him for all that he has done for our children, you may do so by visiting his home page on the Web. There is a form that will allow you to share your thoughts at http://kennedy.senate.gov/ .

Thank you in advance for sharing your kindness with an amazing man.

May peace be with Senator Kennedy and his family.

The Our Children Left Behind Team
Shari Krishnan, Tricia and Calvin Luker, Sandy Strassman-Alperstein, and Debi Lewis

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NCLB and Special Education

When people ask whether No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is good or bad for special education students, the first response should be: what could be bad about carefully developing and competently teaching challenging curriculum to all students? What could be bad about periodically assessing all students’ progress, and reporting back to the people who are paying the bills for public education, namely, the taxpayers? And what could be good about leaving a certain set of students (such as students with disabilities) behind?

That said, I believe that while NCLB as written has the potential to be good for all students, including those with disabilities, I also believe that as implemented by schools/districts/states and as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Education (the Department), NCLB has not always reached its full potential.

NCLB as written and conceived holds great promise for students with disabilities. First, NCLB focuses attention and resources on special education students in an unprecedented way (as Margaret Spellings, U.S. Secretary of Education, acknowledged – see Press Release on 5/9/07: U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings Delivers Remarks At National Summit On America’ Silent Epidemic - “what gets measured gets done.”).

Second, NCLB increases access to challenging curriculum and highly qualified teachers for special education students by including them as a distinct subgroup under the law and thereby codifying higher expectations for these students, who have historically suffered from appallingly low expectations.

Third, NCLB gives teeth to the requirement in IDEA ’97 (and 2004) that special education students be included in statewide testing schemes. NCLB for the first time sets forth a specific requirement that 95% of students (including special education students) participate in such testing. (And, of course, NCLB carries sanctions for noncompliance with this testing requirement, unlike IDEA.)

Fourth, NCLB has actually resulted in an increased percentage of students with disabilities being included in statewide assessments. As data from the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) demonstrates, while in the 2000-2001 school year, only one of the states studied had included at least 95% of students with disabilities in its statewide testing, in the 2003-2004 school year, many of the selected states did.

Moreover, according to NCEO data, an examination of seven-year trends of the percentage of elementary special education students who achieved proficiency on statewide reading exams across ten states shows consistent gains in most states. (Data from the Department in its 2006 National Assessment of Title I Interim Reports also indicates an increase in the percentage of 4th grade special education students performing at or above the state’s proficiency level in reading in 14 of 20 states, and an increase in math proficiency in 16 of 20 states, rates that outpaced improvements experienced by all other student groups.)

Thus, one could argue that NCLB has disproportionately benefited special education students.

On the other hand, NCLB’s promise is not being fully reached, in part due to poor implementation by individual schools/districts/states and in part due to excessive flexibility being granted to states by the Department.

For instance, while participation in statewide testing has increased for students with disabilities (as discussed above), such participation has not always been meaningful. For one thing, too many students are tested with out-of-level assessments designed to test knowledge below grade level, as a result of states being unwilling to develop assessments that can allow students with disabilities to fully demonstrate their knowledge on grade level content.

For another, state tests themselves sometimes lack rigor, as demonstrated by a large proficiency gap between students scoring proficient on state exams vs. those scoring proficient on the federal test, the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress).

Further, the Department has shown a disturbing willingness to provide “flexibility” to schools/districts/states through the 1% regulation (allowing 1% of all public school students – equating to about 10% of all special education students – to be judged proficient through use of alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards, despite a lack of solid evidence demonstrating the appropriateness of this number, which is loosely based on what is considered to be the high end of the estimate of the percentage of students with the most severe cognitive disabilities) and more recently the 2% regulation (allowing alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards for another 20% of students with disabilities who supposedly need more time to reach grade level proficiency, although, again, there is no research that supports this number). (Please note that the 1% and 2% regulations do NOT literally exclude these students from AYP accountability. The performance of students taking these alternate assessments IS counted toward AYP just like other students; however, the number of student scores that can be counted as proficient for AYP purposes is limited per these regulatory caps – although the number of students taking these alternate assessments is not limited. Moreover, few states currently use the 2% option – some have announced that they will not use this option, and others are in the research stage (most utilizing Department grants).

Another area of concern with respect to NCLB implementation and Department flexibility is the minimum subgroup size (the “n” size), which refers to the minimum number of students within each subgroup that a school or district must contain across the grades tested before the AYP requirement comes into play. If the school or district does not have this minimum number of students in the subgroup, then that subgroup is treated as having met AYP requirements. The point of this requirement, as set forth in NCLB itself, is that the “n” size must be a number large enough to yield statistically reliable information and to protect the personally identifiable information about an individual student. However, many states have received approval from the Department to use “n” sizes so big that a large percentage of their schools wind up being exempt from accountability for certain student subgroups. Some have even received approval for “n” sizes that are larger for special education subgroups than for other subgroups. For example, according to a May 2006 research report issued by the Commission on No Child Left Behind, during the 2004-2005 school year, only 11% of the schools in California (that educate a full 10% of all public school students in the U.S.) were required to meet AYP for the special education subgroup!

Finally, the Department has recently announced a pilot program to begin next year involving 10 states, which program would allow a system of “differentiated accountability.” Under this program, sanctions for failing to meet AYP would differentiate between schools that almost met AYP vs. schools that have significant problems. There is speculation that this program could shift focus away from students with disabilities by lessening sanctions (and therefore accountability) for otherwise successful schools that fail to meet AYP simply because of their special education subgroup.

Thus, while NCLB holds great promise for special education students, and appears to have been of substantial benefit to them, poor implementation by schools/districts/states and/or excessive “flexibility” granted by the Department threaten that promise.

* Sandy Strassman-Alperstein, Volunteer Webmaster
Our Children Left Behind (http://www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com/)

Copyright 2008 Sandy Strassman-Alperstein

* Also, I want to acknowledge the assistance of Jamie Ruppmann and Candace Cortiella of The Advocacy Institute – http://advocacyinstitute.org - in preparing this response.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Home Page (ezBoard) Index

In the Our Children Left Behind Home Page archives

To visit the Home Page archives, click HERE.

NOTE: Due to an ezBoard crash, some Home Pages may not be available. We are working to restore the complete Home Page archives by reposting them to this blog.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Verb -- It's What They Do

It’s a sad fact that many people believe the money spent on special education is wasted. They say that other kids -- “normal” kids -- are more deserving of the funds, for they have the potential to make something of themselves, achieve independence, and contribute to society. They ask why so much money is being spent to educate “tomorrow’s grocery baggers.” I pity those people. They obviously fail to recognize that our children begin contributing to society from the moment they’re born – on so many levels. For example …

They CHALLENGE our medical professionals.

They TEACH our teachers.

They FOCUS our priorities.

They DEVELOP our resourcefulness.

They LIGHTEN our loads.

They ENHANCE our creativity.

They HEIGHTEN our awareness.

They TEST our patience.

They STRENGTHEN our resolve.

They MITIGATE our selfishness.

They LIFT our spirits.

They INSPIRE our loyalty.

They COMPOUND our frustration.

They AMPLIFY our generosity.

They ALLEVIATE our misgivings.

They WIDEN our perspectives.

They ACCEPT our shortcomings.

They BOOST our self-esteem.

They RELIEVE our doubts.

They REINFORCE our beliefs.

They EVOKE our compassion.

They EXPAND our social consciousness.

They ACCELERATE our growth.

They REVEAL our motives.

They ACCOMMODATE our limitations.

They BROADEN our horizons.

They MAGNIFY our resolve.

They SHARPEN our wits.

They REFINE our sensibilities.

They SHAPE our character.

They DEFINE our future.

The list could go on and on and on. Whereas all children do these things at some point and to some degree, children with disabilities constantly and consistently push the envelope. It’s what they DO – naturally. It’s what they GIVE – freely.

Those who view our children as burdens to society are asleep at the wheel. WAKE UP! Our children are incredible assets, both on a personal and on a national level. They contribute continually in countless, often immeasurable, ways.

Please tell Congress not to DISMISS, DISENFRANCHISE, and DISREGARD our children by gutting the IDEA. We, as a nation, simply cannot afford the repercussions. Our country is in dire need of their priceless contributions. To weaken the IDEA by lessening accountability, eliminating short-term objectives, discontinuing manifestation determinations, and imposing attorney fee caps is a grave injustice to all children.

We are the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends of 6.5 million kids. We need every voice to tell Congress our verbs: We REMEMBER, and we VOTE.

Debi Lewis, today’s parentvolunteer@ourchildrenleftbehind.com

Our Children Left Behind [OCLB] was created and is owned/operated by parent volunteers (Sandy Alperstein, Tricia & Calvin Luker, Shari Krishnan, and Debi Lewis). Permission to forward, copy, and/or post this article is granted provided that it is attributed to the author(s) and www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com. For more about OCLB or to share information, please contact parentvolunteer@ourchildrenleftbehind.com.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

The Senate Bill Is Out!


The Senate bill is out!

Read Senator Gregg's press release.

Read the Memo below from the Senate HELP Committee staff members inviting parent input. The time frame is short, so mark your calendars now and prepare to submit your Emails ASAP!


TO: Interested Groups
FROM: Annie White and Connie Garner, Senate HELP Committee

SUBJECT: IDEA Feedback Meetings
DATE: June 12, 2003

The Senate version of the Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be introduced today, June 12, 2003. We plan have the bill available for review in both PDF and WORD document formats on the HELP Committee website today. To access the bill, go to the HELP Committee homepage (http://health.senate.gov/) and select the "Schedule" page (http://health.senate.gov/calendars/all.html).

As promised, we will be conducting bipartisan feedback meetings to give groups and individuals the opportunity to comment on the bill. Meetings will be scheduled in 20-MINUTE INTERVALS, from 10:00 am - noon, and 1 pm - 6 pm on the following days:

Monday, June 16, 2003
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Thursday, June 19, 2003

In the HELP Committee Conference room, 428 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Please contact Aaron Bishop at: idea_feedback@labor.senate.gov, or 202-224-6770 to schedule a meeting. Please request a specific date and time, and provide the number of people attending, group/organization name, and contact information (email address and phone number) for the person scheduling the meeting (in the subject line of the email, type: "Aaron - IDEA Feedback Meeting." He will confirm the meeting via email/phone or to re-schedule.

We encourage groups with similar interests schedule meetings together, if possible. Meeting times will be scheduled on a first-come/first-serve basis, and the 20-minute time limit will be strictly enforced.

We will also receive responses to the bill via email at:
idea_feedback@labor.senate.gov, or fax at: 202-228-0929. Emailed and faxed responses should be sent to the attention of and titled "Annie and Connie – IDEA Reauthorization Feedback."

*Please note that the email address and fax number will only be available from Thursday, June 12, 2003 through Friday, June 20, 2003.


To learn about more that has been going on today, visit Breaking News and The Grapevine’s message board.

Your messages to help parents during this process have made this Web site what it is. Thank you for the information and keep it coming. We all need all of the credible information that you are willing to share.

Parents Need Pollsters

It’s too bad we parents don’t have pollsters.

The only number we’ve been able to hear with any consistency is HR 1350. We fear that many of those who voted for it in the House of Representatives really thought they were doing the right thing for us and for our kids despite the ground swell of opposition we tried to muster against its passage. It is hard to believe that it only took 42 days to jam HR 1350 through the House. We’ve now waited 42 days since its passage for the Senate response. We are being promised a bi-partisan bill. But still we wish we had a pollster.

We think it means something that the Senate has not been able to finalize and present its version of IDEA reauthorization. We all should claim it as our victory. We are making a difference. The Senators are hearing our voices although we do not yet know if they have heard our words. Most of what we have seen from Senate staffers and others suggests that the Senate sees our (the parents and students) primary concerns as full funding. Full funding is important to us, but is way down the list from the gutted provisions we are concerned have permanently been taken from us. We need to fight to get them back in.

Maybe the pollsters would tell us that the Senate would respond to a specific approach or to certain ideas about small changes. Maybe a pollster would tell us that the Senate really doesn’t want to hear from parents but wants to hear from lobbyists, advocacy groups and formal organizations. Maybe the pollsters would say we are trying to hard and the Senate is going to do right by us if we just leave them alone. Thank Goodness we don’t have a pollster!

Our fight for strong IDEA reauthorization legislation truly has been unique in its diversity. There hasn’t been one idea, but hundreds. There hasn’t been one leadership voice, but thousands of parents and students exercising leadership over their own needs and their own concerns. There hasn’t been one advocacy organizations leading the way, but all have raised their voices in unison to decry the meat axe approach the House took to the IDEA we all have fought so hard to keep. In all this diversity of opinion and approach there has been harmony and unity in our willingness to express ourselves and to fight to save the civil rights bill upon which the hopes of 6.6 million students annual rests.

Our rumor mill tells us that if the Senate doesn’t introduce something by tomorrow (Friday the 13th), nothing will be introduced until after the July 4th break. Senate staffers have affirmed for us the rumors we’ve seen on listservs and websites encouraging us to act now, before the bill is introduced, rather than waiting to contest the language that finally is introduced. We wholeheartedly agree with that approach and urge everyone to continue to contact the US Senators in their state and the Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP] Committee. Tell them the top three things you need for the Senate bill to contain and why it is necessary to include them. Use personal stories to make the need obvious to them. Send them pictures of your children and family. Let them hear your voice AND the words you are saying. Write down the names of the people with whom you speak, promise them you will make a follow up call to them and then do so.

There are two IDEA rallies scheduled in Washington on June 13th and June 17th. If you are like us, you will not be able to drop everything to go and attend the rallies. Support those who can go by calling your Senators’ offices at some point on the 13th and the 17th and tell your Senators that your body would be in Washington if your heart wasn’t needed at home. Let them know that however big the rallies might be in Washington, there are millions of others who are at the rallies in spirit.

Every day is a critical day in the fight to save IDEA. We are making a difference in what the final reauthorization bill will look like. Through the last three months we have been proud of the effort that parents, students and advocacy agencies have expended working toward a common goal. We also have been amazed and impressed with the number of different and unique individuals and groups have reached out to make a meaningful impression on the legislators who hold our children’s future in their hands. Don’t let up. Don’t sit down. Don’t look for a pollster or politician to tell you that we are winning or even that we are making a difference. Believe in your heart that your work will succeed. We believe in our hearts that without your work we will not succeed.

Calvin and Tricia Luker, Parents of
Jessica, Missy, Lara and Will

Never A Dull Moment, Eh?

At the end of the day on June the 11th, we heard that the Senate bill could still be introduced on June 12th, but there is also a chance that it could be introduced on Friday the 13th. When we looked at the Senate’s Web site on the meeting page this evening of June 11th, there wasn’t anything on the schedule yet.

So, all we can do is watch, wait, and let each other know what we hear.

Thank you for your input and help.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Are We Ready To Rumble?


According to one of the Senate staff members this morning (June 11, 2003), IDEA is scheduled to be brought up tomorrow (June 12, 2003) and marked up in committee in about 2 weeks. Reportedly, the Senate built their own version of the bill “from the ground up.”

Please, keep writing to us and letting us know what you hear. We want to keep parents connected and informed to the best of our ability.

Good luck this week.

Keep Your Eyes Open ...


Well, we have been told that June 11, 2003 is still the anticipated release date for the Senate bill. However, we were also told not to hold our breath.

Since the President had a media-fest celebrating NCLB on June 10, 2003, followed by an online discussion with Secretary Paige, it seems to make sense that something like the release of the Senate bill will follow.

Contact your Senators' offices and talk with your favorite organizations' lobbyists to find out what is happening. It is crucial that we continue to talking with the press to help mold a most appropriate balanced story about this reauthorization.
If you hear anything, please send it along to: parentvolunteer@ourchildrenleftbehind.com.

And, you know, if we find anything out, we will post it here as soon as possible.

You've been doing an incredible job, everyone!

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Thank you ...

... everyone for writing. We have been reading all of your messages and the emerging theme this week is that the press needs to hear from parents. The IDEA reauthorization story is in the shadow of other national news, and has been ever since the beginning of the Iraq War and the introduction of H.R.1350 that same week.

For many families, the reauthorization of IDEA is one of the biggest news stories in our lives. The futures of our children are at stake, if not at risk, with the present work of this Congress.

If you are not routinely comfortable talking with the press, it might help to review this entire homepage and the Press Info page. You will see that press is beginning to listen to parents. NICE WORK, TEAM! Keep it up.

Please continue contacting your Senators' offices. Parents need to insist that Congress produce "evidence-based legislation" when claiming that there are problems that need to be remedied for the benefit of our children. Parents are beginning to ask questions, like, "How do you know that? How can you be certain that what you are hearing is true? Can you verify that? Where did you hear that? Can you share your sources with me? Where is the data?"

Tomorrow, June 11, 2003, was the last date that we were specifically given for the release of the Senate bill. If you hear anything from your Senators or their staff members, please, write to us and let us know. We will post it here.

Have a nice day.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Beware of "Later"

Experienced advocates are warning us NOT to wait until the Senate's bill is released to take action on issues that are of concern to parents.

Many people that we have heard from expect the Senate bill to be released on Wednesday, June 11 (although no one is absolutely certain if it will be). The time to contact our senators with our concerns is NOW.

Some parents are being told not to worry, because it's still early in the process; that problems with the bill can be fixed later. This may NOT be the case. In fact, this is exactly what House Subcommitee Chairman Castle said twice, as he introduced H.R.1350 and when it passed the House.

Once a bill is introduced in the Senate, especially if it is a bipartisan bill, it may be extremely difficult to make any significant changes to be bill. Any debate that occurs in the Senate will probably focus on issues that were not agreed upon in the bipartisan bill - issues agreed upon in the bill will probably remain the same. Moreover, the debate could very well focus on one or two key issues to the exclusion of all others, since much time will be taken by introductory speeches and the like. Some think that mandatory funding and vouchers will be just those type of issues.

Therefore, we must make our concerns known NOW. Please keep writing and calling your Senators' offices to ensure that Congress hears our concerns before it's too late!

Please, keep your ears to the ground and let us know at Our Children Left Behind if you hear any news about the release of the Senate's bill. We will do the same.

Have a nice week.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Bid To Alter Special Ed Law Piques Interest

Scroll down to June 7, 2003 news on this homepage to read the most recent update of what is happening with the Senate bill.

Since it is Sunday, and there isn't really much new to say about the progress of the Senate bill, we thought that we'd insert a link (below) to an article that may be helpful as parents look to have the press write their stories of concern about the IDEA Reauthorization. We also have some hints on how to prepare for the press located on this Web site.

Bid to alter special ed law piques interest

Sunday, June 08, 2003
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For the parents of many special education students, the federal law known as IDEA is an old friend that has helped ensure that their children get a good education.


Good luck to everyone this week. Your efforts are making a significant difference for our children. Keep up the terrific work and pat your fellow parents on the back for their jobs well-done!

As always, keep in touch. We need all of the credible information that we can get to share with others. Thank you.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

A reliable parent advocate ...

... reported that she spoke with two U.S. Senate HELP committee aides on Friday, June 6, 2003. Both aides assured her that the Senate bill (currently expected out on Wednesday) will be more balanced and more responsive to parent concerns than H.R. 1350. Senator Sessions' main concern right now is with the discipline provisions which his office feels need to be clarified. They are considering working behavior into the IEP rather than having a separate process for it. His aide assured her that it is early enough in the process that parents can still have plenty of input into the final bill.

Senator Enzi's aide echoed the view that parents' concerns are being addressed by the Senate and that the final bill will be bipartisan and more balanced than H.R. 1350. He suggested that the HELP bill may not include the 3-year IEP or the removal of short-term objectives for K-12 students. He suggested that the controversial due process issues would probably be left for floor debate, which is expected to be extensive (a full week of debate is expected). Senator Enzi is also concerned with discipline at this point and is looking to reduce uncertainty in that area from the school's perspective.

Both aides suggested that upon release of the HELP committee bill, parents follow up with their own legislators and staff during the two-week public comment/mark-up period.

Hats off to these Senate offices, and others, that take the time to talk with parents, give us updates, and sincerely listen to our concerns. There have been other Senators and office staff members who have been very giving of information, but we have left them unnamed on this site, to date, by their request. They all know who they are and we appreciate them every bit as much as those with the names listed. Our children's futures are at stake, and there is nothing that we can do without reliable information.

As always, if you hear anything else about the progress of the Senate’s bill, please, contact us here at parentvolunteer@ourchildrenleftbehind.com .

Thanks to everyone for helping our children continue to dream their dreams.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Thank you ...

... for everyone's input this week to figure out what is going on in Washington. Parents have been so left out of the loop in the past, it is difficult to figure out what is really happening. Thanks to the input of all of you and putting our heads together, the information pieces are easier to pull together and make more sense.

From what we have been hearing this week (from all of you who have written or have forwarded credible information to us), it seems that the reason that the bill was not released by yesterday was because more is being considered and done with it. Parents are hoping that it means that the Senate is giving students with disabailities more consideration than the House did in H.R.1350.

So, we march onward and proudly keep writing our letters, making phone calls, and scheduling face to face contact. Remember to see if you can make it to one of the upcoming rallies listed on this Web site.

Get your children, their grandparents, therapists, doctors, employers, employees, labor union buddies, Chamber of Commerce friends, babysitters, and everyone else that you can think of to send messages similar to yours to your Senators and other elected officials. The more voices that echo our messages, the better.

We will be posting more resources soon and are sorting through everything that we have received this week. Thank you for your contributions.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Preparing For Action

We are anxiously watching and waiting for the release of the Senate's bill.

Keep contacting your Senators' offices. Ask what they know about the release of the bill. Share your child's education stories and tell them what you need to see in the bill that will help you be assured of a bright education future for your child. They need to know what it takes for your student to be successful, day after day, in school.

One consistent message that we have been hearing is the "two week" window for review of the released bill. So, we need to be ready to read, reflect, synthesize, and respond.

Some folks plan on blocking out time alone. Others are planning on pulling groups together and breaking up the reading (by special interest areas, such as funding, discipline, etc.).

Organizations work to promote their group's individually identified priority issues. So, if and when you are looking to copy a letter, sign a petition, and the like, read through the text well to be sure that each clearly reflects your beliefs, knowledge base, and wishes for your child.

Stay tuned to CSPAN and the Senate webcasts. If you are interested in trying to look at webcasts for the first time. You may want to be sure that your computer is ready for this. It will save you time when you need it. For example today, go to health.senate.gov/calendars/edu.html. This page mentioned what you would need to view a webcast, if one was going on today pertaining to the Education Committee.

It is critical that we stick together and share what we hear is going on at the Senate level. If we all know what is happening, we can take it from there in the ways most individually comfortable to each of us and with the organizations we enjoy most.

Please, stay in touch. Credible information is how we all get started with producing credible outputs.