Our Policy Agenda
The Council for Exceptional Children is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities. We accomplish our mission through advocacy, standards, and professional development.
The organization has a long history as a leader in advocating on behalf of children and young adults with exceptionalities for the human and fiscal resources necessary to enable each individual to attain their highest level of education and employment and life success.
CEC’s influence in shaping the policies that support publicly funded education, special education, and early intervention is well recognized and valued by legislators and other policy makers as well as other professional organizations.
Therefore, the Policy Steering Committee (PSC) recommends that CEC establish a set of principles and a structure and process for guiding the establishment of legislative and policy priorities that is flexible and not time bound and which can also serve as a framework for assessing CEC’s response to changes in policy environments. Accordingly, the PSC recommends that CEC adopt the following principles as a guide for developing policy and advocacy priorities. Further, the PSC recommends that the priorities be reviewed at least annually to determine status and to recommend revisions and replace the prior two-year Public Policy Agenda.
Our Policy Principles
Guided by the following principles, CEC strives to meet the needs of infants, toddlers, children, and young adults with exceptionalities by:
- ensuring that all children with disabilities are afforded a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living;
- that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected;
- that educators and parents have access to the necessary tools to improve educational results for children and young adults with disabilities by supporting system-wide improvement activities; coordinated research and personnel preparation; coordinated technical assistance, dissemination of evidence-based research and practices, and support; and
- that states and local school districts receive the resources necessary to provide for the education of children and young adults with disabilities as well as a system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers who would be at risk of having substantial developmental delay and their families.
Engage with Congressional and Executive Branch monitoring, strategic support, and oversight activities to ensure that all appropriations bills as well as any legislative or regulatory policies or positions proposed in response to COVID-19 are consistent with the core principles and support public education’s ability to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education to children and youth with disabilities and early intervention services to children and infants and toddlers.
In the current political environment, and especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEC agrees with Congressional champions and its partner organizations that now is not the time to reauthorize the IDEA.
Monitor and influence appropriations and emergency COVID-19 response bills that impact IDEA; monitor authorizing legislation that could impact IDEA
- Monitor and influence appropriation bills, authorizing bills, and emergency COVID-19 response bills that impact students with exceptionalities
- Monitor and influence the Higher Education Act
- Monitor and influence COVID-19 response bills that strength the teacher pipeline
- Monitor and influence evidence-based legislative initiatives that strengthen the teacher pipeline
- Support emergency funding for IDEA through COVID- 19 response and recovery bills
- Support large-scale funding to states to bolster state budgets so that schools can be protected from major revenue losses and educator cuts
- Advocate for increased funding for IDEA through the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations process
- Advocate for the full funding of IDEA by fiscal year 2029.
- Work with lead Congressional committees to develop restraint and seclusion legislation
- Work with lead Congressional offices to develop school climate legislation