The following are excerpts from President Bushs remarks at his signing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (H.R. 1350) today:
"Thanks for coming. Good morning. I'm proud to be standing up here with friends from both sides of the political aisle who worked together to re-authorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It's a really good piece of legislation. It took a lot of hard work, and it shows what is possible in our nation's capital."
"America's schools educate over 6 million children with disabilities. In the past, those students were too often just shuffled through the system with little expectation that they could make significant progress or succeed like their fellow classmates. Children with disabilities deserve high hopes, high expectations, and extra help.
"In the bill I sign today, we're raising expectations for the students. We're giving schools and parents the tools they need to meet them. We're applying the reforms of the No Child Left Behind Act to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act so schools are accountable for teaching every single child. All our students deserve excellent teachers. So this law ensures that students with disabilities will have special education teachers with the skills and training to teach special education and their subject area.
"Some students with disabilities will need intensive, individualized help. So this law, for the first time, will support tutoring programs to help children in schools that need improvement. When schools are so busy trying to deal with unnecessary and costly lawsuits, they have less time to spend with students. So we're creating opportunities for parents and teachers to resolve problems early. We're making the system less litigious, so it can focus on the children and their parents.
"The people who care most about the students are of course the teachers, and especially the parents, who know their needs and know their names. So we're giving more flexibility and control over the students' education to parents and teachers and principals. We'll make sure that parents and schools can change a student's educational program to better meet their needs, without having to attend unnecessary meetings or complete unnecessary paperwork. We trust the local folks to meet high standards for all our kids, and this bill gives them the freedom and flexibility to meet our goals.
"All students in America can learn. That's what all of us up here believe. All of us understand we have an obligation to make sure no child is left behind in America. So I'm honored to sign the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, and once again thank the members for being here."
More information related to the new special education law, including a full summary, is available on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce website at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/issues/108th/education/idea/idea.htm.
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