The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) invite you to the 2018 Special Education Legislative Summit, the premier advocacy event of the year for special educators and early interventionists. During this event, CEC members from across the country gather together to educate our nation's policymakers about protecting IDEA, ensuring FAPE and early intervention services, and safeguarding the rights of children and youth with exceptionalities. You know what your students need, so raise your voice and advocate with us during the 2018 Special Education Legislative Summit this July!

Let our Florida Advocacy Chair/ Florida CAN representative, Jane Collins Boritz, know if you plan to attend this summer. 

Florida has had a strong showing of participants at this annual training opportunity. 

Special and gifted education teachers and early interventionists from 46 states stormed Capitol Hill this month, delivering three strong messages to lawmakers: protect Medicaid, increase investment in special and gifted education and early intervention programs, and support public education by keeping public funds in public education. 

Last year, CEC brought over 270 education professionals to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of children and youth with exceptionalities as part of the annual Special Education Legislative Summit. In preparation for visits with their legislators, state teams are immersed in sessions about education policy and are briefed on CEC's legislative recommendations.  Kimberly Richey, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, delivered the keynote address. 

To conclude the four-day-long event, participants shared testimonials and learned how to continue their advocacy throughout the year. "IDEA guarantees the civil rights of all children and youth with disabilities and their families, ensuring high-quality evidence-based practices including individualized services to support children in their development and education and assist them in achieving positive educational outcomes and results," said Deb Ziegler, CEC policy and advocacy director. Through the advocacy work of CEC and its members, we move closer to ensuring the success of all students.
Thank you to all Florida CEC members and advocates who attended last year's event. You made a difference! Continue to send your advocacy messages loud and clear through CEC's Legislative Action Center

Download the latest CAN report at the bottom of this page.

 2017 Legislative Platform 

Committee for Education of Exceptional Students (CEES)

Click for PRINTABLE doc

Safe Learning Environment

  • Continue training for all school personnel and enhance university programs in recognition and treatment of abused children.

  • Continue implementation of strategies to eliminate all forms of bullying.

  • Ensure that discipline decisions relating to students with disabilities are reviewed individually in the context of the student' s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and provide funded training for school-based personnel including School Resource Officers (SRO) to handle specific behavioral concerns in a differentiated manner.

  • Prohibit the use of physical restraint in instances other than imminent danger to oneself or others, and provide annual training in the area of restraint and seclusion.

  • Replace corporal punishment in all public schools with evidence based alternatives to improve student behaviors.

  • Replace of out of school suspension and expulsion with appropriately monitored in-school learning opportunities.

  • Fund and expand evidence-based practices such as Positive Behavior Supports to decrease occurrence of discipline issues for all students and address inequities related to suspension and expulsion.

  • Institute alternatives (e.g., restorative justice programs, on-site personnel who are trained in rebuilding social/emotional skills with at-risk students; collaboration with behavior specialist, social workers and community outreach personnel) in place of using out of school suspension (OSS) and expulsion.

Access and Assessment

  • Establish class size requirement for students with disabilities that is consistent with best practices for the delivery model of special education services.

  • Provide funding across the spectrum of K-12 services for students who are Gifted, including students who are twice exceptional.

  • Ensure that Multi-tier System of Supports (MTSS) is provided to all students based on their individual needs, regardless of their exceptionality.

  • Ensure that instructional materials, intervention strategies, and resources are research/evidence based.

  • Ensure availability of appropriate and accessible educational materials including digital materials, by using adaptation features, specialized formats, and assistive technology to access the curriculum and to meet state accountability requirements.

  • Allow the use of classroom accommodations in all assessments including district and state assessments through the use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

  • Remove barriers for students with disabilities in secondary career education and postsecondary programs by allowing documentation such as previous Individual Educational Plans (IEP), 504 Plans, and Summary of Performance (SOP), so that students can access appropriate accommodations.

  • Instruments used in high stakes decision-making should be legislatively mandated to be clearly validated for each separate intended use.

  • Support valid and reliable Learning Media Assessments (LMA) based on research-based practices for all learners who have visual impairments including those students with multiple exceptionalities.


  • Increase the ESE guaranteed allocation by more than the inflation and population growth, for students including K- 1 2 gifted programs.

  • Ensure services to exceptional students in the public schools are not penalized by reallocation of resources that may reduce the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) or ESE Guaranteed Allocation.

  • Continue to fund critical statewide infrastructure support programs serving students with exceptionalities:

    • Challenge Grants for the Gifted;

    • Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS)

    • Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired (FI MCVI), Critical Initiatives in Visual Impairments, and special funds for the instructional materials needed by students who are visually impaired,

    • Resource Materials and Technology Center for Deaf /Hard of Hearing

    • Multi-Agency Network for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (SEDN ET)

    • Very Special Arts Florida (VSA)

    • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

  • Continue funding for intervention programs such as:

    • Division of Blind Services

    • Centers for Autism and Related Disabilities (CA R D)

    • Florid a Diagnostic and Learning Resources System Centers (university programs).


  • Design performance pay and teacher evaluation systems that measure contributions by ESE resource/itinerant teachers and student services personnel who are working with students across the entire continuum of services (e.g., Value Added Model).

  • Teacher evaluation systems for teachers of students with disabilities should consider the specific disabilities of the students the teacher is serving.

  • Mandate equivalent academic accountability measures, as required of the public schools, for students with disabilities enrolled in school choice programs such as special savings account funding, McKay Scholarships, Personal Learning Accounts, and ensure fiscal accountability for all services using public funds.

  • Eliminate the penalty for high schools that have students with disabilities who may require 5 or more years to meet graduation requirements.

  • Examine the penalties for schools and districts related to the legislation for the use of the national cohort formula for drop out rates.


  • Protect Chapter 490 licensure for school psychologists and Chapter 491 licensure for mental health counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists.

  • Align teacher certification standards to reflect current research and practice.

  • All teachers through university pre-service programs should have “in-field” experience and training in Exceptional Student Education prior to graduating and/or being assigned to a classroom. Support disability awareness and training of law enforcement officers in effective communication and de-escalation, and intervention strategies for people with disabilities (e.g., ASD, InD, EBD, LD, mental health & homeless).

  Mental Health Services

  • Support and fund mental health services for students, which may include wrap around and community linkages.

  • Fund and continue to provide professional development opportunities in the area of mental health.

These issues were determined by the following statewide organizations: Florida Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Florida Council of Administrators of Special Education, Florida Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders, Florida Council for Exceptional Children, Gatorland Council for Exceptional Children, Florida Association of School Psychologists, Florida Division on Career Development and Transition, Florida Gifted Network.


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Florida CEC,
Aug 28, 2017, 12:15 PM