Advocacy & Subdivisions

CEC 2017 Special Education Legislative Summit
Florida has had a strong showing of participants at this great training opportunity. 
Contact Gayle Zavala if you plan to attend or if you need more information.

Take your story and our message to Congress.

This July, hundreds of special education advocates from across the country will fill the halls of Congress to let their Senators and Representatives know what children and youth with exceptionalities need to succeed. At the 2017 Special Education Legislative Summit, we’ll prepare you to advocate in a meaningful way, connect you with other advocates from your state, and guide you to make appointments. Once you are on Capitol Hill, you will have the opportunity to speak with members of Congress and their staff. Hear from other special education professionals who have participated in and advocated at past Special Education Legislative Summits.

At this year’s Summit, national policy and education experts will provide you with:
  • Briefings and insider perspectives that explain the critical issues facing special and gifted education and early intervention.
  • Coaching and practice sessions on delivering effective and compelling advocacy messages.
  • Strategies to share CEC’s messages and your students’ success stories with your members of Congress.


Find Your Legislators

 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.

CEES Reorganization

Florida CEC has re-organized together with Florida Council of Administrators of Special Education (Florida CASE) and other organizations that include:

  • Florida Division of Career Development and Transition
  • Florida Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders
  • Florida Association of School Social Workers
  • Florida Teacher Educators Division
  • Florida Gifted Network
  • Florida Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Florida Association for the Education of the Blind & Visually Impaired
  • Florida Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities
  • Florida Association of School Psychologist

Most of the organizations listed above are planning to attend the training and legislative visits. We have not heard a response or received a financial commitment from VSA Florida, Florida Association for Gifted, or Florida Association of Music Therapist. 
Dr. Rosalind Hall, President of Florida CASE, and Dr. Poinsettia Tillman are serving as our legislative liaisons and have taken over duties as a result of Bob Cerra's decision to not continue as our information specialist.  The Florida CASE treasurer will oversee CEES funds. Gayle Zavala (Florida CAN Coordinator) and Valerie Scott (Florida CASE Legislative Coordinator) will collaborate to assist in communication with the CEES membership and other tasks related to our CEES training in Tallahassee. 

Kelly Grillo,
Mar 4, 2013, 4:06 PM
Kelly Grillo,
Mar 4, 2013, 4:07 PM
Kelly Grillo,
Jun 13, 2014, 1:45 PM
Kelly Grillo,
Mar 4, 2013, 4:07 PM
Kelly Grillo,
Mar 4, 2013, 4:06 PM
Florida CEC,
Apr 25, 2015, 3:02 AM
Kelly Grillo,
Mar 4, 2013, 4:06 PM
Kelly Grillo,
Mar 4, 2013, 9:20 AM
Kelly Grillo,
Jun 13, 2014, 1:45 PM
Florida CEC,
Jan 24, 2015, 1:26 AM