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Beyond IDEA: The Candidates' Positions


I've blogged a few times over the past weeks about the presidential candidates' political stances on special education and disability awareness.

Laws that affect people with disabilities, however, go well beyond the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. This month, the Ohio Legal Rights Service, an advocacy organization for adults and children with disabilities, compiled a list of the candidates' stated views on a number of important issues. They include mental-health legislation, employment, and health care.

I spotted one missing element in the overview. While it does say, correctly, that Democratic candidate Barack Obama supports increased federal funding of IDEA, the list fails to note that Republican candidate John McCain has said he does as well (though presumably the U.S. Department of Education might fall under the widespread freeze on spending that McCain floated during the recent presidential debate.)


I have wondered if anyone has followed up with Sarah Palin on her remark at the convention about being a voice for families with children with disabilities. What specifically does she plan to do in terms of legislation and policy? Has she connected with any disability or family advocacy groups? How does this align (or mis-align) with her attack in the same speech on community organizers? Does she recognize that families of children with disabilities have played a tremendous role in shaping policies and legislation through their community organizing?

It would be great if it comes up at tonight's debate. I'll be watching for any mention of the topic.

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