Posted on May 13, 2004
Today the Senate passed S.1248, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), by a vote of 95 to 3. Upon passage, Sen. Alexander said: This bill is important to the 6.5 million children who have special needs in this country, including 125,000 children in Tennessee. It includes a number of substantial reforms - two of which have been important to me, and I am proud to see as part of the legislation: · Ensuring that the definition of a "highly qualified" teacher is clarified so that middle and high school special education teachers will have the same requirement as elementary school teachers (unless they are teaching students who are learning at grade level); and · Creating a seamless early childhood program for children from birth until school age. Under the bill, states can give parents, whose children are receiving early intervention services, an option to continue receiving those services until the child reaches primary school age. In Tennessee nearly 6,000 children receive these services.