Legislation to Reform Education for Students Who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, Visually Impaired Introduced in Congress

February 12, 2014 — The Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) announced that H.R. 4040, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sponsored by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Mark Takano (D- CA), and Steve Stockman (R-TX), the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will enhance the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to better meet the needs of students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. The Act will ensure that:

  • every child who is deaf and every child who is blind, regardless of whether they have additional disabilities, will be properly counted and served;
  • each of a child’s learning needs will be properly evaluated;
  • states will engage in strategic planning to be sure that they can meet each child’s specialized needs;
  • the U.S. Department of Education will do its part to hold states and schools accountable; and
    students will be served by qualified personnel.

Named for the first deaf student in the U.S. to receive a formal education and the beloved teacher of Helen Keller, respectively, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act has received the support from major national, state, and local organizations supporting students who are deaf or hard of hearing and students who are blind or visually impaired.

CEASD President Ron Stern noted “The lack of convergence between word and action; research and practice; what truly works and what does not; and perception and reality has long plagued the deaf/hard of hearing child’s prospects for a quality, humane education and whole person development. Although the intent of IDEA is timeless, the low incidence populations of deaf and visually impaired children often have not been understood or well served. The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will provide clarity as to how best meet the needs of these children and help them achieve their potential.”

NAD President Chris Wagner stated “Every deaf or hard of hearing child deserves access to a quality education, and this Act will be an important step towards reminding states of their accountability regarding deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired children’s needs.”

CEASD and the NAD encourage everyone to contact their member of Congress and ask for their support of this Act. For more information please explore here.

About the NAD
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America. Established in 1880, the NAD was shaped by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more – improving the lives of millions of deaf and hard of hearing Americans.

Founded in 1868, CEASD is committed to the promotion of excellence within a continuum of equitable educational opportunities for all children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. CEASD advocates on behalf of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and supports the efficient and effective management of schools, programs, program service centers, and governmental units offering educational and related programs and services.



Tawny Holmes and Caroline Jackson
Staff Attorneys, National Association of the Deaf
[email protected]
301-587-1788 (V/VP)

Barbara Raimondo
Executive Director, CEASD
[email protected]