ASHA Presents Education Priorities to Obama Team On Jan. 5, ASHA government relations and public policy staff met with the Obama presidential transition team in Washington, D.C., to discuss ASHA’s education priorities for the new administration. The role of the transition team was to identify policy areas for the incoming administration to address. Sharon Lewis, who served ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   March 01, 2009
ASHA Presents Education Priorities to Obama Team
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ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   March 01, 2009
ASHA Presents Education Priorities to Obama Team
The ASHA Leader, March 2009, Vol. 14, 1-33. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.14032009.1
The ASHA Leader, March 2009, Vol. 14, 1-33. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.14032009.1
On Jan. 5, ASHA government relations and public policy staff met with the Obama presidential transition team in Washington, D.C., to discuss ASHA’s education priorities for the new administration. The role of the transition team was to identify policy areas for the incoming administration to address.
Sharon Lewis, who served on the transition group’s Education Agency Review team, met with Neil Snyder, ASHA’s director of federal advocacy, along with advocates representing occupational therapists, physical therapists, school counselors, and school social workers. Lewis listened to the policy concerns and priorities ASHA and the other groups wanted to communicate to the new administration.
In accordance with the Obama transition team’s transparency policy, ASHA’s education priorities are posted and available for public comment, under the “Your Seat at the Table” section of the transition team’s Web site.
The transition team limited ASHA’s presentation to a one-page list of priorities. ASHA addressed four areas, including:
  • Full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

  • The Parents Right To Know Improvement Act. This legislation provides parents with the authority to know about the qualifications of specialized school support personnel, including speech-language pathologists and audiologists, who work with their children.

  • Funding Loan Forgiveness Program for Professions in National Need. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (P.L.110–315) includes loan forgiveness provisions that should be included in the Obama administration’s 2010 budget request.

  • Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI). Continued federal funding is critical to ensure that state EHDI programs maintain and expand screening programs and that the programs are linked to diagnostic and early intervention services.

In addition, classroom acoustics and the shortage of higher education faculty in communication sciences and disorders programs were discussed at the meeting.
The priorities of the Obama administration are available at the White House Web site. For example, under the heading of “disabilities,” the following quote from then-Senator Obama appears:

“We must build a world free of unnecessary barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination…policies must be developed, attitudes must be shaped, and buildings and organizations must be designed to ensure that everyone has a chance to get the education they need and live independently as full citizens in their communities.”

ASHA has requested a meeting with the Arne Duncan, the new secretary of education and is waiting for a response. ASHA will be advocating on these issues with the 111th Congress and the White House.
For more information about ASHA’s policy priorities and agenda, contact Neil Snyder, director of federal advocacy, at nsnyder@asha.org or 800-498-02071, ext. 5614.
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March 2009
Volume 14, Issue 3