Children's Action Network (CAN)

A FREE Webinar for CEC Members Free Members-Only Webinar What’s Happening in Washington

A FREE Webinar for CEC Members

Free Members-Only Webinar
What’s Happening in Washington: Anticipated Policy Shifts and What They Mean for You

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
6-7 p.m. ET

2017 has been a time of change and uncertainty for all federal policies, but especially for education. We know you're paying attention—this year, you and your fellow special educators sent thousands of letters to your members of Congress, helping ensuring that your voices are heard. Now, we're bringing you the updates that you need on what's still happening in Washington.

In this wide-ranging session, CEC’s Policy and Advocacy Director will analyze education policies currently under discussion in Washington, D.C., review the recent changes to education policy supported by the Administration and Congress and examine their impact on children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. Issues to be discussed include federal appropriations, private school vouchers, Medicaid and health care reform, recent supreme court decisions and others. Strategies and techniques for you to become involved in CEC’s advocacy campaigns will be shared.


Deborah Ziegler, Ed.D.    

Deborah A. Ziegler, Ed.D. is the Director for Policy and Advocacy at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), where she works to further the overall goals of CEC through improving policies affecting exceptional children and youth and the professionals who work with them, at all levels of government. Dr. Ziegler works with the White House, the United States Congress, and the Federal Agencies including the U.S. Department of Education to advocate for policies that guarantee a free appropriate public education for children and youth with disabilities and gifts and talents.





What's New in Washington??


 Betsy DeVos

Click on link or picture for full story





Representatives DeSaulnier, Scott, Hoyer, Langevin, and Huffman Introduce Legislation to Expand Higher Education Access for Students with Disabilities

July 12, 2017 

Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) was joined by Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05), and Representatives James Langevin (RI-02) and Jared Huffman (CA-02) in introducing the Improving Access to Higher Education Act (H.R. 3199). This bill, which is part of the ‘Aim Higher’ initiative, would fully address the needs of students with disabilities, and would help improve college access and completion.

 “This first of its kind legislation takes a comprehensive approach to providing students and institutions with improved training, greater resources, and expanded services—bringing us one step closer to ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to earn a degree, find a job, and achieve the American Dream. I am honored to join Ranking Member Scott and my colleagues in spearheading this important effort for our students,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

 “Since the passing of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – federal law has been clear that individuals with disabilities must have equitable access to education,” said Ranking Member Scott. “Thanks to the IDEA and the ADA, we have more students with disabilities graduating from high school than ever before. This bill will ensure the HEA is living up to the promise of the ADA and allowing all students to have equal access to higher education so they can fully participate in society.”

“I thank Reps. DeSaulnier, Scott, Langevin, and Huffman for introducing the Improving Access to Higher Education Act to make higher education more accessible for students with differing abilities,” said Whip Hoyer. “As the lead House sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I am strongly committed to ensuring that all of our people can live up to their full potential. This bill will help more of our students do so by addressing affordability, accessibility, and completion of higher education degrees that will prepare them for well-paying jobs and opportunities.”

 “Every student has the right to a quality education,” said Congressman Jared Huffman. “For students with disabilities in college, a quality education means providing an environment that fosters academic growth and gives them the individualized tools that they need to succeed. Unfortunately, college administrators and faculty face many challenges in providing these essential accommodations and instructional supports. The Improving Access to Higher Education Act will help level the playing field for students with disabilities, allowing every student to access the education and skills needed to live a meaningful and independent life.”

  “Students with disabilities already face tremendous challenges inside and outside of the classroom, but gaining access to a quality postsecondary education shouldn’t be one of them,” Rep. Langevin said. “This bill will provide students with disabilities greater educational opportunities in preparation for a bright future in the workforce. The doors to higher education should be open for all students, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in leading a bill that will foster more inclusive curricula and learning environments.”

In 2005, just 46 percent of students with disabilities who graduated from high school enrolled in postsecondary education, with only 40 percent of those students going on to finish a degree or receive a work certificate within eight years. For students with disabilities who enroll in a four year institution, odds of completing a degree fall to just 34 percent. The Improving Access to Higher Education Act aims to address this gap in completion rates.

 Specifically, the Improving Access to Higher Education Act would:

  • Instruct institutions to provide comprehensive services to students with disabilities, such as personalized study plans, integrated housing among their peers, and partnerships with local education agencies
  • Improve professional development and technical assistance to faculty and staff
  • Develop best practices for institutions to integrate instructional materials and technology in the classroom
  • Require institutions collect data assessing the success of the services provided to students with disabilities
  • Incentivize institutions to create an Office of Accessibility to best address the needs of students receiving disability services
  • Create two new $10 million grants to establish a National Teacher Assistance Center and National Coordinating Center for Inclusion of Students with Intellectual Disabilities

 Organizations supporting the Improving Access to Higher Education Act includes: Teacher Education Division of CEC, Association of University Centers on Disability, American Foundation for the Blind, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, National Council for Learning Disabilities, National Down Syndrome Congress, The Arc, and National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

 The ‘Aim Higher’ initiative, is a series of bills which would provide students with the ability to access, afford, and complete a postsecondary degree, leading to a good-paying job.



On June 6th, 2017 Education Secretary DeVos proposed a budget for the upcoming term. If you would like to watch, click the following link:

Following is a transcription of Ed Secretary DeVos statement to the budget committee:

Children's Action Network (CAN)

CEC works to improve public policy affecting children and youth with disabilities and gifts and talents, their parents and the professionals who work with them, at all levels of government.

In advocating on behalf of children with exceptionalities, CEC examines policy issues, develops appropriate responses to those issues and influences local, state, provincial and federal legislation. CEC also monitors and makes recommendations for program regulations and funding. In addition, CEC maintains a network among its units for influencing policy.

CEC is the recognized leader in advocacy for special education policy. CEC has a long history of success in impacting policy and legislation in the special education, gifted and talented and general education areas. CEC played a large part in developing the predecessor of today's IDEA, then known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (PL 94-142). This law established the right to a free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities.

CEC’s Children and Youth Action Network (CAN) is an organized group of volunteers who are dedicated to helping advance policy affecting students with disabilities and gifts and talents. CAN seeks to (1) effect the necessary governmental changes at the local, state, and federal levels that will make possible the implementation of CEC policies relating to the education of exceptional children; and (2) further vitalize CEC units by providing meaningful vehicles for membership and CEC public visibility. 

Tennessee CEC CAN Coordinator Luann Ley Davis, Ph.D.

Luann Ley Davis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
TN CEC CAN Coordinator
UM SCEC Faculty Advisor
University of Memphis
College of Education, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership
3798 Walker Ave., 413C Ball Hall
Memphis, TN 38152


Luann is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Memphis. She is the TN CEC CAN Coordinator, and University of Memphis Student CEC Faculty Advisor.

Luann has served on several local, state, and a national committee to advocate for individuals with disabilities.  She has served as the Colorado CEC CAN Coordinator for over four years, as well as the NC CEC CAN Coordinator for two years prior to moving to Tennessee.

Luann received her Ph.D. in Special Education and Child Development from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she was a RGA on the National Center and State Collaborative General Supervision Enhancement Grant (NCSC GSEG), and The SOLUTIONS Project. Her research area includes peer-mediated instruction using technology for students with moderate/severe disabilities. Luann received her Master’s Degree in Special Education-Severe Needs Cognitive from the University of Northern Colorado, and her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Colorado State University. 

Her most recent awards include being named the 2010 -2011 Colorado Council for Exceptional Children, Colorado Teacher of the Year; was featured in a book entitled “Success Secrets for Super Teachers” by Ernie Pierce, and was awarded the 9News Teacher Who Cares award where she was featured on a news channel for the month of January 2009 and given lifetime college course credit and monetary awards.

 Luann is a native of Colorado and has taught students with Severe/Profound disabilities for more than 14 years.  Her students over the years have ranged from PreK to Transitionary age (18-21).  Luann provided instruction in all academic subject areas with primary focus in Literacy, Functional Math, Career Readiness, and Life Skills.  She has also taught remedial Language Arts, in addition to teaching special education, to students designated At-Risk.

Luann enjoys buying and selling antiques and unique collectibles, fishing, watching classic movies, and occasionally getting to spend time with her daughter in Oklahoma. She also loves advocating for those with disabilities, promoting adopting shelter animals, coaching soccer, hiking, camping, and fine dining.


CEC Issue Briefs