The Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP) of the Mississippi Department of Education meets by Zoom this Wednesday, April 28, at 10 a.m. You can attend the meeting by phone or online. The meeting is open to the public and includes public comments at 10:15. We urge any and all families who have an interest in special education in Mississippi to attend the meeting and consider sharing your feedback during the public comment period.
All states are mandated in federal law to “establish and maintains an advisory panel for the purpose of providing policy guidance with respect to special education and related services for children with disabilities in the State.” In other words, this panel advises the Mississippi Department of Education on policies about special education and children with disabilities.
The law also lays outs these requirements about advisory panels:
Such advisory panel shall consist of members appointed by the Governor, or any other official authorized under State law to make such appointments, be representative of the State population, and be composed of individuals involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including—
(i) parents of children with disabilities (ages birth through 26);
(ii) individuals with disabilities;
(iv) representatives of institutions of higher education that prepare special education and related services personnel;
(v) State and local education officials, including officials who carry out activities under subtitle B of title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.);
(vi) administrators of programs for children with disabilities;
(vii) representatives of other State agencies involved in the financing or delivery of related services to children with disabilities;
(viii) representatives of private schools and public charter schools;
(ix) not less than 1 representative of a vocational, community, or business organization concerned with the provision of transition services to children with disabilities;
(x) a representative from the State child welfare agency responsible for foster care; and
(xi) representatives from the State juvenile and adult corrections agencies.
A majority of the members of the panel shall be individuals with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities (ages birth through 26).
The advisory panel shall—
(i) advise the State educational agency of unmet needs within the State in the education of children with disabilities;
(ii) comment publicly on any rules or regulations proposed by the State regarding the education of children with disabilities;
(iii) advise the State educational agency in developing evaluations and reporting on data to the Secretary under section 1418 of this title;
(iv) advise the State educational agency in developing corrective action plans to address findings identified in Federal monitoring reports under this subchapter; and
(v) advise the State educational agency in developing and implementing policies relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities.“Wright’s Law refers to Special Education Advisory Panels as “the most powerful advocacy tool in IDEA 2004.“ We hope that all of you will attend the panel’s Zoom meeting this Wednesday at 10 AM to learn how you can support special education policies that are in the best interest of our children.