Posted: August 7th, 2013
To the Senator, North Carolina
The Bill in question is Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009 (H.R.3800) which amends the Department of Education Organization Act to establish an Office of Specialized Instructional Support to advance specialized instructional support services in schools. The Act also seeks to change the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to introduce the Reduced Barriers to Learning program that allows the Education secretary to award grants to more parties. Representative, David Loebsack, is the main sponsor of this motion Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009 was formulated with a view of amending the department organization Act for the creation of a specialized instructional support department of education services. Primarily, the bill seeks to reduce the factors that deny children the opportunity to learn in schools.
In this regard, students in the United States attend school with a diverse array of academic and non-academic requirements. A student may experience trouble reading, disability or experience a chronic health condition. Other students go through problems of eyesight or hearing deficiency. Others may have undergone traumatic family problems and tragedies, or deal with domestic violence at their communities or homes. From the foregoing, it is clear that many American students are dealing with mammoths of barriers to learning. If we are to reduce or eliminate completely these barriers and help American children succeed in both the classroom and community, there is need to influence their emotional and social wellbeing (Jacobs & Coolidge, 2006). A child is only capable of learning efficiently when he or she is strong and healthy both physically and mentally.
The primary law of the federal government on learning and education, the 1965 Act on elementary and secondary school education was last reauthorized or renewed as the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. Major federal laws are normally scheduled for intricate revision and debate every three years through legislative language, “reauthorization”. The Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009 is due for reauthorization since its inception but certain congressional priorities have led to its delay (Jacobs & Coolidge, 2006). Therefore, the pending reauthorization serves as an opportunity for advocates to influence the policy on federal education for a long period.
The main challenges that stand in the way of the bill being enacted include the fact that the bill was re-introduced from a previous version H.R. 3800 (111th) from the previous Congress session. Another challenge lies in the sponsor himself in that he is a member of the minority party, the Democrats. This means that he has fewer representatives that can support his efforts at introducing the bill. It also means that when it comes for the time for members of Congress to vote, the motion will have a higher chance of failing as the supporters are less in numbers. Lastly, there is at least one cosponsor outside of the majority party and one cosponsor from the Republicans side.
Most of the major barriers to learning can be categorized into organizational, attitudinal or practical in nature. Of the three, the physical barriers form the biggest challenge to learning. Blind, lame, deaf or dumb students have the most difficulty in understanding what the instructor terms “a normal lesson”. The barriers also differ according to the student, the environment and even from day to day. The Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009 can reduce these barriers by using four wholesome approaches that seek to solve the issues for all students and not just disabled students. Ultimately, this Act gives all students a chance to succeed, and for some students, this implies providing services for addressing their wellbeing, health, and safety in addition to their academic requirements. This effort will oversee the improvement of cross agency coordination of programs and services, thus supporting students that endure barriers to the learning process.
Access reforms in the education sector refers to changes that impact the physical access to the learning facilities such as schools, libraries and other academic resources. Access to the curriculum is also included in this section. The next part of the reforms includes being aware of the needs that disabled people have and the challenges that they experience in the process of learning. Understanding these challenges will form a major part of the Bill when it is enacted. The same bill also provides for methods of acceptance that the education sector may need to do things differently. Lastly, the Bill will also appreciate any hidden complexities such as weariness and stress in the learning process.
In 2009, the Congress authorized programs aimed at promoting guidance counseling, activities on violence prevention, mental health services, academic advisement, and the professional development of school counselors. Currently, over 100,000 credentialed, qualified counselors are employed in American public schools. These counselors care for and advocate for students as well as serving as important education team members (Jacobs & Coolidge, 2006). These professionals collaborate and consult with administrators, teachers, and families with an aim of helping the students lead successful lives personally, vocationally, and academically. Ultimately, connecting children with professionals capable of assisting them and being accountable serves as the only solution towards a progressive education system. Furthermore, the bill will allow the United States education department to establish specialized instructional support for providing guidance, technical assistance, and leadership to local school districts and state education agencies by offering the schools with specialized instructional support.
Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009 will have several advantages that are worth pointing out in this section. First, the Bill encourages the development of innovations and methods of teaching. The growth of mobile learning and cross-cultural learning are some examples of new avenues that will thrive on the Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009. Administrative barriers will also be reduced or totally eliminated with the enactment of the new Act of 2009. An example of such barriers includes the awarding of grants. Previously, the issuing of grants was the sole responsibility of the Secretary of Education that handled it incorrectly. Under the new legislation, the issuing of grants will undergo inspection to ensure that it is fair and competitive (Jacobs & Coolidge, 2006).
In conclusion, the education sector suffers from different policy and structural issues. Barriers to learning are one of the major problems plaguing the ministry. Re-introducing and supporting the Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009 will be a step forward in the necessary education reforms in the United States of America. Therefore, it is prudent to implement more services and comprehensive, high-quality school counseling programs provided by credentialed counselors in schools. Most importantly, it is fundamental to understand the crucial role that the Reducing Barriers to Learning Act of 2009 plays in the improvement of school climate, school safety, the wellbeing of students together with their academic achievement.
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