The Messenger
A Newsletter From The Arc Dane County
Supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 65 years


March 29, 2017 

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry,
and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry
are equal in value no matter what their color.
 
 
What's Happening at The Arc Dane County
Register Now! - The Arc Awards Banquet
Thursday, April 20, 2017
6:00pm - 8:30pm
The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club
  Tickets are $35 each and include dinner.

Eleven individuals will be recognized for their outstanding efforts benefiting people with developmental disabilities and forwarding The Arc-Dane County's mission.
The Arc 2017 Spring Ball
Don't Miss Your Chance for Tickets!

Get your dancing shoes ready for this year's Spring Ball.  We will be dancing the afternoon away at the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club on Sunday April 30th from 2pm - 5pm.  We hope you can join us for a fun  afternoon of dancing, friends and celebrating the spring season. 

Tickets are available on a first come first serve basis.  Don't wait to get yours, they sell out fast!  Ticket Request Forms are due on or before April 10th. Forms are available by clicking here.
Update Your Contacts - New Email
The Arc Dane County has a new email address.  We are no longer using arcdane@chorus.net.  Please update your contacts and begin using our new email:
Welcome New Member
The Arc Dane County welcomes Jean Schmeichel as our newest member! 

As we work to increase our membership and create a strong community advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, please consider sharing information about The Arc Dane County.

Joining our membership is as easy as clicking here and filling out our form.
In This Issue
Upcoming  Events
The Arc National Events
From The Arc Wisconsin
By now you have heard that Congress refused Friday to take a vote on their harmful cuts to Medicaid programs that would have impacted Wisconsinites with disabilities, including those who use Family Care and IRIS. Wisconsin advocates for people with disabilities were part of a major coordinated effort to educate policymakers on this issue. The Arc played a significant leadership role in efforts nationally.
 
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your important advocacy on this issue: for making calls, sending messages, encouraging staff and families to attend our budget trainings. It really made a difference.
 
Late last night I returned to Wisconsin from Washington, DC where I was participating as a citizen member and sharing information from chapters of The Arc on the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. I made a specific request that our next report to the President, expected to be sent in May, emphasize that the Administration must monitor and act on any trends in states that reduce access to Home and Community-Based Services for people with disabilities.
 
I expect that next steps in D.C. will now be that US Secretary of HHS Tom Price will encourage states to use their existing Medicaid flexibility to make changes to state programs. See this letter from Price and his Medicaid Director Seema Verma to Governors here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/sec-price-admin-verma-ltr.pdf
 
I think we can expect Wisconsin to maximize certain flexibilities in our Medicaid funded programs (everything from BadgerCare, ForwardHealth, Family Care, IRIS, etc.), including adding work requirements to some Medicaid programs, but we will not know the extent of Governor Walker's plans for some time. I will be monitoring this situation and sharing information with you as I know more. Please let me know your questions.
 
In the meantime, we should celebrate! I cannot express how important Friday's victory in defeating the American Health Care Act was for preserving the system we have built in Wisconsin. Thank you for working with me as your new State Director to continue to improve quality of life for people with disabilities.    
 
Sincerely,
 
Lisa Pugh
State Director, The Arc Wisconsin 
National Advocacy
Board member Barb Hughes notes the tremendous importance of the unanimous (8-0) U.S. Supreme Court education rights decision summarized below and recommends reading the discussion of the case and opinion by clicking on the link in the summary.

Education - Supreme Court Unanimously Rules in Favor of Special Education Students
In a major win for the disability community, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress. In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, the high court rejected the "merely more than de minimis" standard set by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver. That language had been used in a precedent-setting opinion in another special education case by Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, who sits on the 10th Circuit appellate court.

"Of course this describes a general standard, not a formula," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion. "When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing 'merely more than de minimis' progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all," he wrote. "The IDEA demands more," he added. "It requires an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances."

Endrew's parents sought reimbursement from the district for the cost of a private school, arguing that the public school had failed to meet the IDEA's mandate for a free and appropriate public education. The Supreme Court did not directly address the question of reimbursement, but sent the case back to the lower courts for consideration. For more information, read The Arc's statement on the Supreme Court decision here. 
The Arc Dane County | (608) 833-1199
6602 Grand Teton Plaza | Madison, WI 53719