Join us! Hill Day Feb. 28!

Organizations from the Deaf, blind, and deafblind communities will keep the Cogswell-Macy momentum moving with a Hill Day on February 28, part of a two-day Education and Advocacy Summit (February 27 and 28).

photo of the U.S. Capitol dome reflected in water

The Summit and Hill Day are for:

  • advocates (parents and education professionals) concerned about education for students who are deaf, blind, and deafblind, and
  • high school students who are deaf, blind, or deafblind.

Events on February 27th include a tour of Gallaudet University, training workshops for parents and professionals, and leadership training for students.

February 28, all day: Capitol Hill Advocacy Day: legislative briefing on advocacy issues (for professionals and high school students), then meetings with Congressional representatives (sponsored by Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf, National Association of the Deaf, and American Foundation for the Blind).

Agenda for the Hill Day

  •  8:30-10:30 a.m.: The day will kick-off with a briefing on Capitol Hill. Here, key Congressional staff and national advocates will brief attendees on issues and effective advocacy techniques. Please plan to arrive at 8:00 in order to make sure everyone is checked in and seated on time.
    Presentations during this briefing will be in spoken English and American Sign Language, with interpreters on the podium. (If you requested a different accommodation when you registered, that will be provided. Also, accommodations for meetings with Congressional members and staff are arranged separately.)
  • 10:30 – 5:00: After the briefing ends, you will meet with your Congressional representatives – your two Senators and your one Representative.
    • 10:30 – 1:00 House meeting. You must schedule this meeting in advance. This meeting should be scheduled between 11:00 and 1:00 (ending by 1:00). (While everyone from a state has the same two Senators, different residents will have different Representatives, depending on where each resident lives. Therefore, it makes sense to have attendees make their own House appointments.) If a sign language interpreter is required for the meeting you should ask the staff person to arrange one.
    • 1:30 – 5:00 Senate meetings. It is most effective for all attendees from a state to attend meetings with their Senators as a group. Senate meetings are being organized by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to be held between 1:30 and 5:00 p.m. After you register, and once the Senate appointments have been booked, AFB will notify you about the times for the meetings with your Senators’ offices. You do not need to arrange these meetings.

You may attend just the Hill Day or join us for the entire two-day Education and Advocacy Summit. For more details about other events occurring at the Summit, visit our Education and Advocacy Summit event event page on Facebook.

Two-step registration process for any/all events:

  1. Register for any part of the Summit as a school, organization, parent, or professional
  2. Register high school students attending with parents or professionals as part of a school or program

Notes: All participants will be responsible for their own transportation, lodging, and other expenses. Each student participant must attend with an adult parent/teacher/professional or as part of an organization or school group; students cannot attend on their own.

Questions? Email Rebecca Sheffield,

Join us at the Summit!

red, black, and navy blue text on a white background. Above the text, a red stripe with circle in the center, inside the circle is a red icon representing a clipboard. Text: "February 27-28, 2018, Save the date to save the day! Education and advocacy summit, Washington, D.C." Text on a blue ribbon:

You are invited to an Education and Advocacy Summit hosted by the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet University Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the National Association of the Deaf, and the American Foundation for the Blind. The events will occur February 27 and 28, 2018 in Washington, DC.



Save the Date to Save the Day!

We’re keeping the #CogswellMacyAct momentum going!

February 27-28, 2018

Join us in Washington, D.C., for our first-of-its-kind, two-day education and advocacy summit for the fields of deafness, blindness, and deafblindness.

  • On the morning of February 27, interested high school students are invited to a campus tour of Gallaudet University.
  • On the afternoon of February 27, professionals and high school students from all sensory disabilities fields are invited for interactive workshops on advocacy, policy, and leadership, beginning at 1 p.m. at Gallaudet University.
  • Everyone is invited to join us on February 28 as we take to the Hill to visit members of Congress and their staff. Stay tuned for registration information.

Questions? Feel free to send a message to this page or our Facebook page, and we’ll respond as soon as we can.

red, black, and navy blue text on a white background. Above the text, a red stripe with circle in the center, inside the circle is a red icon representing a clipboard. Text: "February 27-28, 2018, Save the date to save the day! Education and advocacy summit, Washington, D.C." Text on a blue ribbon:

Senators Markey and Capito Introduce the Cogswell-Macy Act in the Senate!

Washington (November 7, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure that visual and hearing-impaired students receive the best possible education. The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will improve the effectiveness and personalization of education and services for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind. The legislation would improve reporting and evaluation measures of special education in each state, increase training for teachers and other special education professionals, and reaffirm the Department of Education’s mission and responsibility to ensure an accessible and quality education for all students.

This bill is named after Alice Cogswell, the first deaf student to be formally educated in the United States, and Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller’s famous teacher. Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Congressman David McKinley (WV-1) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

“More than one hundred years after Anne Sullivan Macy worked with Hellen Keller at Massachusetts’s Perkins School, we are coming together to ensure that students in the 21st century receive the best education,” said Senator Markey. “I am happy to introduce this legislation with Senator Capito to help deaf, blind, and deaf-blind students across the country by improving access to quality education and offering them the chance to work with effective educators and trained professionals. Every student should have the opportunity to maximize their God-given abilities, and our bill will help thousands of students do just that.”

“It is essential students in West Virginia and across the nation who are deaf, hard of hearing or have vision loss receive the specialized services they need to reach their fullest potential,” said Senator Capito. “The Cogswell-Macy Act would help ensure the educational needs of these students are better met.”

Specifically, the Cogswell-Macy Act would:

  • Require states to identify and evaluate children who are visually and hearing impaired so that appropriate services can be delivered to each student, and report instances when they fall short
  • Help parents and educators stay informed and up-to-date through written policy guidance released regularly from the Department of Education
  • Encourage states to plan for and commit to specialized instruction for all deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind students, provided by trained personnel
  • Establish the Anne Sullivan Macy Center of Vision Loss and Educational Excellence within the Department of Education to function as a national resource to better support students with visual disabilities

“Since 1975, the law has worked wonders in terms of ensuring the right of every student with a disability to be included in our public education system,” said Mark Richert, Policy Director for the American Foundation for the Blind. “But what we’ve never done is to make sure that students, particularly kiddos who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind, get what they need once they get in the schoolhouse door. With Senate introduction of the Cogswell-Macy Act, we’re signaling to everyone that we’re not prepared to wait for the needs of another generation of students with sensory disabilities to be ignored before we work with our amazing champions on the Hill to change things.”

“This bill acknowledges and supports the various ways that deaf and hard of hearing children learn. There is no ‘one size fits all’ under IDEA, and the Cogswell-Macy Act will provide guidance to states as to how to tailor individualized education to these students, particularly in the areas of language and communication,” said Sandra Edwards, President of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) and Superintendent of the Mississippi School for the Deaf.

“We are thrilled that the Cogswell-Macy Act will be introduced in the Senate and thank Senator Markey for his leadership and passion,” said Dave Power, President and CEO of Perkins School for the Blind. “Perkins has been a fierce advocate in ensuring that blind, visually-impaired, and deafblind students have access to the highest quality services here in Massachusetts and nationally. Their ability to fulfill their unique potential requires the strongest possible IDEA and our ongoing commitment to seeing its execution.”

“When it becomes the law of the land, the Cogswell-Macy Act will empower students who are deafblind to succeed in the 21st century American classroom,”said Mussie Gebre, President of DeafBlind Citizens in Action (DBCA). “As deafblind people speaking for ourselves, we in DBCA know from personal experience how providing interveners, qualified teachers, and the whole range of instructional services and supports today will make it possible tomorrow for society to fully benefit from the brain power and drive that our community has to offer.”