By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and
the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. The education of all children, regardless
of background or disability, while chiefly a State and local responsibility,
must always be a national priority. One of the most important goals
of my Administration is to support States and local communities in creating
and maintaining a system of public education where no child is left
behind. Unfortunately, among those at greatest risk of being left behind
are children with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA) is a landmark statute that asserts the rights of all children
with disabilities to a free, appropriate public education. My Administration
strongly supports the principles embodied in the IDEA and the goal of
providing special education and related services to children with disabilities
so that they can meet high academic standards and participate fully
in American society. It is imperative that special education operate
as an integral part of a system that expects high achievement of all
children, rather than as a means of avoiding accountability for children
who are more challenging to educate or who have fallen behind.
Sec. 2. Establishment. There is established a President's Commission
on Excellence in Special Education (the ``Commission''). The Commission
shall be composed of not more than 19 members to be appointed by the
President from the public and private sectors, as well as up to 5 ex
officio members from the Departments of Education and Health and Human
Services. The members may include current and former Federal, State,
and local government officials, recognized special education experts,
special and general education finance experts, education researchers,
educational practitioners, parents of children or young adults with
disabilities, persons with disabilities, and others with special experience
and expertise in the education of children with disabilities. The President
shall designate a Chairperson from among the members of the Commission.
The Secretary of Education shall select an Executive Director for the
Sec. 3. Duties and Commission Report.
(a) The Commission shall collect information and study issues related
to Federal, State, and local special education programs with the goal
of recommending policies for improving the educational performance
of students with disabilities. In furtherance of its duties, the Commission
shall invite experts and members of the public to provide information
(b) Not later than April 30, 2002, the Commission shall prepare and
submit a report to the President outlining its findings and recommendations.
The report shall include, but need not be limited to:
(1) An examination of available research and information on the
effectiveness and cost of special education and the appropriate
role of the Federal Government in special education programming
and funding. The examination shall include an analysis of the factors
that have contributed to the growth in costs of special education
since the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children
Act (a predecessor of IDEA);
(2) Recommendations regarding how Federal resources can best be
used to improve educational results for students with disabilities;
(3) A recommended special education research agenda;
(4) An analysis of the impact of providing appropriate early intervention
in reading instruction on the referral and identification of children
for special education;
(5) An analysis of the effect of special education funding on decisions
to serve, place, or refer children for special education services
and recommendations for alternative funding formulae that might
distribute funds to achieve better results and eliminate any current
incentives that undermine the goals of ensuring that children with
disabilities receive a high-quality education;
(6) An analysis of, and recommendations regarding, how the Federal
Government can help States and local education agencies provide
a high-quality education to students with disabilities, including
the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel and the inclusion
of children with disabilities in performance and accountability
(7) An analysis of the impact of Federal and State statutory, regulatory,
and administrative requirements on the cost and effectiveness of
special education services, and how these requirements support or
hinder the educational achievement of students with disabilities;
(8) An assessment of how differences in local educational agency
size, location, demographics, and wealth, and in State law and practice
affect which children are referred to special education, and the
cost of special education; and
(9) A review of the experiences of State and local governments
in financing special education, and an analysis of whether changes
to the Federal ``supplement not supplant'' and ``maintenance of
effort'' requirements are appropriate.
Sec. 4. Administration, Compensation, and Termination.
(a) The Department of Education shall, to the extent permitted by
law, provide administrative support and funding for the Commission.
In addition, appropriate Federal agencies may designate staff to assist
with the work of the Commission. To the extent permitted by law, Federal
Government employees may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement
to the Federal agency.
(b) Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation but,
while engaged in the work of the Commission, members appointed from
among private citizens of the United States shall be allowed travel
expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized
by law for persons serving intermittently in the government service
(5 U.S.C. 5701-5707), to the extent funds are available for such purposes.
(c) The functions of the President under the Federal Advisory Committee
Act that are applicable to the Commission, except that of reporting
to the Congress, shall be performed by the Department of Education
in accordance with the guidelines that have been issued by the Administrator
of General Services.
(d) The Chairperson may from time to time prescribe such rules, procedures,
and policies relating to the activities of the Commission as are not
inconsistent with law or with the provisions of this order.
(e) The Commission shall terminate 30 days after submitting its final
report, unless extended by the President.
/s/George W. Bush
THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 30, 2001.