Skip to Content

Press Releases

Rep. Molinaro Bill to Help Students with Disabilities Succeed in School Advances to House Floor

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19) today announced the Think DIFFERENTLY About Education Act was voted out of the House Committee on Education & Workforce and will advance to the House Floor. Rep. Molinaro introduced this bipartisan bill alongside U.S. Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY-04), and Mike Lawler (R-NY-17). This bill builds on Rep. Molinaro’s ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ initiative to provide resources to individuals with disabilities and their families.  

In an annual IEP meeting, school staff and parents of a child with a disability meet to develop an educational plan for the student. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, parents have the right to bring a third-party advocate, such as a therapist, lawyer, or knowledgeable family member, to these meetings. However, most parents are not aware of this right. The Think DIFFERENTLY About Education Act requires K-12 schools to inform parents of their right to bring an advocate to individualized education program (IEP) meetings. 

Rep. Molinaro said, “I am excited to announce progress is being made to ensure every student of every ability has the opportunities and resources to succeed in school. Having attended IEP meetings with my family, I understand how daunting and confusing an experience it can be. My bipartisan bill will help guide and empower families through this journey.”  

Lauren Morando Rhim, Executive Director at Center for Learner Equity said, “The Think Differently About Education Act (HR 4259) clarifies a key component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) whereby parents may bring any individual with knowledge or special expertise regarding their child to attend the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. We commend Representative Molinaro for his commitment to ensuring that schools and districts do not deny parents the opportunity to invite additional voices into the discussions regarding the educational needs of children with disabilities."

Denise Marshall, CEO of The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates said, "The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) thanks Representative Molinaro for his leadership on behalf of students with disabilities through introduction and mark-up of The Think Differently About Education Act. This bill would require districts to inform parents of their existing right to bring any individual into a child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting where key decisions are made that impact the child's education. We look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Molinaro in promoting and protecting the rights of children with disabilities."