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Hon. J. Dennis Hastert House Speaker

Hon. Nancy Pelosi Democratic Leader

235 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

2371 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 -0508

PRESIDENT Bettina B. Plevan Tel: (212) 382-6700 Fax: (212) 768-8116 bplevan@nycbar.org www.nycbar.org

September 28, 2005

Dear Speaker Hastert and Democratic Leader Pelosi:

I am writing on behalf of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (the “Association”). The Association urges you to oppose any proposed legislation that would grant the Secretary of Education broad waiver authority of McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act requirements in schools accepting children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Waiving these requirements would undermine a law that protects our most vulnerable students at a time when the need for such protection is especially critical.

The Association is a professional organization of more than 22,000 attorneys in private practice, public service and academia, principally from New York City. It was founded in 1870 with the view that a professional association of attorneys could and should provide a positive voice in the life of the community. From its outset, the Association has been active in local, state, and federal public affairs.

The Association has had a long history of supporting the rights, liberties and educational and economic opportunities of all Americans, beginning with the Association’s founding, for the purpose of combating corruption, and continuing to the current day. In the specific context of displaced students, this commitment is in part exemplified by the fact that one of the Association’s standing committees is the Committee on Education and the Law.

Students who are victims of Hurricane Katrina currently derive substantial benefits from the McKinney-Vento Act, which provides critical protections for school- age children experiencing homelessness. Among those protections are: immediate school enrollment; the right to benefit from the normalcy, structure, and resources of a mainstream school environment; access to the same educational programming as other children; the opportunity to maintain school stability despite residential moves; coordination of supportive and academic services; and referrals for health, mental health, housing, and other supports.

The Association of the Bar of the City of New York 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036-6689 www.nycbar.org

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