In a stunning announcement that came out today, the United States Department of Education has decided to take away state rights in regards to curriculum and state assessments for special needs students. Without any legislative approval, Arne Duncan has taken it upon himself to invalidate years of IDEA law and special education regulations. This news broke today from this blog:
And here is the new ruling:
Here’s what you need to do: email AND call your state senator and state representative in the US Congress.
For Delaware citizens, here are our representatives in Congress and how to contact them:
I would also email John Kline, the head of the Education and Workforce Committee in Washington D.C. at this address and let him know Congress needs to stop this NOW!!!! The ruling states this is to go in effect January 1st, 2015.
This is tantamount to war on special education in America. I called this months ago, and now it is out there. This is the same man who thrust Common Core on all schools and dangles carrots with the ESEA waivers constantly. The man who believes every student, even those with a disability, should have a baccalaureate education and rigor should be used daily.
For residents of Delaware, your Governor Markell helped with this. With his powerful backing from Dr. Paul Herdman and Rodel, our children’s special education rights are GONE if this goes through. We all need to take a stand, every single one of us. If you sit back and do nothing, your child WILL suffer.
I just found an excellent letter to send. Thanks to Stacey Kahn from the Facebook group NYS Special Needs Parents Against Common Core for allowing me to repost it here!
Parents and teachers the time has come. As we all knew, the United States Department of Education, as directed by Arne Duncan, has decided to attempt to override special education and the laws that protect our most vulnerable students. The rights and rules both we and our own parents fought so hard for are being dismantled by the US Department of Education to pave the way for the inappropriate rigor of common core. If we do not speak out against this newest injustice, special education as we know it will dissolve.
Please take a few moments to contact your legislators through pen, phone, or email. Let them know they must get involved. The USDOE has gone too far. The same people who seem to put profits before people have again trampled the rights of students who struggle enough. Common core is enough of an injustice. To remove state authority to assist our special needs students is the final straw.
Attached is a letter template for your use. Feel free to add your own thoughts, the more personal the better. Let these legislators know your special needs children are worthy of a fair and appropriate education that isn’t driven by corporate gain and workforce readiness. All students are unique. The one size fits all mentality of common core has come to the head we knew it would. Please let your representatives know this is the time they must get involved, these children don’t get a second chance to be treated with respect, equity, and compassion.
For your immediate attention (insert title and last name here):
We as parents, educators and citizens of the United States, are contacting you because it has come to our attention that there is a real and imminent threat to the states’ sovereignty with regards to education, and more importantly, to its most vulnerable citizens.
Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education has submitted a proposal to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Directly from the proposal is the following:
“The Secretary will amend the regulations governing title I, part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), to phase out the authority of States to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments based on those modified academic achievement standards in order to satisfy ESEA accountability requirements. These amendments will permit, as a transitional measure, States that meet certain criteria to continue to administer alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards and include the results in accountability determinations, subject to limitations on the number of proficient scores that may be counted, for a limited period of time.”
If this amendment is passed, it will signal the end of special education as we know it in this country’s public education system. Secretary Duncan has already stated that he feels that students with disabilities can and should be held to the same “rigorous” Common Core State Standards, as their fellow neuro-typical classmates. To give him the power to supersede the states regulations regarding allowable modifications and/or alternate assessments for these students sets a dangerous precedent.
Secretary Duncan has already weakened the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).If allowed to proceed with this amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act is in jeopardy as well. None of these changes were ever voted on by any legislative body.
Our states are losing their sovereignty in education on an almost daily basis. How much more are we as states and as citizens willing to hand over to the Federal Government?
We need our legislators to stand up and say enough is enough. We are a bipartisan group of citizens. Please put political parties aside and do what is best for our children and our country. We are counting on you!