The Delaware Department of Education released (finally) the Delaware Special Education Strategic Plan. It will be available for public comment until June 5th. I strongly encourage all parents of special needs children in Delaware to very carefully go through every single line of this plan. I will be doing the same on this blog from now until then and I will be putting my breakdown into public comment form for the plan as well. I do want to thank the very hard work of the Special Education Strategic Planning Group who spent many hours and days, volunteer I may add, to work on this plan. The group consisted of 24 Delawareans, a moderator, and various employees of the Delaware Dept. of Education. As well, former Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky as well as current Secretary, Dr. Susan Bunting, provided support for the plan. I would especially like to thank State Rep. Kim Williams and Dr. Michele Marinucci, the Special Education Coordinator for the Woodbridge School District, for getting this large group of people together during a time when it could have been completely different (and not to the benefit of students with disabilities).
At first glance, I see both positive and negative things in the plan. It isn’t going to please everyone. But it is a start and more than we had before. This isn’t a time to throw stones, but it is a time to let your thoughts be known. Public comment for this plan is as follows, as per the Delaware DOE:
Public comment for this document can be sent to email@example.com. Public comments can also be mailed to:
Special Education Officer for Strategic Planning and Evaluation
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street Suite 2
Dover, Delaware 19901
For decades, special education has been the law of the land in Delaware and the United States. In Delaware, our state funds special education services for all students except basic services for those in Kindergarten to 3rd grade. This is when children developing disabilities need those services the most. Our state relies on a program called Response to Intervention which can not cure a disability. Special education can’t either, but it give those children the individual resources and goals to help them succeed in education. It is an absolute travesty that our state does not fund these students.
The Delaware Joint Finance Committee submits the final budget to the House and Senate for a vote in the final days of June. This funding MUST be included in that final budget. For far too long, students have either been denied special education services or local school districts have to make up the difference with what the state won’t provide. We have a state that talks the talk about equity but when it is time to walk the walk, we still have this.
Please join the letter-writing campaign to our JFC to ensure students with disabilities get their fair shake. Please follow the link below and make this happen! This is not the same campaign from March where letters were sent to Governor Carney. This is for the Joint Finance Committee! A big huge thank you to Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams for her fierce advocacy on this issue! If you are a parent, student, teacher, educator, administrator, state employee, or citizen of this state, we all recognize this is a tight budget this year. But we must make this happen to make sure the students with the most needs are given a fair shot!