The Delaware General Assembly returns for their 150th gig on Tuesday, January 8th. But a slew of pre-filed legislation came out today including a few education bills. These are interesting bills to say the least!
HOUSE BILL #19
Sponsored by State Rep. Earl Jaques and Senator Nicole Poore
“This Act seeks to ensure that every public school in the State has a school nurse. This Act provides a mechanism to allow a district or a charter school that currently does not have a school nurse to receive State funds. This Act also permits a district to levy a tax under § 1902(b), Title 14, known as a “match tax”, to assist those districts that hire a school nurse as a result of this Act to pay for the local share of that school nurse.”
My take: Yes, ALL schools should have a school nurse. I am shocked they don’t already. Please share with me which schools don’t! I have often wondered why the Department of Health doesn’t chip in for school nurses though. They are basically the first medical person in a state agency (public schools).
HOUSE BILL #21
Sponsored by State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King, State Rep. Ed Osienski, and Senator Cathy Cloutier
“The language set forth in this statute would remove barriers for inmates who are students with disabilities and who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) under state and federal law, when being considered for parole or a sentence modification. Requiring an inmate with an IEP to complete a GED or State of Delaware High School Diploma is counter-productive to the treatment and programming of this segment of the prison population and prohibits them from seeking the same benefits of parole or sentence modification afforded to those inmates who do not have an IEP. This amendment to the law allows an inmate the opportunity to earn a State of Delaware Diploma of Alternate Achievement Standards upon successful completion of the inmate’s IEP.”
My take: The students who would qualify for a Diploma of Alternate Achievement Standards is a very small population of students. These are the students with cognitive and physical disabilities. Not every prisoner with an IEP would fit that standard. Should a student who happens to be a prisoner have an IEP for dyslexia be able to get the modified diploma? My thought is no. If they were in high school they would earn a regular diploma. Why shouldn’t they in prison?
HOUSE BILL #22
Sponsored by State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King and Senator Brian Pettyjohn
“This bill is a companion bill to House Bill No. 21 and provides the authority for the Department of Education to prescribe the rules and regulations necessary to implement the prison education program which provides educational services to the Department of Correction.”
My take: I always have an issue with the Delaware Department of Education being given any more control over education than they already have. Often the “rules and regulations” are based on what the DOE wants and not always what is good for students. This is a whole other can of worms to talk about so I won’t go into great detail about why I don’t trust the DOE. You can just read this entire blog for that reason!
In other edupolitical news, the General Assembly STILL has not announced who is sitting on the various committees in the House and Senate. I am particularly curious about the education committees. I’m fairly sure we will still have Earl Jaques as Chair of House Education and David Sokola as Chair of Senate Education. I guess we will find out soon enough!