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!
I received a letter from Governor Carney in my email today. So did over 900 other Delaware citizens. Two months ago, a push was made to send letters to Governor Carney concerning House Substitute 1 for House Bill 12. This is the pending legislation which would provide Basic Special Education Funding for students with disabilities in Kindergarten to 3rd grade. The state provides extra special education funding for all other students with disabilities who have an IEP, so why not these students who are just getting their start in elementary education?
For years, I have been advocating for this funding. So has Rep. Kim Williams. This is the second go-around with this legislation. House Bill 30, from the 148th General Assembly, sat around in the Appropriations Committee from early 2015 until June 30th, 2016 and died. I have yet to meet anyone who thinks this bill is a bad idea. I understand we have a deficit Governor Carney, but the purpose of state funding should have a top priority of those who need it the most. These students fit that criteria. Response to Intervention does not take care of these students’ needs, nor as it designed to. Please don’t perpetuate this myth. You did not include it in your proposed budget and I am calling foul on that oversight. I pray our elected officials in the General Assembly have the common sense to put children first when they approve the budget for Fiscal Year 2018. They are the future of Delaware.
The letter was dated March 7th, 2017, but I just received it today. I won’t bicker about that, but it is noteworthy. What I will mention is Governor Carney’s refusal to commit to this funding. I just don’t get it. It is a no-brainer and everyone knows it. Who is lobbying against this bill behind the scenes?
I can’t believe we have to beg for this. Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams organized a letter-writing campaign for House Bill 12 which would provide basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade. So far, 729 letters have been sent to Delaware Governor John Carney. Williams’ goal is 1,000. My goal? 10,000.
It is utterly ridiculous that these students do not get special education funding at the onset of their educational foundation. All this obscene lack of funding does is set up failure. This is the cardinal sin in education: failure equals more money for corporations to come in and “fix” education. It also helps with future lawsuits and students getting behind the 8-ball from the very beginning. It is stupid and immoral. Yes, Delaware has a $385 million dollar deficit. We get it Governor Carney. But you need to make this happen. We hear the talk about students becoming college and career ready. How about making these students with disabilities elementary school ready? I see all this money getting dumped into early childhood education, which I am sure is needed. But you can’t pump them up and pull the football away when they get into elementary school. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose for nearly 20% of Delaware students?
Thank you to all who have signed this letter which can be found here. If you haven’t signed it yet, let’s make Governor Carney’s office very busy today!
Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams just announced on Facebook that House Bill 30 was released from the House Appropriations Committee. This is excellent news, and I pray this leads to positive action on the legislation by the Delaware House and Senate. House Bill 30 would give what is considered Basic Special Education funding for Delaware students in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade. Currently, this funding is not given to students in this category, but it is for students considered “intense” or “complex”. Students currently under the basic designation in 4th to 12th grade do receive this funding. It has been like this since 2011.
Introduced about a year and a half ago, the bill sailed through the House Education Committee but was sitting in a “sent to appropriations” status for well over 15 months. Advocates for special education, including myself, have pointed out this extreme inequity in education funding for years. This is a very positive step forward in correcting this inequity.
I will certainly let readers know the second the next action occurs with this legislation.