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 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!
One of the things I admire about State Rep. Kim Williams in the General Assembly is her strength amidst fellow legislators. I believe Kim puts forth legislation that will help the students of Delaware. While some may see her as one who opposes charters, that is not the case at all. She just wants equity. It is why she put forth the Enrollment Preference Task Force from House Bill 90 in the 147th General Assembly. It’s why she has legislation pending to finally fund basic special education students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade. It’s why she also put for House Bill 186, the charter school audit bill.
As I wrote in the following article yesterday, https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/dave-sokola-kicks-kim-williams-in-the-back-and-then-thrusts-the-knife-into-it/, it is obvious there are agendas afoot to stop Kim’s bill. The Delaware Charter Schools Network hates this bill. The cost isn’t anything that would force a charter school into bankruptcy. Maybe they won’t be able to buy a slide for a pool, or send their whole staff to dinner at a country club, but they can afford it. Don’t let the DCSN fool you! They are paid by the charters to protect them and to advocate for them, just as DSEA does for teachers. They have a lot of influence among the DOE, the State Board, and Rodel. In essence, they are lobbyists. Last year they started a massive letter writing campaign which I talked about in the above Sokola article. Turnaround is fair play, so another letter writing campaign in support of House Bill 186 started earlier today.
This bill actually does protect charter schools by helping to make sure the outright theft of school funds doesn’t go for personal use by corrupt employees, and those funds go to the classroom where they are needed most. I can’t for the life of me understand why Sokola and Jaques wouldn’t want that either. They will argue technicalities, but let’s be honest, they are protecting this bizarre charter school mentality where they don’t want to have the transparency they actually need to survive on a long-term basis. During discussion last spring for HB186, the State Auditor’s office told the House Education Committee the nature of the charter’s required yearly audits would not catch a lot of the financial malfeasance that went on at charters like Family Foundations Academy and Academy of Dover.
Please go to the letter writing campaign here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/support-hb-186?source=direct_link&referrer=hb-186
As of this writing, it states 162 letters have been sent. To clarify, that is 162 sets. Each Delaware Senator is receiving this letters and there are 21 Senators. That is 3, 402 letters that have gone out today! That is amazing!