Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The "Choice Act" isn't really about "Choice".
Please call your representative and ask him/her to vote NO on U.S. House Bill 610 (HR 610) introduced by three Republican reps.
This bill will effectively start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5-17, and starts the defunding process of public schools. In addition the bill will eliminate the Elementary and Education Act of 1965 (ESSA), which is the nation's educational law and provides equal opportunity in education. ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance and Federal Accountability Programs.
Let me be clear, I am not categorically against Charter schools, I have worked in some truely remarkable charters. But I am categorically against charter, private, and home schools replacing public education.
The Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch.
The bill has no wording whatsoever protecting Special Needs kids, no mention of IDEA and FAPE.
Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities
-Ensures access to the general education curriculum.
-Ensures access to accommodations on assessments.
-Ensures concepts of Universal Design for Learning
-Includes provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based
interventions in schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.
-Requires states in Title I plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, overuse of discipline practices and reduce the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).
So as a stated above, time to make some calls! If you are uncertain who to call, you can find your Congress-person here.