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OPPOSE Louisiana SB 1015

Friday, May 16, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall
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Action Alert – Tell the Louisiana Senate Education Committee to OPPOSE SB 1015!


(Please share this alert far and wide!)

ISSUE:  The Louisiana House of Representatives passed HB 1015 on April 29, 2014.  The bill would eliminate all accountability for students with disabilities and significantly alter their access to a regular high school diploma.  Now, it goes to the Senate and HB/SB 1015 distinctly alters accountability for students with disabilities in three ways.  It would:

1.               Eliminate all state high school graduation requirements for students with disabilities, authorizing the student’s IEP team to subjectively determine the student’s potential and substitute requirements.

2.               Authorize a student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team to dictate all decisions regarding whether every student with a disability can progress from grade to grade.

3.               Remove ALL accountability requirements for ALL students with disabilities. By doing so, Louisiana would treat students with disabilities differently than their peers, solely on the basis of their disability; making them invisible in state, district and school accountability systems and violating their civil rights.

 

BACKGROUND

The bill (now SB 1015) is going to be discussed and voted upon on May 22, 2014 in the Senate Education Committee.  COPAA has a longstanding history of supporting accountability for students with disabilities as part of any state accountability system.  Therefore, the rights afforded students under IDEA, ESEA, Section 504 and the ADA must not be compromised in such a way that students with disabilities would be treated differently than all other students. 

Proponents of the proposed bill indicate that due to the overall low achievement and performance of students with disabilities toward state standards and graduation with a regular diploma, that the answer is to create a separate path to a regular diploma that would allow every student with a disability to receive one at the of their high school career.  They are supporting HB1015/SB1015 by Representative John Schroder and Senator Dan Claitor which will allow IEP teams to determine whether a child’s score on a standardized test should be used to decide whether the student is promoted to the next grade and/or graduate.  Essentially, students with disabilities will not be expected nor required to meet grade level standards or benchmarks according to the same criteria as their peers.

To read the bill and/or view the testimony provided to the Louisiana State House Education Committee on April 29, visit http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Video/2014/Apr2014.htm

See COPAA Letter of Opposition

ACT NOW
:  It is essential that COPAA members write a letter to the Senate Education Committee to ask them to OPPOSE SB105 and fight any effort to lower expectations for the 70,000 students with disabilities in Louisiana

 
WHY SHOULD I IF I DON’T LIVE IN LOUISIANA?

Parents and advocates nationwide have fought for over forty years to help guarantee that students with disabilities’ potential not be overlooked, undermined or diminished.  Passing a bill in LA would in effect write off the future for over 70,000 students in that state and sets a dangerous precedent.


Suggested comments could include:

"I’m writing to urge you to oppose SB 1015 The bill conflicts with federal law and would violate the civil rights of children with disabilities in Louisiana by:

1.   Eliminating all state high school graduation requirements for students with disabilities, authorizing the student’s IEP team to subjectively determine the student’s potential and substitute requirements.

2.   Authorizing a student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team to dictate all decisions regarding whether every student with a disability can progress from grade to grade.

3.   Removing ALL accountability requirements for ALL students with disabilities. By doing so, Louisiana would treat students with disabilities differently than their peers, solely on the basis of their disability; making them invisible in state, district and school accountability systems and violating their civil rights in the following ways:

a.       Denying their right to participate and have access to the general curriculum under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

b.      Denying their right to comparable [aids and] benefits under the IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

c.       Denying their right to not be discriminated against under the IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA.



SB 1015
flagrantly disregards the rights of students with disabilities and disrespects their opportunity to achieve meaningful academic, social and emotional outcomes alongside their peers, through access to a regular high school diploma.  Avoiding accountability, lowering expectations, and providing a piece of paper called a diploma without assuring the student receives a meaningful education is not acceptable.

Parents and advocates nationwide have fought for over forty years to help guarantee that students with disabilities’ potential not be overlooked, undermined or diminished.  Supporting this bill would in effect write off the future for over 70,000 students in your state. Therefore, I ask that you VOTE NO on SB 1015 and give every student a real chance to succeed.    

Send Correspondence to:

John White, Superintendent
john.white@la.gov

  

Rep. John M. Schroder, Sr.

schrodej@legis.la.gov 


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