If the last few days are any indication, it promises to be a busy season for the General Assembly, particularly at the Committee on Education. Multiple bills have been raised in both the Senate and the House pertaining to education of school-age children, and most of these have been referred to the Education committee. While by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few of the more interesting bills submitted to the committee or raised by the committee so far this session:
- Proposed Bill (House) 5360, introduced by Representative Mushinsky of the 85th District, proposes that the Connecticut General Statutes be amended so that the State will take over the provision of special education from the municipalities to provide for a uniform standard of education for special needs children.
- Several bills have been referred to the Committee on Education on the subject of special education funding, among them Proposed Bills (House) 5366, 5367, 5369, 5376, 5377, 5386, and (Senate) 231, most of which propose to lower the cap on funding for special education excess costs to either 3 times or 2.5 times the per pupil expenditure, and some of which propose removing the cap on excess costs to fully fund the excess costs of providing special education services.
- Proposed Bill 5372 (Davis, Dist. 117 and Boukus, Dist. 22) would provide a 2% increase in education grants to pay for the mandatory in-school suspension “or other education mandates”.
- Proposed Bill 5373 (Dillon, Dist. 92) would appropriate 2 million dollars to the Department of Education to provide grants for after school programs.
- Raised Bill 406 would require every board of education to supply a copy of the Constitution and a copy of the Declaration of Independence for each school in the district to be displayed on every day that school is in session.
- Raised Bill 5595, An Act Concerning Genocide Awareness Education, would require the State Board of Education to provide curriculum materials to local school districts to assist them in teaching about genocide, including the scope and consequences of genocide (in addition to the already required Holocaust education, Great Famine in Ireland, African American history, Puerto Rican history, Native American history, and personal financial management).
- Raised Bill 5592 provides for the issuance of a temporary 90-day certificate to be issued by the State Board of Education in the area of early childhood education, which had apparently been omitted from the list of permissible 90-day certificates in the past.
- Raised Bill 5591, An Act Concerning Healthy Teens, would cause the Department of Education to establish a healthy teens education grant program to allow local school districts to provide “medically accurate health education” that follows curriculum guides developed by the State, and provides an appropriation of 1 million dollars for this purpose.
- Raised Bill 5590, An Act Concerning Special Education and Instructional Methods Concerning Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, would require the Commissioner of Education to incorporate methods of teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities into programs for teacher preparation, requirements for the intitial educator or provisional educator certificate, in-service training for certified staff, and training provided to paraprofessionals. This training would include characteristics of autism and developmental disabilities, curriculum planning, instructional modifications, adaptations, and specialized techniques, assistive technology, and inclusive educational practices.
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