Friday, December 2, 2016

Sen. Sessions once linked special education law to ‘decline in civility’ in classrooms - The Washington Post

Sen. Sessions once linked special education law to ‘decline in civility’ in classrooms - The Washington Post:

Sen. Sessions once linked special education law to ‘decline in civility’ in classrooms


Sen. Jeff Session, the Alabama Republican whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to be the next attorney general of the United States, once trashed a federal law that was passed to ensure students with disabilities have a free and appropriate public education.
Sessions, who had served as a U.S. attorney and as Alabama’s attorney general, attacked the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act, known as IDEA, saying, “In fact, it may be the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today,” he said in a 2000 speech on the floor of the Senate (see full text below). He read parts of letters he said he had received from teachers and said:
We have created a complex system of federal regulations and laws that have created lawsuit after lawsuit, special treatment for certain children, and that are a big factor in accelerating the decline in civility and discipline in classrooms all over America. I say that very sincerely.
Queries by email and phone about the senator’s current thoughts about IDEA were not answered. Sessions said in the speech that he did not want to end IDEA and noted that he had once taught — he was a Sunday school teacher at his family’s church in Mobile. But he also said:
There is no telling how many instructional hours are lost by teachers in dealing with behavior problems. In times of an increasingly competitive global society it is no wonder American students fall short. Certain children are allowed to remain in the classroom robbing the other children of hours that can never be replaced.
IDEA — first passed in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997 and 2004 — has a handful of central ideas in which students with disabilities are to be provided with:
  • Individual Education Programs (IEP) tailored to their needs.
  • A free and appropriate education.
  • An education in the least restrictive environment, meaning students who can attend mainstream classes with assistance should be enrolled in them.
  • Appropriate evaluation of children to determine their educational needs and associated services.
The law also calls for participation by parents and teachers in the individual students’ education plans, and it spells out a set of procedural safeguards that ensure families can review their Sen. Sessions once linked special education law to ‘decline in civility’ in classrooms - The Washington Post:
Big Education Ape: Historian Assesses Attorney General Nominee, Jeff Sessions’ Civil Rights Legacy | janresseger - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/11/historian-assesses-attorney-general.html

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