Congresswoman supports special education

State Representative Missouri 91 District Sarah Unsicker was re-elected to office on Nov. 6, after serving one term. Photo from house.mo.gov

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), first passed in 1975, according to Understood.org, is a federal law that “requires schools to serve the needs of eligible students with disabilities.”

Over the years, there have been cases in which the application of IDEA by schools has fallen short. One such case was worked through this year in Southwest Missouri.

According to an article in the Joplin Globe, the Bronaugh school district in Bronaugh, MO, was “found to be out of compliance with federal laws.” Out of three allegations made by a district parent, Michael Milliman, Sr., who believed that he and his son, Michael Milliman, Jr.,  were being underserved by the school district, two were validated by an investigation.

On Nov. 25, representative Sarah Unsicker responded to the above article in a thread on Twitter.

Unsicker said, “The law promises a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities. [Missouri Legislation] needs to address this with appropriate funding and policy measures.”

One of the problems stated in the article was the school’s inadequate funding.

Unsicker said, “The Federal government provides insufficient funding for special education and needs to do better at funding services… School districts need adequate state and local funding so that federal money received can go toward special education… There need not to be high bureaucratic hurdles to [apply] for that funding.”

In addition, Unsicker discussed policy changes.

Unsicker said, “DESE (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) needs to make abundantly clear that schools must follow federal IDEA law. There need to be consequences for schools that do not.”

“[Missouri legislature] must make clear that it supports the ideals of IDEA: equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency,” Unsicker said.

Special education teacher Emily McEntire said the Special School District (SSD) is able to get the necessary resources and curriculum. However, the Coffee Shop, opened 2015 is necessary to sponsor monthly outings.

McEntire also noted the importance of programs for adults with disabilities, stating the lack of federal funding for job searching and other programs.

Maeve Taylor – Podcast Editor

This is Maeve Taylor’s first year on the Echo. She made several contributions to the Echo while taking journalism her freshman year.


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