Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Special ed parents to rally on furloughs

by Larry Geller

Special ed parents are planning a rally/meeting on Thursday evening to protest Furlough Fridays. The cuts are bad enough for any student, but for special ed students, eliminating those Fridays will violate many of the agreed IEPs (Individual Education Plans) which bind the school to provide certain instruction and services. That’s against federal law. And that means that special ed parents may have special powers to stop the furloughs.

For any student in Hawaii, cutting class hours further is bad news.

One parent has calculated that at her student’s school there will be only eight (8) full days of instruction in the month of December, plus three (3) partial days (days when the kids will be sent home at 1 p.m.). Actually… October is not much better. According to the same parent’s calculations, her school will have only eight full days of instruction this month and five early release days. November is slightly better: Thirteen instruction days plus five early release days.

The furlough days are clearly damaging an already weak educational system. Kiss “high tech Hawaii” goodbye, what talented technical person would want to move her/his family here where kids can’t get a decent public education?

Sure, with eight full days of instruction in December one can learn all that’s necessary for a job sweeping floors or making beds in a hotel.

We owe our children better than that.

Why look at special ed in particular? There is the federal law that protects their programs, the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Regular ed students may not have a way to challenge the furloughs, but special needs parents might have that power.

If you know any parents of special needs students, perhaps you could spread the word about this meeting.

From the announcement:

                              SPREAD THE WORD:

                                  EDUCATION LAW

                       Say "NO" to the Friday Furloughs

                     WHAT'S A PARENT TO DO WITHIN A WEEK??

(before services are cut off effective October 23rd, what is "stay put"?)

                            Hear your options

                                 at the
                              State Capitol
                         Chambers Level Auditorium

                           Thursday, October 15th

                                   7 to 8 pm

                             Lite refreshments

                           Contact: Naomi Grossman

See also this article in today’s Advertiser.


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