Monday, February 08, 2016
Dirty tricks continue in Hawaii state House of Representatives—a bad DOE bill tries to sneak through
by Larry Geller
Several parents have detected that a bill that could negatively affect hundreds of special needs students has been snuck into the Legislature without public notice on Friday. It’s a classic “gut and replace” move by our state legislators. And the bill is to be heard this afternoon.
HB868 looks innocent enough, even admirable:
Requires BOE to annually re-establish statewide performance standards, and the means to assess the standards, based upon multiple forms of assessment.
This is the kind of change that one might happily support.
But the bill to be heard this afternoon at 2 pm is not that bill. The House Committee on Education (Rep. Roy Takumi, Chair) has gutted that bill and replaced it with this one. The purpose of the revision is not stated on the Capitol web page, which remains as above. The new purpose is:
Allows certain individuals to engage in the practice of behavior analysis when this practice is done in a public educational setting; provided that the individual cannot use any title or description stating or implying that the individual is a "licensed behavior analyst" or "behavior analyst" without holding a license.
Essentially, this new bill would allow almost anyone—with no requirement for professional training—to create remedial programs to be included in the IEP of special needs children.
There is a reason why “licensed behavior analysts” are required to develop these programs. Done right, they can be beneficial, done wrong, very damaging to a student’s ability to learn.
This is just the latest example of the Department of Education attempting to shortchange Hawaii’s special needs students. The Legislature makes it possible by permitting “gut and replace” deceptions.
If you have a moment, even though it would be late testimony, please consider sending something to the Committee opposing this bill. Just go to the bill page and click the blue “Submit Testimony” button to begin the process.