Friday, July 20, 2018

 

Video of parent protest should spur review of former Congressman/current candidate Ed Case’s record


by Larry Geller

It may be true: voters have notoriously short memories. But not all of us.

A recent Star-Advertiser story put Hawaii Congressional District 1 candidate Ed Case in the lead with 36% of likely voters expected to choose him if the election were to be held today. But do those expected voters remember how Case performed when he served in Congress years ago?

Below is a video that could help refresh voter memories, and perhaps inspire a review of the fiscally-conservative Democrat’s ability to represent voters in the district.

Case is the only candidate in this race that has a Congressional voting record. But he entered the race late—pulling papers just a day before the filing deadline. The primary is August 11, with mail-in voting taking place earlier. His late entry gives voters only a short time to review his record.

Case said his years on Capitol Hill give him the advantage.

"I think voters remember my record, mostly they remember it favorably and I think they know what my leadership has been in Congress and in the state for many years,” Case said.

[Hawaii News Now, Ed Case joins crowded race for Congress, but some see him as a front-runner, 6/5/2018]

How many voters will actually do the research? Very few. It will be up to reporters to dig if they wish and remind us (hint).

“Case Amendment” leads to nationwide protests

One specific action that put Case in the national spotlight was his introduction of the so-called "Case Amendment" to the re-authorization bill for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The amendment threatened the education of students across the country and led to widespread protests.

It was Hawaii's school superintendent Pat Hamamoto who suggested that Case put in his amendment. It was simple and nefarious in its potential to effectively deprive special education students of the services they require to benefit from public education. Hawaii was still in the throes of its then decade-long Felix Consent Decree which was costing its Department of Education dearly as it struggled to conform to court orders requiring the state to follow state and federal laws protecting special-education students.

The amendment was fiendishly clever. If it had become part of the re-authorization of the IDEA, it would have neutered not only the Felix Consent Decree and given the finger to Judge David Ezra, but would have stripped families nationwide of their ability to protect students’ rights.

The amendment provided that attorneys’ fees for successful litigants in special-ed cases be awarded not by courts as in every other civil case, but by the usual defendant, the state governor.

Special ed cases are often very complex and require attorneys with special knowledge and the willingness to take on well-financed opposing counsel. Had the Case Amendment become law it would have discouraged attorneys from taking special education cases. Parents of special ed students who do not have attorneys seldom prevail in court or at due process hearings. Regardless of the law, parents would be unable to enforce violations.

Schools, school districts and state governments saw a way to evade the costs of providing for the needs of these children and supported the amendment with their full economic force. Parents protested at the grassroots level.

It took a long time before the amendment ultimately failed.

As far as I know, this video is the only record of a protest held in Honolulu. It took place on April 23, 2003.




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