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As we approach the midpoint of this year’s regular session I’d like to update progress we’re making on several issues of local interest. As always, I welcome comments, questions and suggestions about state government matters. Please use the information above to contact my Capitol office.
Working for Expanded Access to Preschool Education
I was pleased last week when the Education Committee approved our bill to phase-in early childhood education for all pre-kindergarten students in priority school districts in Connecticut. The bill maps out strategies and goals for each of the next five years toward that end.
There is no debate any longer about the beneficial effects of a formal learning environment for young children. Studies reinforce how those with preschool experience are better prepared to learn and more readily integrated into kindergarten. Now our legislative initiative to provide that advantage for more children has some momentum.
Our bill will next be considered by the legislature’s Appropriations Committee.
IEP Protocol and Special Education Assistance
Another bill advancing through the legislative process would streamline the manner in which Individualized Education Programs (IEP) are administered for students with special needs. I recently co-chaired a task force and learned many ways in which this essential aspect of public education might be improved.
Local school districts have a responsibility to make IEPs available to students who have trouble learning for any one of a number of identified reasons. This bill would ensure comprehensive training for teachers involved with IEPs, adequate communication between students, parents, teachers, specialists and administrators, and the provision that special education funding ‘follow the child’ should he or she be enrolled in a different school district.
One particularly important aspect of this bill is inclusion of special services for hearing-impaired children, who must not be allowed to fall behind because of a disability that contributes to incomplete classroom lessons or missed instructions.
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