Updates of recent BESE and the MFP Task Force meetings. 


Thank you to the parents who put on their purple shirts and joined us at BESE October 15-16th and the MFP Task Force meeting October 21st! 
BESE Update
Highlights of some issues specific to students with disabilities discussed by BESE include:
1. Common Core - There was over 4 hours of public comment on the Common Core State Standards.  Liz Gary, LaTEACH member, Partners in Policy Coordinator and parent, shared her concerns about the lack of support and training on strategies to teach the new standards for teachers of students with disabilities.  Ms. Gary's comments prompted BESE member Jim Garvey to ask several teachers who spoke in support of the standards whether they taught students with disabilities.  Discussions with other parents indicate a need for more teacher support and assistance in meeting the individualized needs of children with disabilities while teaching the new academic standards to everyone.
2. Act 151 of the 2013 Legislative session enables students with disabilities in high school who are not pursuing a diploma to be exempted from taking End-of-Course tests and the American College Test (ACT).  It is not clear whether this applies only to students with the most significant disabilities (i.e., students participating in LAA1) or other students who are not listed as pursuing a diploma.  The Department of Education again stated they will issue guidance to districts on which students are exempt from taking assessments.  There has not been any guidance issued yet.
3. Alternative Schools - BESE was asked to consider reviewing the school performance formula so it does not encourage school systems to segregate students in alternative schools or programs.
4. Rebecca Ellis, LaTEACH member and parent, read her letter titled "Is anyone listening?" which raises the important question of how IEPs and non academic goals of our students with disabilities are being worked on and valued when teachers are being asked to educate students to a whole new level of standards.
MFP Task Force Update

The MFP Task Force met Monday, October 21st, for the fourth time.  This Task Force will decide on recommendations for the education funding formula in December.  Discussions indicate the Task Force may only make minor tweaks to the existing formula and perhaps suggest further study to make larger scale changes. 


One parental concern that does seem to have the support of the Task Force is making the funding formula the same for traditional and charter schools.  This will reduce incentives for some schools to not serve students with disabilities and better enable funding to actually follow the student if they leave the traditional school system. 


Parents were disappointed that a few items of concern that had been expressed at previous meetings by multiple parents were not on the list of items that seemed to have consensus.  These include avoiding linking the funding formula to:


1. Performance on standardized tests;

2. Placement decisions; or,

3. Disability classification (or category).


A parent expressed great concern that the Task Force appears to continue considering using these on how funding will be distributed to support the needs of students with disabilities.

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