Committee recommends philosophy retention

The Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee, recommended there be no elimination, reorganization, or reduction of the philosophy program or major in a final report submitted to the Provost Monday afternoon.

The committee convened after Workgroup no.7, which looked at academic programs during the vitalization project, recommended several programs, including philosophy, for elimination or consolidation.

According to the EIU-UPI contract, the committee is required to make recommendations to the Provost concerning academic programs being considered for elimination or reorganization if it could result in the layoff of Unit A faculty.

In the committee’s final report, it cited that the philosophy department has netted a profit over the past five academic years.

Though philosophy saw a drop in enrollment like the university’s following the 2011-2012 academic year, the committee wrote in the report that total enrollment in the major, general education and service courses is relatively steady.

“Philosophy, as a program and discipline, is an integral part of a broad education and an essential part of developing critical thinkers and responsible citizens – all of which are embedded in EIU’s Mission and Undergraduate Learning Goals,” the committee wrote.

During the committee’s meetings, it found that the program is included in the curricula for nine minors and seven majors. These minors include neuroscience, pre-law studies, medieval studies, asian studies, religous studies, anthropology, women’s studies, criminology as well as the philosophy minor itself.

According to its report, faculty in philosophy have developed curricular proposals that will “strengthen and sustain philosophy and the numerous programs served by the department.”

To make its report, committee members reviewed information including data on majors, credit hours and full time equivalent, program profit and loss statements,major assessment profiles, affected course offerings, dean and program comments to Workgroup no.7’s recommendations and Workgroup no.7’s worksheets and annotations.

The committee also spoke with EIU-UPI leadership and faculty members from the philosophy program. In addition, they used updated profit and loss statements given to them by the administration.

The News staff can be reached at 581-2812 or

How Trump Can Use His Tax Cut To Drain The Federal Research Swamp

President Trump has made it reasonably clear that he is not concerned about the deficit, though he hasn’t gotten around yet to appropriating Ronald Reagan’s quip that the deficit is big enough to look after itself. As if thumbing his nose at the deficit, Trump plans to reduce the corporate income tax to 15 percent. The respected and nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimates that, even scored dynamically, the new rate will reduce federal revenue by $1.54 trillion over the next decade, or an average of about $154 billion each year. Even in Washington, that’s serious money.

Like the deficit, the corporate tax revenue shortfall also may be big enough to look after itself, but that’s no reason not to give it some help. And help is only a research grant—or 10,000 research grants—away. The federal government gave out an estimated $147 billion in research grants in 2016: $79 billion for defense, $68 billion for non-defense.

So let’s just cancel all the research grants. The net loss to the federal treasury from the corporate tax cut becomes manageable. Corporations can spend however much of their tax savings on research they want to, and in whatever ways they deem useful.

Research Grants Don’t Usually Create Quality Research

Defense mavens would not be happy. They would say it is unlikely that the country’s defense needs could be met in such a situation. Not wishing to pick a fight with people who spend billions for bombs, let’s just eliminate, for now, the spending on non-defense research.

In 1982, the Department of Education sought to run an actual competition for the “research” funds it was supposed to award on a competitive basis to “labs” and “centers” (as they were called) that did research on educational issues. The labs and centers would submit proposals, and the department would fund the best of them. When Congress got wind of the scheme to go back to competitive bidding, it attached a rider to a bill that required the department to continue to give the funds to the same organizations that had received them for years. It became embarrassingly apparent (if Congress is capable of being embarrassed) that the grants had nothing whatsoever to do with quality research. They were pure payola from the congressmen to their constituents.

Who doubts the situation is much the same with the $68 billion of non-defense research grants that will be dispensed this year? And who doubts that privately directed research would be more useful than government-funded and controlled research?

New Technology Usually Spurs Scientific Discovery

One doubter is L. Rafael Reif, who writes in the Wall Street Journal that “the qualities that make industry good at applied research and development — an appetite for immediate commercialization, a laser focus on consumer demand, an obligation to maximize short-term returns, and a proprietary attitude about information — make industry a bad fit for supporting basic scientific research.” Mr. Reif is the president of MIT, and readers with a laser focus on full disclosure will want to know how much money MIT gets from the federal government, a datum not vouchsafed to us by Mr. Reif.

Serious doubters are urged to read “The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge” by Matt Ridley. He quotes Terence Kealey, a biochemist turned economist, who says that when you examine the history of innovation, you find that scientific breakthroughs are the results—not the causes—of technological change. Ridley writes,

It is no accident that astronomy blossomed in the wake of the age of exploration. The steam engine owed almost nothing to the science of thermodynamics, but the science of thermodynamics owed almost everything to the steam engine. The flowering of chemistry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was driven by the needs of dye makers. The discovery of the structure of DNA depended heavily on X-ray crystallography of biological molecules, a technique developed in the wool industry to try to improve textiles.

The Private Sector Innovates Best On Its Own

Adam Smith noticed the same flow, reporting in “The Wealth of Nations” that “a great part of the machines made use of in those manufactures … were originally the inventions of common workmen.”

Ridley writes, “In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Britain and the United States made huge contributions to science with negligible public funding, while German and France, with hefty public funding, achieved no greater results in science or economics.”

“In 2003,” Ridley reports, “the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] published a paper on ‘sources of growth’ in OECD countries between 1971 and 1998, finding to its explicit surprise that whereas privately funded research and development stimulated economic growth, publicly funded research had no economic impact whatsoever. None.”

Mr. Reif, and no doubt others, will point to discoveries that resulted from federally funded projects. But given the amount of taxpayer money—billions and billions of dollars—granted by the federal government over many decades, we should be surprised and appalled if it had produced nothing.

Donald Trump is the perfect change agent for draining the research swamp. And the perfect time is now, when he’s cutting the corporate income tax—and cutting it by more than 57 percent. Draining the research swamp immediately, thereby maximizing the long-term returns, is a breakthrough government could justly take pride in producing.

Unique Boston-Based Program Aims to Break Prison Cycle

Tykeam Jackson’s mellow voice and warm smile give little hint of how the 21-year-old spent his youth: in and out of juvenile detention and jails, leading a life in Boston’s mean streets centered on gangs and guns.

“I just kept getting caught,” he said. “I was hanging around the wrong crowd.”

Yet even as a pending criminal case looms over him, he’s gaining hope that he can break the cycle that has entangled him with the help of a unique organization called Roca.

“Since I’ve been with Roca, my whole life has done a 360,” he said.

Roca is a nonprofit seeking to steer hundreds of Massachusetts’ highest-risk young men away from a return behind bars. Even the most troublesome participants are exhorted to persist with its multi-year education and job programs; Roca is loath to give up on any of them.

If its unorthodox approach works and private investors are betting millions it will it might show a path forward for other states and cities yearning to lower stubbornly high rates of re-incarceration.

With more than 2.1 million people held in America’s prisons and jails and the annual bill around $80 billion, according to a Brookings Institution study, there has been bipartisan action on many criminal justice reforms but no breakthrough on recidivism. Within five years, 77 percent of ex-prisoners in a 2014 federal study were arrested again; more than half returned to prison.

Recidivism rates were highest for inmates 24 or younger at release the age range of Roca’s target group. Nearly all have arrest records; the vast majority are school dropouts involved in street gangs. They are, in Roca’s words, young men “not ready, willing or able to participate in any other program.”

“My guys are not going to be Boy Scouts,” said Jason Owens, a Roca assistant director. “It’s Last Chance University for them. It’s either Roca, or jail, or death.”

Roca’s program, with its pledge that investors will be repaid for its success, is unusual in many ways, yet it reflects changing attitudes nationwide. Politicians and corrections officials are increasingly vocal about stopping the revolving door back to prison. Efforts are intensifying to better prepare inmates for release with job-training and education programs.

Yet obstacles abound, from the reluctance of many legislators to pay for re-entry programs to the barriers ex-inmates face in obtaining jobs, driver’s licenses and public housing. There’s also the problem of “technical violations” of parole and probation terms; many former inmates return to prison not because of a new crime but because they broke a rule.

How does Roca, which operates only in Massachusetts, help ex-offenders build a new life?

It begins with dogged recruiting by outreach workers. A recruit is then assigned to a work crew and paid minimum wage for tasks such as landscaping and snow removal.

“We have to show them how to work,” said Aaron Bray, who coordinates the crews. “We expect them to fail sometimes.”

This outlook contrasts with many other programs that are selective about whom they recruit.

“The cops hated us when we first started they saw us as a `hug a thug’ program,” said Jason Owens, who served prison time himself before joining Roca’s staff 10 years ago. He’s on a first-name basis with police and troublemakers alike in Chelsea, home to Roca’s headquarters.

Chelsea Police Capt. David Batchelor now views Roca as valuable ally.

“Most programs, if you violate the rules, you’re out,” Batchelor said. “Roca’s the only one I know of if you break the rules, they’ll take you back.”

Behavioral therapy sessions help Roca participants with anger management. Many take courses leading to a General Education Development diploma.

The GED classes are taught one-on-one by volunteers, sometimes in a university library or hospital cafeteria. With gang rivalries, it’s deemed too dangerous for many participants to attend classes at Roca’s building.

“Any rival might kill them on sight,” said Roca’s Boston director, Shannon McAuliffe. In fact, in February 2015, 21-year-old Kenny Lamour was shot dead by an adversary while working with a Roca snow-clearing crew.

Tykeam Jackson also was targeted recently by a rival’s gunfire, suffering a leg wound, McAuliffe said. Since he enrolled in Roca in January 2015, he’s had two stints in jail and faces charges in a pending carjacking case.

“Yet he’s still showing up,” McAuliffe said. “I’ll say, `You don’t have to be here,’ and he’ll say, `If I’m not here, Shannon, I’m going to die.”’

With its motto “Less jail, more future,” Roca aims not just to save young men from wasting their lives but to save taxpayers from wasting money. Roca says the annual cost of incarceration in Massachusetts is about $53,500 per person, while its program costs about $26,000 per person for four years.

“No business would be allowed to run as poorly as our prison systems are run,” said Molly Baldwin, Roca’s CEO and founder.

Does Roca’s approach really work? Signs are positive. Of young men with the program at least two years, 91 percent have not been re-arrested and 85 percent have held a job at least six months.

A more definitive judgment will come in about two years, when outside evaluators assess whether Roca has saved taxpayers’ money by curtailing the time its participants are incarcerated. The outcomes of 1,000 Roca participants will be compared with a control group of other high-risk young men.

If Roca can reduce prison bed days by 40 percent compared to the control group, the state will repay investors who gave Roca more than $18 million in grants and loans. If Roca reduces prison time by 60 percent, the state’s savings will be huge, and the investors will get bonus payments.

Meanwhile, participants like Tykeam Jackson look toward their personal future; he’d like go to community college to study business.

“When I got to Roca, I felt, `Take the chance,’ because I messed up so much,” he said. “I felt it was my last chance.”

Letter: Illinois students deserve a good funding formula for schools … – The State Journal

Illinois needs a good school funding formula, not just a new one.

The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission recommended what its members say is an evidence-based funding system based on 27 elements that would improve Illinois schools.

Some of the 27 were based on successful efforts in other schools, but some were not. And to get new state funds local school districts would have to do none of the 27. As someone has said, it is like saying if you do X, you get Y, but you do not have to do X.

As an example, for special education, the recommended formula of one position for 141 general education students is based on a study done for the state of Vermont that even Vermont rejected.

Special education funding needs to be related to the need for special education, not based on a fixed number of general education students.

The need for special ed varies widely among Illinois school districts based on concentrated poverty, parental drug use, environmental factors including lead poisoning, premature births, stress in daily living, the family/guardian situation, etc. (and all of these are heading in the wrong direction).

There is no magic school funding formula, but there are good ones and bad ones.

Bev Johns


SUNY Potsdam finalizes partnership with Cuban university


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POTSDAM — An educational partnership became official last week between SUNY Potsdam and the Universidad de Cienfuegos in Cuba.

SUNY Potsdam signed an official memorandum of understanding with the Cuban university for a long-term international collaboration that involves students, faculty and staff of both institutions. In addition, the State University of New York system signed an agreement with the Cuban Ministry of Education, the first of its kind between Cuban and U.S. institutions.

Last month, several SUNY administrators and faculty members — including SUNY Potsdam President Kristin G. Esterberg, School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven J. Marqusee, Director of International Education Krista M. LaVack and SUNY Provost Alexander Cartwright — traveled to the Universidad de Cienfuegos to witness the collaboration of the two universities.

“This is one of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of. I think it’s such a unique opportunity for our students,” Mr. Marqusee said. “Potsdam students will have experiences that few others are able to get and it’s something they will take with them for the rest of their lives.”

The trip to Cuba was the fifth for Mr. Marqusee. His first trip to the Cuban university was just 15 months ago. During that trip, which was for an international conference, he “fell in love with the university.”

“I saw all kinds of possibilities. They were interested in developing relationships with U.S. universities, so I came home and I started talking about it with Krista LaVack and with our president. I knew that there were a lot of collaborations between a variety of arts and sciences departments, but it was also clear there were potential collaborations with education and with Crane,” Mr. Marqusee said, referring to SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

Mr. Marqusee said the relationship is mutually beneficial for both colleges.

“There’s a tremendous amount that we can learn from Cuba and there’s a lot they can learn from us,” Mr. Marqusee said. “So this collaboration I think is beneficial.”

SUNY Potsdam hopes to host a Cuban scholar this fall semester, and in the long term, the college would like to develop a spring semester study abroad program for 15 to 20 freshmen, hosted at the Universidad de Cienfuegos. In addition, the college plans to offer long-term study abroad programs for upperclassmen.

“Ultimately, we would like to send faculty back and forth, and when we can, bring students here to study,” Mr. Marqusee said. “We hope in the next year or so to be recruiting students here who will prepare, their first semester their freshman year, for a semester in Cuba by learning Spanish, taking Spanish classes and taking courses on Cuban history and culture. Then the spring semester, they would travel to Cuba with an accompanying faculty member and they would take courses in Cuba that would fulfill general education requirements. It’s very exciting.”

SUNY Potsdam has been collaborating with the Cuban university since before the official memorandum of understanding was signed.

In January, 15 students embarked on a travel course to the Universidad de Cienfuegos. While in Cuba students studied agroecology and public health. Brent M. Crow, assistant professor of Community Health at SUNY Potsdam, was one of the faculty members leading the trip.

“It was a very fruitful experience for the faculty and the students,” Mr. Crow said. “This offered them a perspective they never would have gotten in the United States. It gave them the opportunity to see what they could do if we removed technology and restricted access to money and resources.”

The experience did more than provide unique experiences for the students — it will also look good on their resumes.

“It really makes our students unique,” Mr. Crow said. “It makes our students more attractive to future employers, for internship opportunities and when applying for master’s programs.”

Mr. Crow said he hopes the partnership with Cuba expands into an exchange program for not just students, but faculty members as well.

“I also hope it would open the opportunity for an exchange of faculty for the purpose of giving guest lectures on either end,” Mr. Crow said. “I just want to see this program grow because I think it has potential to do great things for our students and for our department.”

Later this month, 25 student members of the Crane Latin Ensemble, led by faculty directors Marsha Baxter and Peter McCoy, will travel to the Universidad de Cienfuegos in Cuba for a music performance and educational tour, accompanied by Professor Oscar Sarmiento, who will perform poetry readings. They will attend workshops on Latin music and Cuban history and study and perform Afro-Cuban music with Cuban musicians.

Ms. Baxter said the group has a full itinerary planned.

“We will travel to Cuba for a week as part of an educational, musical, cultural exchange with the University of Cienfuegos,” Ms. Baxter said in November. “That exchange will include classes, clinics, workshops and collaborative efforts with Cuban artists. It will allow our students the rare opportunity to experience this kind of collaboration.”

Before its trip to Cuba, the ensemble will perform a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at SUNY Potsdam’s Sara M. Snell Music Theater, where the public is invited to attend.

Special ed and the feds

Special ed and the feds

Special ed and the feds

Kevin Ivers 

Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 7:00 am

Special ed and the feds


The Herald-Palladium


Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs), also called Intermediate School Districts (ISDs), serve the common needs of local school districts.

There are 56 RESAs/ISDs in Michigan, and every school district is part of one. By pooling resources and providing services regionally, RESAs provide cost-effective help to local school districts.

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      Sunday, March 12, 2017 7:00 am.

      Business Briefs March 12, 2017





      Special education struggles to find funding in the Legislature

      HELENA — The main state budget bill at the state Legislature passed first reading last week with some surprises, such as the restoration of $11.5 million to higher education funding, and some expected cuts.

      But one area has consistently struggled to find funding so far throughout the entirety of the 65th Montana Legislative session — special education. Funded through a combination of federal dollars and state funds, special education has seen minimal increases in state funds, leaving local and federal dollars to pick up the slack, according to a report by the legislative school funding interim committee.

      Seven bills addressing special ed funding have been introduced by three legislators this session. All but two of them have been tabled or killed. Only House Joint Resolution 1, which would request an interim study on the subject, has been signed into law.

      The bills deal with everything from providing inflationary increases to special education to allowing students with disabilities to remain in school until age 22.

      As with other programs that are facing cuts in a tight budget this session, the problem boils down to a lack of funding.

      “In my mind, it’s more of a federal government problem they need to be solving,” said Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton. “They’re capable of doing it.”

      Ballance is the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, which is in charge of reviewing and passing House Bill 2, the state’s budget. Rep. Tom Woods, D-Bozeman, proposed an amendment that would have written an inflationary increase for special ed funding of nearly 2 percent into the budget by fiscal year 2019. The amendment ultimately failed on a vote of 9-13.

      “We get $43 million a year from the federal government,” Ballance said. “If we add that inflation factor, it’s going to get to a point where we can’t fund everything in the state.”

      Ballance doesn’t deny there are issues with special education in the state. Representatives from both sides of the aisle have proposed funding measures for special needs students, but the philosophies differ.

      “I believe that every person here knows that this has to be funded,” said Rep. Moffie Funk, D-Helena. “Some maybe feel it a little more urgently than others, but it’s a given in my opinion.”

      Funk sponsored House Bill 253, which would put special education funding in line with schools’ ANB funding, or “average number belonging.” ANB is the measure that determines the amount of funding schools receive based on number of students. Currently, special needs students receive funding separately from general education students.

      “I argued, this way we don’t have to come back each year and figure out how we’re going to pay for special ed,” Funk said.

      Supporters of the bill said HB 253 was necessary for the continued support of those programs.

      “After 24 years in education, I feel the adequacy of special education funding is at a tipping point,” said Lisa Lowney, a special education administrator in Helena. “To meet the mandates of special education services, we are having to reduce opportunities for general education students, causing an equity issue.”

      Eric Feaver, president of MEA-MFT, the teachers union, said legislators could have solved many of the problems befalling special education with HB 253.

      “You can make some of the rhetoric go away if you adopt this bill,” Feaver said during the hearing.

      However, Funk’s bill did not make it past first reading. A motion to “blast” the bill out of committee and onto the House floor also failed.

      Rep. Seth Berglee, R-Joliet, took a more individual-based approach with House Bill 423. The bill, the only other on special education that is still alive, would create a savings account program for special needs students, and would allow parents to take the amount of money allotted to their child by the state and use it for alternative special education programs.

      Berglee’s bill faced criticism for removing funds from existing special education programs. But he said he doesn’t see how it would detract from other students.

      He said finding “creative solutions” to the state’s special education problems won’t weaken the ability of other students to receive their allotted funding.

      “It’s impossible, I think, to have a system that completely fixes it or makes everything right,” Berglee said. “I think the best thing to do is find options that work for the majority of people.”

      Rep. Kathy Kelker, D-Billings, took a different approach, attempting to provide inflationary increases for both schools and special education cooperatives. Two of the bills, House Bills 31 and 33, would have funded schools and cooperatives separately. House Bill 32 provided increases for both.

      Kelker said cooperatives generally serve rural communities, and struggle because they only receive funding from grants, rather than taxes, like schools that offer special education services.

      “Some of them are actually at the brink of bankruptcy. They just couldn’t provide the services,” Kelker said. “If that would happen, it would mean the individual small, small districts would have to do all their special ed stuff themselves.”

      Kelker said that means schools hiring instructors to educate special needs students themselves, which could mean hiring one teacher for a very small number of students.

      “If special education isn’t funded appropriately, it’s a mandated service, so the school districts dip into their general fund and pay for special ed,” Kelker said. “Thus, depriving the general population of kids the benefit of having what was in the general fund.”

      House Bill 32 passed second reading on the House floor, but was tabled in the appropriations committee.

      Kelker also introduced House Bill 274 to allow students with disabilities to remain in school up to age 22. It was also tabled in committee.

      She said allowing students with special needs to remain in school would allow them to retain the skills they have learned, which would make them better suited to entering the workforce than if they graduated at age 18.

      During the bill’s committee hearing, several parents and individuals with disabilities testified on the potential benefits of the bill.

      Keith Gilyard, a man from Belgrade whose son has Down syndrome, said the bill would help his son get the education he needs.

      “He’s always going to be a little behind, but he’s not that far behind,” Gilyard said. “He could potentially reap the benefits of a bill like this.”

      At the same hearing, Meredith Scully, the founder of Cottonwood Day School for special needs students in Bozeman, said her students are determined to learn, and could use the support the bill would have provided.

      “Every child can learn despite their challenges,” Scully said.

      Kelker said that while most of these bills are unlikely to pass this session, (She called herself the “queen of tabled bills.”) she has hope for the future, and will continue to try to get these ideas written into law.

      “I’ll be here in my old lady wheelchair,” Kelker said.

      The UM Community News Service is, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism and the Montana Newspaper Association.

      Lockwood, Ladwig: Don’t leave special-needs students behind – The Spokesman

      We are two parents with eighth-grade daughters, with different special needs, in public school within Spokane County. Like all parents, we want our daughters to meet their full potential. We are very concerned that proposed bills in the Washington Legislature written to fully fund education will leave them, and other students with special needs, behind.

      Both proposed education budget bills, SB 5607 and HB 1843 (to address McCleary v. State) increase funding for nearly every program except special education. Neither updates the outdated model for special education funding, which is 20 years old, including arbitrary caps and creating a system where local school districts have to make up the gaps in needs as best they can using local levy money and safety net funds.

      Not adequately funding special education affects all students, not just those with special needs. Many students with special needs are in general education classrooms and not meeting their needs can affect the whole class, ask any teacher. Furthermore, all students benefit by inclusion where differently abled students learn together and being different and included is normalized. Our community pays less in tax dollars when all kids achieve positive educational outcomes and we decrease dropout rates and increase post school employment, training or higher education.

      Students with Individual Educational Plans (a federal law requires that public schools create IEPs for every special education student) are two to three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their peers. One of our daughters was suspended when her IEP was not implemented to provide the supports she needed at recess, related to autism. Three children, all in general education, were affected in this incident, including my daughter. For the rest of that year she primarily read alone at recess, her social skills getting further behind, the IEP ignored.

      For another fourth-grade student with autism, with an IQ above 120, the deescalation room his IEP promised was not set up and instead was used for storage. He was sent to juvenile detention when his behavior escalated, essentially criminalizing autism. Spending money on punitive measures instead of meeting our kid’s needs costs the community more over time. Repeated suspensions and expulsions set up children for poor educational outcomes.

      In elementary school, one of our daughters experienced an IEP that allowed her to work on her academic and social emotional goals with proper peer and staff supports, adapted curriculum and accommodations, allowing independence. Middle school has been a different story. Suddenly, a child who was thriving started to have behaviors described as “combative” and “unsafe.” Her entire middle school experience has been about managing behaviors, with little time spent focusing on her academic goals. Through a Functional Behavior Assessment (a comprehensive assessment that looks at the reasons behind a child’s behavior problems in order to improve behavior), we learned that her “behaviors” stem from decreased involvement (inclusion) with her typically developing peers and limited choice and control in her school day. This non-verbal student has been giving voice to her unmet needs through problem behaviors.

      Fortunately, Spokane Public Schools is reforming discipline practices after the Every Student Counts Alliance brought attention to their high rates of suspensions and expulsions, including disproportionality toward students with special needs. I applaud the commitment and improvements already seen in SPS discipline rates. Further funding will be essential in creating safe environments for teaching and learning for all students.

      Our daughters have the same right to a fully funded education as anyone else, and an even greater need. We know they can be successful, contributing community members and want a system that supports high expectations. The education ombudsman wrote in 2014, in a report to our state education governing bodies, “The evidence is clear that disabilities do not cause disparate outcomes, but that the system itself perpetuates limitations in the expectations and false belief systems about who children with disabilities can be and how much they can achieve in their lifetime.”

      We urge legislators to return to the table and remove the arbitrary cap on special education and keep and raise “the multiplier” tying special education to basic education. We call on our legislators to update and revise our funding model for education and to create comprehensive solutions to our overall budget inadequacies. We need sustainable, equitable and sufficient means to fund our public schools while addressing our other state budget obligations. We don’t need political theater and short-term fixes; we need lawmakers to roll up their sleeves and publicly serve.

      Nikki Lockwood is a volunteer leader with the Every Student Counts Alliance and Fuse Spokane. Darcy Ladwig works in Advocacy and Family Support at The Arc of Spokane.

      Opinion/Letter: Federal school bill ignores complexities