Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/04/2000 03:05 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE April 4, 2000 3:05 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Fred Dyson, Chairman Representative Jim Whitaker Representative Joe Green Representative Carl Morgan Representative Tom Brice Representative Allen Kemplen Representative John Coghill MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 301 "An Act relating to the education of exceptional children; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 301 SHORT TITLE: EDUCATION OF EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 1/21/00 1963 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 1/21/00 1963 (H) HES, FIN 1/21/00 1964 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DOE) 1/21/00 1964 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 1/21/00 1964 (H) REFERRED TO HES 3/23/00 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 3/23/00 (H) Heard & Held 3/23/00 (H) MINUTE(HES) 3/28/00 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 3/28/00 (H) <Bill Postponed> 3/30/00 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 3/30/00 (H) <Bill Postponed to 4/4> 4/04/00 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 WITNESS REGISTER DR. BRUCE JOHNSON, Deputy Commissioner of Education Department of Education & Early Development 801 West Tenth Street, Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301. DR. PJ FORD-SLACK, Director Special Education Teaching and Learning Support Department of Education & Early Development 801 West Tenth Street, Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 301. SANJA BOLLING PARENTS, Inc. 4743 East Northern Lights Blvd. Anchorage, Alaska 99508 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 and read FAYE NIETO's written testimony into the record. FAYE NIETO PARENTS, Inc. 4743 East Northern Lights Blvd. Anchorage, Alaska 99508 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 through her testimony read into the record by SANJA BOLLING. ROBERT B. BRIGGS, Staff Attorney Disability Law Center of Alaska 230 South Franklin Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301. PHILLIP REEVES, Assistant Attorney General Human Services Section Civil Division(Juneau) Department of Law PO Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301. DAVID MALTMAN, Executive Director Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education Office of the Commissioner Department of Health & Social Services PO Box 240249 Anchorage, Alaska 99524 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 301. JOHN CYR, President, NEA [National Education Association]-Alaska 114 Second Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301. PEGGY BUSS, Facilitator, Gifted and Talented Program Fairbanks North Star Borough School District 300 Hawk Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. ROSEMARY HANSON 976 Amanita Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. EVA RISSE 981 Risse Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. ALLIE MCGUIRE 2298 Larissa Drive Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. CINDY BENNER 998 Willow Grouse Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. DOROTHY CORBETT 958 Chena Pump Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. SUSAN SISSON 200 Sunny Hills Drive Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. LIZANNE HANSON 976 Amanita Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. PAMELA BICKFORD 16840 Tide View Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99516 POSITION STATEMENT: Will testify later or in writing. MARY KLUGHERZ PO Box 3379 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901-3379 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. PAM ROTH 284 Forest Park Drive Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. MARGO WARING 1215 Fifth Street Douglas, Alaska 99824 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. ROBERT SEWELL PO Box 22415 Juneau, Alaska 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 301 in support of Gifted and Talented Programs. JOAN DANGELI PO Box 34711 Juneau, Alaska 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 301. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 00-40, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN FRED DYSON called the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:05 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Dyson, Whitaker, Brice and Coghill. Representatives Green, Morgan and Kemplen arrived as the meeting was in progress. HB 301 - EDUCATION OF EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN Number 0028 CHAIRMAN DYSON announced the first order of business as House Bill No. 301, "An Act relating to the education of exceptional children; and providing for an effective date." Number 0095 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL made a motion to adopt the proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 301, version GH2003\G, Ford, 3/27/00, as a work draft. There being no objection, Version G was before the committee. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked Bruce Johnson to come forward and explain the changes in the CS. Number 0273 BRUCE JOHNSON, Deputy Commissioner of Education, Department of Education & Early Development (EED), came forward to testify. He commented that the department is pleased to support a number of the provisions included in CSHB 301. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked Dr. Johnson if he is saying there are some provisions the EED doesn't support. DR. JOHNSON replied there are a couple of provisions that the EED did not bring forth as a result of testimony. The EED doesn't object to them in a strong way. Specifically, the EED supports and believes that there are good reasons to support the CS in the following areas: The additions to page 1, line 12, Sec. 14.30.182(4) ensure that the department continually monitors federal requirements for services to children with disabilities and reports the finding to the legislature. That makes sense to the EED whenever there is reauthorization. In the off-years when there is no reauthorization, there likely is not going to be much more than the continuation of the previous year's update. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to Sec. 4, page 3, lines 9-13, and asked if only the issues related to the responsibilities of the EED and not the local school districts are outlined. DR. JOHNSON answered that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE surmised, then, that there is no real way of finding out, through this report, what impacts federal changes might have on the local school districts. DR. JOHNSON answered that is correct. CHAIRMAN DYSON summarized Dr. Johnson's answer to Representative Brice as that this annual report won't be specific to schools or school districts. DR. JOHNSON clarified that it only impacts federal laws. He read [the report] to discuss the federal requirements for special education and thus there will be an impact if a new law comes into being that impacts services or requirements at the local level, so to that extent it would go to that level. Number 0504 REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked if it would be possible to include the gifted and talented in the proposed report such as a description of unmet needs of gifted and talented (GT) and recommendations for addressing the unmet needs. DR. JOHNSON answered he believes that (b) on page 3, lines 15-19 covers that so GT would currently fall under that category. Number 0576 DR. JOHNSON referred to page 2, line 20, Sec. 14.30.186. This is additional detail regarding the responsible party for special education services regardless of where a disabled child attends school. There is increased delineation there and who is responsible. The EED believes that brings clarity and makes good sense. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked Dr. Johnson what a city school district is. DR. JOHNSON replied it would be a single site, for example, Galena and Valdez are city schools. DR. JOHNSON referred to page 3, lines 15-19, AS 14.30.193(b) which allows for a period up to 12 months for a parent to provide written notice of a request for a due process hearing. The EED agrees with that change, and that should meet the needs of most individuals since this does impact a very narrow range of families. Basically, as the EED understands it, it would be a case where a family has done a unilateral placement because of a disagreement or a need that the family perceive with their child, and therefore from the very beginning of that, the family would be carrying the financial responsibility. The family would be very alert to what has happened and would have 12 months to bring about any due process. DR. JOHNSON referred to page 3, line 29, AS 14.30.193. It was suggested that the EED provide the parents with the qualifications of the hearing officers rather than just a list of hearing officers. That seems to be a reasonable request and therefore strengthens the bill. DR. JOHNSON referred to page 4, line 18, AS 14.30.325. That allows the EED by regulation to provide for the appointment of surrogate parents to represent children with disabilities. That was an oversight on the EED's part earlier, and it strengthens the bill. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked what a surrogate parent is. Number 0787 PJ FORD-SLACK, Director, Special Education, Teaching and Learning Support, Department of Education & Early Development, came forward to explain that the surrogate parent is a provision within IDEA [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] for a school district to appoint someone who will represent the educational needs of a child when a parent or a relative is not available. A member of a state agency or a school district cannot be a surrogate parent. A foster parent must be able to show a long time commitment, at least a year or more with that child, before he/she would be considered to be a surrogate parent. Surrogate parents must undergo training; their sole purpose at an IEP [Individual Education Plan] meeting or in requesting an evaluation or program change is to represent that child. It is the district's responsibility to have a list of surrogate parents available to represent children when they might become a ward of the state or not have a parent available, such as in a juvenile detention center. DR. FORD-SLACK agreed it is sort of like a guardian ad litem, but the surrogate parent, under IDEA, is the representative that the school district appoints so there also might be a guardian ad litem. A surrogate parent would still need to be appointed because he/she would still be the one under the federal law to represent the educational needs of that child, and there is very specific training of surrogate parents about IDEA in order to take on that role. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the surrogate parents have the same or similar responsibilities of parents. DR. FORD-SLACK replied that they do when a parent is not there or unavailable. The difficulty is that there are court-appointed people or state social workers or sometimes foster parents who haven't had the child for a long period of time. The federal government decided that in the case of special education students, it was important for a person to go into an IEP meeting, or to ask for an evaluation, or now with the discipline provisions, to have at least some sort of cursory understanding of IDEA so he/she could represent the child. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if that was the nuance that makes a surrogate parent different from a guardian ad litem. DR. FORD-SLACK replied she believed that is. She further answered Chairman Dyson that surrogate parents are volunteers. DR. JOHNSON referred to page 4, line 22, AS 14.30.340(a) where it clarifies that private schools also include religious schools. The EED has no objection to clarifying that. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked Dr. Johnson what were the parts he wasn't as enthusiastic about. Number 1010 DR. JOHNSON explained that the issue that gives the EED the greatest concern is on page 4, line 27, which says "A parent who teaches a child at home may refuse special education and related services." There is some responsibility in a part of this state that if a parent who is home schooling a child with particular disabilities, the state has an obligation to provide that service. It could be stretched to the point that the state would have an obligation to go through some sort of due process and procedural safeguards on behalf of that child. The federal law is pretty clear that while parents certainly have lots of responsibilities, they cannot deny special education services to a child unilaterally. This would become a concern with the more severely disabled children and less of a concern with a child with a mild learning disability. CHAIRMAN DYSON assumed that if the parent was refusing services that were significant to the child, there might be a child in need of aid [CINA] case. That would be one way to remedy this. DR. FORD-SLACK referred to Representative Kemplen's question about GT and noted the GT piece may require more work because currently there is no one in the EED who does that particular piece. Number 1209 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to page 4, line 27, "A parent who teaches a child at home may refuse special education and related services." He knows there is a concern with DFYS [Division of Family and Youth Services] when a child is being home schooled; there is no way to find out whether that child is getting any type of appropriate education because all the tracking requirements were removed. He doesn't believe that DFYS could take any action simply because the DFYS would not know where these people are. Nobody has an address for them. That is a concern. Dr. Johnson mentioned that parents could not unilaterally decide that their child would not receive special education services. He asked why HB 301 is saying parents can unilaterally decide to refuse services if IDEA says specifically they can't. DR. JOHNSON answered that he doesn't believe that a parent has the right to refuse special education services especially in extreme cases. Once it becomes evident that that is occurring in a home, the school district is aware of it, then the local school district would have an obligation to investigate that because then it falls under the childfind. Number 1303 DR. FORD-SLACK added that the issue of IDEA and the stance on the current court cases, suggest a strong push to recognize that IDEA is a civil rights law attached to the child, not to the parent nor anyone else. This was an amendment that was put forward and the EED raised the particulars of current cases, none within the Ninth District Court which is Alaska's court. On the East Coast, there was a case of "educational abuse" where a parent made a decision not to accept special education and related services. The way the current law stands now, once a parent has agreed to the initial placement, then the parent doesn't have a right to take away special education and related services from a child because that right on the initial placement transfers to the child, and the district is required then to go forth and become the child's advocate if that was needed. Those are very rare circumstances. DR. FORD-SLACK noted this has become problematic in Alaska because there isn't a way currently to have parents let the department know they are home schooling. There are certain special factors in IDEA, not only for medically fragile children but for deaf and blind children, that they are to have certain services presented to them. It is her understanding that out of the federal Office of Special Education Programs [OSEP], that if a district were in a situation where it knew of a child who had had special education, was now being home schooled, was for example deaf and not receiving any communication assistance or had an opportunity to communicate with life peers, that the OSEP would view that as the responsibility of the district to advocate. The way the bill currently reads gives the EED some pause. There are other avenues where that might occur and might better serve the state of Alaska, but the federal law is fairly clear about the advocacy role when a district needs to do that. REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked if the EED has anyone on staff that oversees or supervises the GT services. DR. JOHNSON answered no, the EED does not have anyone that is the point person on GT. The EED was told by the federal government through corrective action that the department could no longer use the federally paid special education staff so that was stopped. The EED hasn't reorganized in anyway because there isn't any general fund appropriation to provide that kind of service. The type of technical assistance would come through the quality school team leaders--there is one assigned to every school district--and the team leaders may or may not have a background in GT, but that would be the level of technical assistance and support that would be received today. REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked Dr. Johnson if the quality schools funding could be a source of funding for that type of evaluation. DR. JOHNSON replied no, the EED has people called "quality school team leaders," and that is an attempt on the part of the department to break down some of the bureaucracy so a district has one contact person in the department. If the district has an issue, it goes to that contact person first, and that person is responsible for getting the answer if he/she doesn't have the answer. It has nothing to do with GT necessarily. REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked Dr. Johnson how he would respond if GT were to be inserted on page 2, line 15. DR. JOHNSON answered if that were put in there, the EED would find someone else in the department who was not paid with special education dollars to perform that function. That would be doable if that were the wish of the legislature. The EED is not providing any direct support for GT out of the department because there is no financial support to do that. It would really be describing what is occurring in the state in relationship to GT. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL referred to page 4, line 27-28, "A parent who teaches a child at home may refuse special education and related services." He said personally he would like to see that stay in there. He knows of a family who has a deaf son and taught him in a certain way that may not have been agreed upon by the local school district and maybe not even by the way IDEA said and yet still had a very well-rounded education. He asked if Dr. Johnson is telling him that the local school district could come and remove that child from that education if there is a contest on the degree on quality of education. DR. JOHNSON answered he doesn't believe it is quite that black and white. The district's responsibility would be to investigate the type of education that the child was receiving and work with the family to determine whether that would be the appropriate education and whether it is meeting this child's needs. The district simply would not have the authority to go in and say "What you're doing is wrong." Number 1637 CHAIRMAN DYSON commented that if the parents agree to the adoption of a plan that then that invites into the process an advocate who will look out for the children. DR. FORD-SLACK said when someone suggests to a school district that his/her child might require special education services, a team meets and decides what evaluations will take place. The parent must sign off on the evaluation. If the parent does not sign off on the evaluation at that first step, it goes nowhere unless a district was so inclined to believe that the child was really not receiving what he/she needed. That would be an unusual circumstance. After the evaluation, when all the data is brought back, and the team says "Yes, we believe your child requires special education services," the parent has another opportunity to say yes or no. If the parent signs off on the initial placement, the rights transfer to the child at that point. Normally the parents exercise procedural safeguards which are mediation, complaint investigation and due process hearings. If it were a case of educational abuse, the district is supposed to, under this law, advocate for the child if the district believes that this child was not receiving a proper educational program. The district must start a due process hearing, which means an independent due process hearing officer, who has been trained by the state, is brought forth, and both parties bring forward the evidence. The hearing officer makes the decision as to whether that child is receiving correct educational services at home or whether he/she is not getting the needed education. CHAIRMAN DYSON said once the parent signs the paperwork the second time, the child has an advocate, and the parent irrevocably shares the responsibility for at least the child's education-related services with an advocate. DR. FORD-SLACK answered yes, in very broad terms because largely, special education is not about trying to push a parent in that position. Everyone is interested in protecting the child and looking for the best way to educate that child. The next step would probably be when the transfer of rights occurs at age 18. At that point, that child then receives all of the rights to take over his/her own education, and he/she could say "I don't want it anymore" and he/she could walk away from it. Number 1835 SANJA BOLLING testified via teleconference from Anchorage. She is a parent of "another health impairment child," and she agrees with Faye Nieto's position statement. She read into the record the testimony of FAYE NIETO: PARENTS, Inc. is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs to improve early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results for children with disabilities through coordinated technical assistance, support and dissemination of information activities and services. PARENTS, Inc. to meet the mandate that is required: assist parents to understand the provisions of federal IDEA, procedural safeguards, alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation, decision-making processes that pertain to development of Individual Education Programs under part B and Individual Family Service Plans under part C and the services therein so ensured through education reform activities like the conformance of state and federal law through passage of HB 301. PARENTS, Inc. is compelled to let parents and decision makers know the good things have resulted form IDEA best practice: millions of children are now educated in their community schools, 9 percent increase in graduation rates, twice the opportunity to become employed versus those not transitioned, parents are equal partners in their child's education. PARENTS, Inc. in an effort to ensure that minimal or better standards were set for Alaska's children with disabilities engaged in a process that compared state law to federal law, state regulation to federal regulation, proposed repeals and changes to state law as compared to federal law and regulation along with analysis of other public advocates, legal counsel and parent comments gathered during our statewide training, forum, regional advocate, e-mail and other pertinent contacts that totaled 67,000 FY 00 year to date. Review of this data yielded the following recommendations: Protections for Surrogate Parent appointment was added back into law; Annual review of Special Education Services by the legislature will afford continued parent input into school improvement/reform activities; Extended due process hearing timeline from six months to one year which has been found acceptable by state and federal courts; Language for gifted programs was expanded to include the types of services and protections and remain confident that once HB 301 is passed the [EED] through regulation will now be able to strengthen this program and fulfill the necessity for separateness from IDEA services; Children with disabilities have the right to receive services when enrolled in religious schools thus expanding the options for educational choice; Parents who home school have the right to refuse special education services, thereby protecting a parents right to privacy and right to raise their children as they see fit. PARENTS, Inc. through discussions with [EED] Administration and legal counsel has been assured that the regulation process will include a complete review of stakeholder comment that will be used to satisfactorily amend so a conceptual framework with IDEA service provision can result that will meet the needs of Alaska's special education students. We are confident that the [EED] and State School Board will keep their word as we work together to bring the best of practices to our Alaskan educational system. We understand and support the passage of HB 301 and the recommendations for stakeholder input to the regulatory process as stated by PARENTS, Inc. and by so doing, urge quick action that will ensure Alaska's compliance with federal law. This statement was signed by 17 parents of disabled children. Number 2073 ROBERT BRIGGS, Staff Attorney, Disability Law Center of Alaska, came forward to testify. He said the Disability Law Center of Alaska is pleased to see changes in Version G to accommodate some concerns raised in regard to the original bill. There are still some parts of the bill that have slight problems with regard to the statute of limitations. The Disability Law Center has expressed its legal opinion that the statute of limitations should be for two years, but the one year statute really presents the opportunity for probably most cases to be presented in a timely fashion. To be tested it will require someone to have missed that one year deadline and then raise the legal issue of the validity of the statute. He didn't think the Disability Law Center would be the one to challenge that. MR. BRIGGS went on the say that the Disability Law Center was a bit disappointed that there wasn't support for the idea of having a body of substantive law that stood apart and separate from the federal law, but the effect of this bill is understood to incorporate by reference the existing federal laws, the framework for Alaska. That leaves some nuances of state law that will have to be resolved because the federal IDEA leaves to state discretion certain issues. One of those issues left to state discretion has already come up in this hearing and that has to do with the power of a parent to refuse to agree to certain special education or related services. MR. BRIGGS respectfully disagreed with the representations made about the state of the law with regard to the rights of a parent to decline to consent to specific special education or related services under federal law. He cited Federal Register, Volume 64, Number 48, Friday, March 12, 1999, Rules and Regulations, 12449, regulations adopted to implement the changes in IDEA 1997. The regulations define parental consent which basically specifies when parental consent is required. "Page 12450 (b) Refusal. If the parents of a child with a disability refuse consent for initial evaluation or a reevaluation, the agency may continue to pursue those evaluations by using the due process procedures under 300.507-300.509, or the mediation procedures under 300.506 if appropriate, except to the extent inconsistent with State law relating to parental consent." MR. BRIGGS noted that this basically gives the legislature the power to define the powers of the parent in Alaska with regard to special education. If the legislature decides that parents should have the absolute power to refuse special education or related services, it can be done as a matter of state law, and it becomes binding on the department and on school districts. There is room here for state control of this process. He advocated in his previous comments that the Disability Law Center believes that parents should have the right to refuse special education and related services irregardless of whether their child is being taught at home. With regard to Version G, page 4, line 27, he respectfully suggested the word "who teaches a child at home" be deleted, so any parent may refuse services. MR. BRIGGS based this on complaints heard from some parents. It is not unknown for a school district to employ school psychologists part-time. Those school psychologists have private practices so students are referred for special education services to somebody who has a private practice he/she wants to build up and maintain; it is a conflict of interest. He believes a parent ought to have the power to say "No I don't think my kid needs this service. No I don't think this service is required for my kid." CHAIRMAN DYSON asked if there is any part that happens with disabled children in their educational experience that includes them being given psychoactive drugs. MR. BRIGGS answered medication of children while they are in school is an issue, especially for parents of hyperactive children; the drug of choice is Ritalin. There is a great deal of dispute about whether Ritalin is appropriately prescribed. He can't cite the percentages of children in school who are prescribed psychoactive drugs, but there have been news reports about the increased amount of drugs given to young children without appropriate testing. TAPE 00-40, SIDE B Number 2350 CHAIRMAN DYSON asked if parents and the public can be assured that every child that is prescribed psychoactive drugs is done by a psychiatrist or medical doctor who is specifically trained and has does enough analysis and monitoring of the child to know. MR. BRIGGS said the one thing that stands to protect parents and children are the laws regarding medical negligence and licensing of doctors who prescribe drugs. Those are the primary protections. The rights under the IDEA for a parent, unless those rights are expanded, are to disagree with the IEP. If the school district refuses to accede from its position, for example, a particular child needs a related service of psychotherapy including a medical regimen, the parent's avenue is to request a fair hearing. He believes there is enough animosity between parents and school districts without needing to add fuel to the flames by requiring a parent to have to go to an administrative fair hearing to get a ruling that the child doesn't have to be put on drugs. His point is if the right is defined up-front, the parent has the absolute right to refuse to consent to a particular special education or related service. Yet the school district does have the power under IDEA, if it believes that a particular decision by a parent so endangers the child, that the child becomes a child in need of aid, the district has a legal obligation to make a report to DFYS. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked Mr. Briggs to tell him again how drugs come into education. MR. BRIGGS answered usually a child is referred for related services, and those related services may include psychotherapy or psychiatric treatment. As part of that treatment, drugs are prescribed by the treating physician. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked if the drug prescription would show up in the IEP. MR. BRIGGS said usually the way it shows up is that the school district will assist the child in following the drug regimen that is prescribed. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he sees two sides to this and asked if the EED and Mr. Briggs could have conversation here. He commented that the committee has heard diametrically opposed opinions. Number 2197 PHILLIP REEVES, Assistant Attorney General, Human Services Section, Civil Division(Juneau), Department of Law, came forward to testify on behalf of the EED. He stated that the plain language of the regulation that was just read doesn't say what has been suggested. The regulation says If parents of a child with a disability refuse consent for initial evaluation or reevaluation, the agency may continue to pursue those evaluations. He noted only the initial evaluation and reevaluation are being talked about. There is nothing in the regulations that says once there is an IEP process, that the IEP team does not regulate the education of that child. This regulation doesn't provide that type of loophole. At the evaluation level of the special education program, the parent has the opportunity to say "No, I don't want evaluations." But once the program has been entered into, and there is an IEP team and an educational plan, then it is the IEP team under the federal law that makes those type of determinations. The parents have to be included in the IEP team; they are not excluded from that. The idea that parents could unilaterally pick and choose elements of this plan would be directly against what the federal IDEA requires. These regulations only specifically deal with initial evaluation or reevaluation. Number 2133 MR. BRIGGS said Mr. Reeves is ignoring the reality that if a parent disagrees with an evaluation, the parent always has a right to request a reevaluation. If a school district determines that a related service is required, and that related service includes psychotherapy for example, and the parent disagrees that the psychotherapy is necessary, the parent requests either a reevaluation by the department or an independent evaluation. The question of whether the parent can be compelled to accept a plan that he/she doesn't agree with, he believes that the parent always has the power and the right to request a fair hearing. MR. BRIGGS referred to the Federal Register, Volume 64, Number 48, Friday, March 12, 1999, Rules and Regulations, page 12450, (3)(d) Additional State consent requirements. That heading implies that the state may provide additional requirements with regard to consent. "In addition to the parental consent requirements described in paragraph (a) of this section, a State may require parental consent for other services and activities under this part if it ensures that each public agency in the State establishes and implements effective procedures to ensure that a parent's refusal to consent does not result in a failure to provide the child with FAPE" [free and appropriate public education]. The point here is the state has the power to decide how much power a parent's consent has in this process. The limit on what the state can do is there must be procedures to ensure that a parent's refusal to consent does not result in a failure to provide the child with FAPE. MR. BRIGGS believes this can be implemented through the EED's regulations. There is a way the department can ensure that school districts have the power and the procedure by which it can seek to ensure that when there is a situation where a parent denies consent, that the school district can try to ensure that FAPE is provided. One process is finding that a child is a child in need of aid. Number 2010 MR. REEVES said there is this provision indeed that says that as long as each educational agency does provide a FAPE that parental consent can be provided for specific services or activities under this part. He suspects this can be read to say it's talking about drugs, that it could be said specifically that parental consent is needed for that, but if the suggestion is that language is just going to be put into the special education law to allow parents to unilaterally pick and choose which part of the IEP will apply to their child, he believes individualized education programs are the heart of the entire federal law, and that is dismantling it and allowing parents to make unilateral decisions, despite the fact that the team doesn't see things in that light. He is sure that the EED and each school district would strongly disagree with the idea there is going to be a unilateral parental choice as opposed to having the IEP team, which includes educators, psychologists, and experts, make these program determinations. Number 1952 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the parents he has talked to would say that they and their child should have veto power over any decision made by the team. He guesses that the premise has to be that the bottom line lies with the parent when talking about the IEP. MR. REEVES said he is simply stating how the federal law is set up, and it is a federal program that is providing the funding that the state is required to comply with in order to meet the requirements of the federal law. The suggestion that the IEP team is not a good idea, that is the heart of the federal program. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the IEP is an excellent idea, but what drives the IEP should be the needs of the child with the concerns of the parent over the needs and desires of the team. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked if the entire plan was being revoked or part of the plan; or is the team there to augment the education as it sees or is the team there to have the parent augment as he/she sees; and is then consent able to modify the team's authority or is it to give the parent authority. It seems if the parent has the right of revoking consent at any time then it seems like it would be the whole plan. Number 1820 MR. BRIGGS answered that he believes the answer is in the regulations, Federal Register, Volume 64, Number 48, Friday, March 12, 1999, Rules and Regulations, page 12450 (e) "Limitation. A public agency may not use a parent's refusal to consent to one service or activity under paragraphs (a) and (d) of this section to deny the parent or child any other service, benefit, or activity or the public agency, expectation as required by this part." That would have no meaning unless the parent had the power to say there is a particular service I don't want my child to have. He suggested a change in Version G, page 4, lines 27-28, where it says "a parent who teaches a child at home may refuse special education and related services." He suggested striking "who teaches a child at home" and add at the end "the department may adopt by regulation procedures to ensure that a parent's refusal to consent does not result in a failure to provide the child with FAPE." That leaves to the department's discretion a procedure for taking the initiative to ensure FAPE for a child. He believes the most appropriate procedure would be as in subparagraph (b) to request a due process fair hearing or to invoke mediation procedures. Number 1686 MR. REEVES said he is trying to avoid being the education program person rather than the attorney here. He reiterated that while on 12450 (d) a State may require parental consent for other services or activities under this part, the suggestion that parental consent is required for absolutely every element of an IEP certainly would have a tremendous administrative affect on the program. If that is the choice, he guesses there would be a fiscal note connected to that, and the way out is a due process hearing anytime there is a disagreement. That is not necessarily a direct legal suggestion, but he believes it is a substantial change to the program. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked if he understood Mr. Reeves to say that having in state law or regulation a parent's right to opt out may put the state at odds with the federal IDEA program and maybe get the state in trouble. MR. REEVES said there are specific provisions regarding deaf programs and so forth. It would seem that the federal law in one case is saying these are minimum requirements, whereas in this case, it is backing to the general requirement for a FAPE. A FAPE is an appropriate education under the requirements of the federal regulations so that would become the issue. What is suggested is the parent can opt out and then the district would have to file for due process hearing and argue that there is no longer a FAPE being provided if this element of the plan in not there. CHAIRMAN DYSON said if this sentence is in here that a parent may refuse special education and related services, the federal government isn't going to look at that and say "you don't get your $14.6 million because you've got this contrary provision in here." MR. REEVES said his suggestion is it would certainly be more appropriate to identify particular types of services that fall under this as opposed to have a catch-all that anything that is not agreed to is out. The federal government would look at it on a case by case basis. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked Mr. Briggs what the parents involvement is in the IEP and their legal authority under the development of an IEP now. He wondered if they have the ability to refuse services. Number 1541 MR. BRIGGS said as he reads this current state regulation, they don't have, AAC 52.200 "Consent of a parent must be obtained before conducting an initial evaluation or initial placement of a child in a program ... except as set out in (a) of this section, parental consent may not be required as a condition of any benefit to a parent or child." He believes the department is interpreting that phrase "may not be" as needing the consent to continue to provide FAPE. He believes that is somewhat inconsistent with federal law and believes that regulation needs to be changed. MR. BRIGGS stated under federal law, a parent always has the power if he/she feels strongly about a child's IEP. Keep in mind the school district usually drafts the IEP and puts it in front of the parent and says "Sign off on this," and if the parent refuses, the team says "Fine, we don't need your signature, we're going to go ahead and implement the IEP and if you don't like it, take us to a fair hearing." That is the remedy for a parent if he/she disagrees with the IEP; he/she has to go to a fair hearing. MR. BRIGGS suggested that it makes better sense to give the parent the opportunity to go for mediation as well as the opportunity to go for a fair hearing. It is a procedural difference that doesn't make any difference. That right is going to exist no matter how this issue is adopted. He believes the legislature has the power to make it a matter of state law that consent shall be required, and that consent can be revoked with regard to a particular service or part of the IEP. He doesn't believe it will have much fiscal impact because most parents who have children with disabilities in the schools want to work with the school district. The situation where this is going to be important is the rare situation where a parent disagrees with the school district over a specific item in the IEP. It at least allows the opportunity for a parent to say "No, I'm not going to send him to that psychiatrist, but I agree with the rest of the plan," and the school district can implement the rest of the plan without forcing the parent to take the whole plan to a fair hearing. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked Mr. Briggs to pencil out some language to get to that point if the committee chose to go that way. Number 1366 MR. REEVES said the way the system is set up under the federal regulations, which are essentially what the state has been following and will continue to follow, is that an IEP team made up of the parents, district representative, and representatives that the parents want, gets together to consider the evaluation of the child to determine what the child's needs are and develops a program for the child. If the parents don't agree that the program provides an appropriate education, then they have the recourse to mediation and a due process hearing. The district responsibility is to provide a FAPE which means it meets the requirements of the federal regulations, and as long as the district provides that under the federal law, the district isn't required to provide the absolute best for every child. Obviously, that would be more expensive than appropriate. It seems to a certain extent that this turns the process on its head to suggest that now the parent, now if it is only in the negative, the parent can only decline certain services as opposed to suggest that these additional services must be provided, then perhaps there is not a great fiscal note then the question just becomes is that still a FAPE. Is the parent's unilateral decision making what is expected under the federal law? CHAIRMAN DYSON asked what happens if there is an accusation that the parents are not doing a FAPE. MR. REEVES said it is actually the district's responsibility to provide the FAPE. In this case, it has been suggested that if the parents removed elements from the plan, and the district felt now that plan no longer offers a FAPE because something is gone that was necessary, then the district would have the authority to go into a due process hearing and ask a hearing officer to make that determination. The FAPE would still be the requirement of the federal law; it's just that the district would go forward to say "We have to have this element even though the parent doesn't want it." Number 1282 CHAIRMAN DYSON asked what happens if the hearing officers agrees the child is not getting a FAPE. MR. REEVES answered that typically it is the parents who argue and then the district is ordered to implement the changes necessary to provide a FAPE. In this case, if the hearing officer determined there was not a FAPE because the parents have removed elements, it is difficult for him to see how there's going to be any authority for the hearing officer to order the parent to put that back in. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked what lever the government has on the parents--take them to court, get a court order, contempt of court? MR. REEVES replied in talking about related services, that is a little different because typically, related services are not provided by the school district. They are outside of school hours. He would believe if any hearing officer ruled that any element of the plan which was part of the school's program was necessary for a FAPE, then the district would simply implement the plan with the elements that the parents had disagreed with. The parents' option under the federal law is to remove their child and place him/her in a private program at their own expense if the district is providing a FAPE. Number 1112 DAVID MALTMAN, Executive Director, Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Health & Social Services, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He expressed support for CSHB 301, Version G, on behalf of the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education. The council continues to prefer a 24-month period in which a parent may request a due process hearing, page 3, line 16. The council agrees with the EED's concerns regarding the language about a parent who teaches a child at home refusing special education and related services. He noted the committee has received plenty of advice on that, but the council still remains concerned about the refusal of the parents. It is not clear what happens to the child and if the district will proceed with a CINA petition if warranted. He encouraged the committee to move the bill along. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked Mr. Maltman if he sees gifted and talented as part of the disabled community. MR. MALTMAN replied no, not in regards to disability. The concern is the GT children have educational needs too. The language in the CS makes it clear what the districts should do. He hopes that the regulations promulgated by EED will help shape GT education so it is improved. Many parents of GT children are concerned that they'll be losing something. He hopes with the committee's attention to this provision and an annual report, it will be seen whether the department has improved it or if resources are needed by the department to provide for a better statewide program. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked if the Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education advocates for the gifted and talented children. MR. MALTMAN answered under the current statute the council has the same dilemma as the department; there is a responsibility there as gifted is an exceptional child. The council doesn't have the same resources to form coalitions with parents or to address these issues in terms of adequacy or policy making. The council's position is no better than the department's to address these issues because it has no state funds. Number 0856 JOHN CYR, President, NEA [National Education Association]-Alaska, came forward to testify. He noted that he had written remarks he would leave for the committee. He expressed concern about remarks about the parent's right to refuse services. He said it's like the Ivory soap commercial: 99.44 percent of the time IEP teams include parents, they are an integral part. He doesn't believe that schools whip up a plan and lay them on parents and say sign this or else. That has not been his experience. It is the whole team working for the child in trying to make an education program that works. The concern is in the other than the 99.44 percent; it is that small slice where the school and the parent and the child cannot agree on what the appropriate educational program should be for that child. He believes that the obligation is to the child. It is not to make the parents happy; it's not to make the teacher happy; it's to make the best educational program for the child. He gets nervous when he hears about parents having the right to refuse educational programs. This sets up some long-term problems that everyone pays for. Ultimately, it is for the child that the school has to be responsible. Number 0700 PEGGY BUSS, Facilitator, Gifted and Talented Program, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks and introduced the children who will testify. Number 0691 ROSEMARY HANSON testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She gave the following testimony: "I think GT should stay because it is good that I can do a little harder work than what the classroom provides. I am looking forward to next year because the main subject is reading. In sixth grade you do a wax museum. I really like GT because it makes learning fun." Number 0659 EVA RISSE testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She gave the following testimony: "GT is important to me because if it weren't for GT I would be bored in regular classroom. GT is a place where I go (indisc.--rustling papers) ... considered against the law to be underage for kindergarten or first grade. She was only allowed (indisc.) first grade and that was not enough. She was soon tested and made it into GT. She had so much fun there. As soon as she came home and said "Mom, did you know that? Mom, did you know this?" And Mom hardly ever knew. GT helped her a lot in kindergarten and eventually she (indisc.) first grade. I have been reading that you want to stop funding for GT. (Indisc.) who cares about it. Why do we have to say this? If there is law to provide funding for the lower challenged people, why not for the people of GT? My GT teacher, Miss (indisc.) and other GT teachers bring out the best in those students. (Indisc.)" Number 0596 ALLIE MCGUIRE testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She gave the following testimony: "I go to (indisc.) in third grade. I like the math we do in GT because we are doing algebra right now in the third grade GT. I think GT makes learning fun." Number 0577 MS. BUSS said as facilitator for the school district, she feels very strongly that legislation is needed to support gifted education at the state level. Personnel is needed to support and advocate for the district at the state level. Number 0558 CINDY BENNER testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She is a parent of two children in the GT program at the elementary level. She is concerned what the effect of HB 301 will be on the future of the gifted and talented program in Alaska. She feels Fairbanks has been extremely fortunate to have an excellent program and excellent teachers that worked hard to provide enrichment for the GT students, and there also is an excellent district-wide coordinator, Peggy Buss, who is continually advocating for the needs of the gifted children. However, this is not the case in all school districts around the state. She worries about what will happen to GT in her district when Peggy is no longer the coordinator. Currently, there is no statewide coordination of the GT program, and if HB 301 is passed, there will be no protection of GT because there will be no regulations to address the IEP and due process rights of parents and no procedural safeguards. Number 0490 DOROTHY CORBETT testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She is a parent of a child in GT. She said the draft of HB 301, Sec. 14.30.315 is inadequate for providing education of exceptional children who are gifted. Specifically on page 4, line 14, the use of the word "may" is not adequate and should be changed to "will." Since there is no one in EED in GT services, she urged the committee to direct the EED to provide GT staffing. While it is true that the IDEA funds cannot be used for gifted student services, there is funding planned under federal Senate Bill as to elementary and secondary education act. To receive these funds Alaska needs to have a GT program in place and someone at the state level to apply for and administer these funds. She commented that Bob Briggs said earlier that the EED did not take time to develop a body of law for the state of Alaska, but instead referred to federal law repeatedly in order to satisfy the requirements of the IDEA. Other states have not dropped the ball on this but have split the special education bill into two roughly symmetrical parts: one for the disabled and special student and one for the gifted and special student, and noted that some students may fall into both categories. She urged a similar rewrite to Sec. 14.30.315. Number 0382 SUSAN SISSON testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She is the parent of a ten-year-old GT student. It is inconceivable to her, as a parent of a very gifted child, who comes with all the quirks of being gifted, as well as the intellect, to imagine their lives in the public school system at this point in time without the support of the gifted program. Her son relies on having that time each week to work at his own capabilities and not be held back by the rest of the classroom. This is a child who entered kindergarten reading on the 12.9 grade level who was in class with children learning the letter of the week. He used to come home and practically cry, "Mom, why do I have to do this, I know this." There are similar struggles in fourth grade. The GT program enables her son to stay in the public school system. She does not know how she would manage to keep her son in a regular classroom without him becoming a severe behavior problem if he does not have some outlet for his capabilities. She urged the committee to keep the GT programs in the special education programs in the state of Alaska. Number 0285 LIZANNE HANSON testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She is a parent of a GT student. She suggested looking at the bigger picture. Most people would agree that children who experience developmental disabilities should have some kind of individualized education plan put in place. The gifted children who will be the future leaders need to be served also. Those are the children who will become bored in the regular classroom, and they're the ones who will drop out. Regulations are needed at the state level for these children. Number 0155 PAMELA BICKFORD testified via teleconference from Anchorage. She asked to reserve her testimony for Thursday. If the hearing isn't reopened on Thursday, she will submit her written testimony. Number 0134 MARY KLUGHERZ testified via teleconference from Ketchikan. She agreed with everything that has been said by the parents and students in Fairbanks. She believes the issue is state leadership. She shared her experience with her nine-year-old gifted son. He was ahead of his peers when he entered school, and the school district refused to test him for GT because "there was not a program until he would be in third grade" which was in violation of the statutes. The next two years were spent using the statutes and regulations as a guide and working through the system to get her son qualified for services. After the district refused twice to test her son, again in violation of statutes, he was tested at his parents' expense. Using the procedural safeguards currently in place, it took two long years to get him what he needed in educational services. These services consist of an appropriate education plan that meets his special needs. Without the procedural safeguards that have been in place for the past 30 years, he would have nothing. That was not the end of it. At the beginning of third grade this year, there was a good appropriate education plan in place, however, the teacher refused to implement it. Her son was miserable and was not given challenging work. TAPE 00-41, SIDE A Number 0001 MS. KLUGHERZ told the committee that a psychologist said that if her son's intellectual needs were not being met, he would be at serious risk for depression, among other things. Using the statutory procedural safeguards as a backup, the situation was resolved by making adjustments in his curriculum. He is now happy and thriving in his learning environment. A gifted child needs a stimulating, challenging curriculum for his/her mental health. Without the intellectual challenge, gifted children are at serious risk for depression, suicide, behavior problems and school dropouts. Without the state safeguards and protections for gifted children, she and her husband would be nowhere with their son. They realized that they will continue to meet resistance by various individuals in the school district when it comes to providing the necessary curriculum for their child. These procedural safeguards that are currently in place are essential to protect the rights of these children. MS. KLUGHERZ noted there are thousands of gifted children in Alaska, and many districts will not make the effort to find these children. Without keeping the statutes in place, gifted children will no longer have the opportunity to be provided with an appropriate education in Alaska's schools. By not protecting these children with statutes and ensuring them procedural safeguards, she feels that the state will be violating their right to a free and appropriate education. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked Ms. Klugherz what are the procedural safeguards she mentioned. Number 0176 MS. KLUGHERZ said the statutes currently refer to both children with learning disabilities and children that are gifted and talented. Everything that applies to a child with a learning disability also applies to a gifted child. At this point the state is trying to make the state statutes come into compliance with the federal statutes for children with disabilities. Because the federal IDEA doesn't cover gifted and talented children, all those statutes that currently apply to those populations and eliminating them all for the GT children except for two. Number 0265 PAM ROTH testified via teleconference from Ketchikan. She is a parent of a GT student in Ketchikan. She urged the committee to include GT in HB 301. Without state leadership, the GT program is not likely to happen at the local level. Her personal experience is that the GT program is essential. It has been a lifeline for her nine-year-old child. His boredom in the regular classroom led to problems of self-esteem and depression. Through his IEP, the situation was addressed and remedied. Taking GT out of this bill is a gross omission for a whole population of children that deserve safeguards. Ideally, a separate piece of legislation needs to be written for GT, but until that time GT needs to be included in HB 301. Number 0358 MARGO WARING came forward to testify. She is a parent of a gifted child. She supports the inclusion in HB 301 of the procedural safeguards that have been in place for 30 years for gifted children. It made sense to legislators 30 years ago, and it still makes sense. She hopes the committee will move that into HB 301. She believes that the EED in its effort to separate gifted from special education services is dropping very needed coverage from a group of students who also need specially designed educational services. The EED does have funds that can be reallocated, if necessary, to cover the small cost that might be incurred by the continued use of the procedural safeguards by parents of gifted students. She indicated that Section 9, page 4, lines 11-17, is inadequate both in terms of making inclusion of elements of a gifted program discretionary by not having an effective date and primarily by not also including those procedural safeguards. She shared copies of an amendment that would provide those procedural safeguards, and she encouraged the committee to adopt the amendment. Number 0526 ROBERT SEWELL came forward to testify. He is a parent of gifted child. He told the committee that the gifted and talented students are markedly underserved in many districts; in some districts they are grossly underserved. The extent of service varies highly across districts but often times occurs only in the context of the procedural safeguards which HB 301 is about to eliminate. He is greatly concerned about that. He urged the committee to rectify what is about to occur. These students can and do study at several grade levels above where they are chronologically. It also involves a significantly different curriculum and sometimes educational counseling. He fears the elimination of what little is left of GT services in many of the school districts. MR. SEWELL agreed with the spirit and letter of HB 301 for it is an advance for persons with disabilities. The issue now is what is now not in there. He suggested adopting something similar to Ms. Waring's suggested amendment would rectify the situation. That would mean the allowed for continued requirement of a child study team, an individual education plan and a due process hearing proviso that involves a hearing officer and the ability to grieve by parents with the district. He objects to the removal of those provisions. CHAIRMAN DYSON asked if the permissive language that allows the individual districts to treat the gifted and talented in a way it feels appropriate is inadequate; it ought to be mandated statewide and not left up to the local school district. MR. SEWELL responded absolutely. He is asking to leave the prescriptive language that historically has been part of Alaska statutes. Number 0764 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked what would be the problem of removing Section 9, Programs for Gifted Children, page 4, lines 11-17 and maintaining the statutes and regulations now without Ms. Waring's suggested amendment. MR. SEWELL answered he couldn't say what all the legal ramifications are. He believes that would mean that all the safeguards for GT would be eliminated. That is the problem. He believes that some of the districts would not do the right thing for many of the GT students. The committee took an at-ease from 4:54 p.m. to 4:55 p.m. Number 0865 JOAN DANGELI came forward to testify. She expressed her support for HB 301 hoping it will offer more oversight of the special education process. She has been in the special education process for three and a half years for her son. She suggested that on page 3, line 16, 12 months should be changed to 24 months. She shared her frustrating experience as a parent with special education for her son Quia in the Juneau School District. She only understood her position on the IEP team this past December--her third year of special education. She has just removed her son from the school district because the IEP team was not bridging the educational gap. The curriculum goals were important to her, and she brought that to the IEP team's attention for two years in a row. Her son was behind every other kindergartner in the second year so she started teaching him at home, and he is picking it up. She felt the problem was how he was being talked to. MS. DANGELI wondered if Section 4, page 3, line 11, could be amended to read "due process or mediation" because when she brought her issues up at the three and a half month mark of going through due process, she was so tired she removed her son from the school. The IDEA was created to include parents as a legal member of the team. MS. DANGELI said she didn't understand why in trying to get special education, there is an IEP that gave 24 hours of the 25 hour school week with an aide, who was by law, not permitted to bridge the educational curriculum gap because aides are considered paraprofessionals; the only person in law who could administer education is the special education teacher. One special education teacher at the elementary school for the K-2 students was with the students 24 hours of a 25 hour week, the rest was one hour speech. She wondered why he was in special education; she can get private speech therapy. MS. DANGELI noted that her son was complained about through psychologists' evaluations. She was pushed for the drug issue for three years; every doctor said no. A specialist in the EED told her for her son's specific disability, care must be taken about approaching her son with drugs; a birth defect specialist had to be seen to get the idea of the condition of the brain before hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder was diagnosed. The doctors refused to give her son drugs, but yet she was at odds with the school district for three years. Finally, she realized she wasn't taking her son to the doctor anymore for the school district. She is not going to give him drugs. MS. DANGELI is concerned about the district being able to force parents by law to keep their children in special education. There are three members of the team considered professionals: the speech pathologist, the special education teacher and the school psychologist. They all pushed the drug issue at her, but the doctors and specialists in the disability said no. MS. DANGELI referred to the report mentioned on page 2, line 10-14, and said the parents have no right to request data. She wondered why this was by the department and not the "municipals." When she tried to find out if this one teacher could humanly possibly provide special education for all of these students from K-1, if by law the aide is not allowed to, she couldn't even get the statistics. She wondered if the special education teacher has enough hours in the week to even spend time with each of the students. MS. DANGELI noted that now special education is in an inclusive model instead of an institutional model; but many students cannot learn in an inclusive model because of stimulation issues. Those students need a quieter room. She has suggested that for two years for her son and has never gotten it. She was told there was no merit in her concern. She would observe her son, and he cannot even hear the teacher. Nobody tended to him to get the lesson. MS. DANGELI is concerned with the reporting. She wondered what the value of a report is if people can't find out who is doing what and if the job is being done with all the money. She referred to page 4, line 27, and said she agrees with Mr. Briggs. She feels it was her right to walk away from this district. "If they weren't teaching him in the school, I don't want them in my home." She found the whole process tiring. She wondered if parents should be forced to keep their child in a situation that is not producing. She is discouraged with the process of education. Number 1349 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked Ms. Dangeli if she was not aware of her role in the IEP for two years. MS. DANGELI answered it was three years. Mr. Briggs sent her a copy of Special Education and the Law that says parents are a legal member of the team; parents are to be one of the writers of that educational plan. For three years the IEP had been handed to her to read and sign right there without even having a chance to take it home. When she read it, it was a service plan to outline the program and the services the district was legally required by law to provide. It was four pages of "Quia will..." other than the word encourage being listed twice. She rewrote the IEP herself with two specialists at the EED and PARENTS, Inc. and said "From now until year twelfth grade, I will give the IEP to you to sign," respecting good input. What she went up against on the IEP team was disrespect. CHAIRMAN DYSON closed the public hearing on HB 301. [HB 301 was heard and held.] ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Health, Education and Social Services Committee meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m.