LANSING, MI – State Representative George T. Darany (D-Dearborn) joined the Michigan Alliance for Special Education at a rally on the state capitol steps on August 29. The rally was held to encourage more transparency and accountability when developing and implementing special education policy in Michigan. Representative Darany was also joined at the rally by Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor) and Representative Tim Greimel (D-Pontiac).
“It is no secret how critical our children’s education is to their success and the future of this state. We must remain committed to ensuring that our schools have the resources available to provide every child with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel,” Darany said. “This is why we need to revise the special education programs and services in Michigan so that the needs of every child in this state are met and I am pleased to be working on legislation that will help accomplish this goal.”
In 1996, an executive order was issued that removed much of the authority the State Board of Education had over special education. This was done by transferring the rulemaking power and administrative responsibilities to the state superintendent of public instruction. This shift has allowed Michigan’s intermediate school districts to stray from state guidelines and responsibilities on a number of issues, including how many students can be in a classroom or how many students are assigned to one teacher’s caseload.
“In the years that have followed since this executive order was issued, our special education teachers have experienced a tremendous increase in their caseloads and classroom sizes have grown dramatically,” Darany said. “Our teachers are not only overburdened and overstressed, but our students are not getting the education they need and deserve. It is time that we stand up and are truly responsive to the children for whom these laws are written. We must ensure that a quality education for every child in this state is a top priority if we are going to move Michigan forward.”
As a member of the House Education Committee, Rep. Darany is encouraged by the wide range of bipartisan support the legislation has received as it begins to move through the legislative process.