Delaware lawmakers seek special education expansion

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    Delaware’s youngest public school students would have more special education options if a bill introduced Wednesday becomes law.

    The proposed expansion would provide basic special education for students grades K through 3, add 130 teachers, and cost around $11 million. The bill’s sponsors say early intervention for special-needs students would save the state money long-term.

    “By not assessing the education preparedness of our kids and not applying corrective measures at the earliest stages, we are unwittingly growing Delaware’s population of at-risk youth,” said Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, one of the bill’s sponsors, in a statement.

    Delaware offers three types of special education: complex, intensive, and basic. Students in grades 4 through 12 receive all three types of special education, while Delaware’s youngest receive only the first two. Students receiving complex special education have the highest-level needs, followed, in order, by those receiving intensive and basic.

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    The United States Department of Education cited Delaware last summer for poor special education, threatening intervention if the state did not improve. It was one of just three states to receive a “needs intervention” label.

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