Special education was the main topic of discussion on Utah’s Senate floor Wednesday. Three bills aimed to improve student services in the state are headed to a vote.
The bills’ sponsor, Democratic Senator Gene Davis, says it’s not easy unpacking special education law for his colleagues.
"I don’t think a lot of people understand," Davis says.
Davis also points to an example of misunderstanding at the federal level.
During Betsy Devos’ recent confirmation hearing for U.S. Education Secretary, Devos was asked about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA.
“And she said we’ll leave it to the states and then she realized it was a federal law and it also came under the civil rights act," Davis says.
Better adherence to the law is the focus of the three bills Davis has introduced. One aims to speed up the process of testing a student once a parent has requested a special education evaluation.
Another seeks to smooth out transitions between public and private schools. Ensuring documents aren’t lost in the mix.
And lastly, reimbursement for additional services needed for students with Autism, who may require more assistance than they’re getting.
“What those reimbursement rates might be, we have no idea," Davis says.
Davis called this bill an "experiment" to determine how much funding is needed. Each bill has been received by the senate favorably and will move to a vote in the next few days.