Editorial: Lawmakers must remove barrier to helping students


A recent editorial by the Youngstown Vindicator:

Ohio parents have enough on their minds as children start back to school for the year. Whether an outdated requirement imposed by Columbus is going to keep their children from having the educational resources they need should not be one of those worries.

To that end, state Senate Bill 356, sponsored by state Sen. Andrew Brenner, R-Delaware, is meant to amend the code “regarding the education of children experiencing developmental delays and state operating funding for districts and schools educating them.”

It would increase the maximum age for children to be diagnosed as needing special education services from less than 6 to less than 10.

“Unfortunately, (some) children were diagnosed, you know, age 7, 8, 9 and even, you know, 10 years old,” Brenner told News5Cleveland. “And then they could not get the services, they were cut off from the funding that was available coming through the feds for these disability services.”

Brenner called this a “no-brainer” type of bill, and he’s right. It seems absurd lawmakers haven’t already made the change. But, as one parent pointed out, the matter must be resolved “well and quickly.” As she told News5Cleveland the politicians are running out of time for this school year.

It is a shame to say that if lawmakers know something is a “no-brainer,” and it must be handled properly and with some sense of urgency, there is no guarantee they will do so.

They must.

COVID and other challenges already have put too many Ohio kids behind when it comes to their education and development. Lawmakers must not become the reason some face an even tougher challenge during yet another school year.

— Youngstown Vindicator, August 20, 2022