Possible Task Force to Examine Learning Needs of Visually Impair - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Possible Task Force to Examine Learning Needs of Visually Impaired

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DOVER, Del. – A Delaware Senator introduced legislation regarding the educational needs of students with visual impairments.

In the bill, introduced by Sen. Dave Lawson (R-Marydel), lawmakers seek to create a task force to determine if the educational needs of students with visual impairments are being met in Delaware.

Lawmakers say the bi-partisan bill, co-prime sponsored by Sens. Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes), David McBride (D-Hawk's Nest), Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown) and Sen. Nicole Poore (D-New Castle), would establish the Blind and Visually Impaired Education Task Force.

“Students with visual impairments have unique learning needs that must be addressed,” Sen. Lawson said. “We need to ensure that our state programs have the resources they need and are taking the necessary steps to help students who are blind or visually impaired become successful, productive adults.”

According to Lawson, the panel would examine the structure and programs offered by the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI), specifically the quality standards for teachers and related professionals serving blind and visually impaired students. The task force would also take a look at the compensation and benefits for teaching staff.

Lawmakers say the group would also assess assistive technology provisions, Individual Education Plans (IEP) for the blind and visually impaired students, and post-secondary transition planning and programming.

The task force would also examine funding sources for the DVI, which Lawson says has surpassed its legislatively mandated student-teacher ratio of 28 to 1.

“There are 33 children to one instructor, and that instructor travels to meet up with those students,” Sen. Lawson said. “How on Earth can you travel that much between 33 students?”

The 28-member task force would include lawmakers, state education and health officials, students, teachers, parents, and administrators within the state working with blind or visually impaired students.

If the bill passes, the panel would be mandated to report its recommendations and findings to the General Assembly by June 1.

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