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Helping NH Special Students Become "All They Can Be"

January 14, 2008

Concord, NH – Helping kids be all they can be -- that's the hope behind two special education bills being introduced in the New Hampshire Legislature on Wednesday. Supporters say the higher standards proposed in the legislation will ensure that kids with acquired brain injuries and others reach their full potential.

Gordon Allen is with the advocacy group NH CARES, a network of health and human services organizations. He says a closer look at New Hampshire's special education ("SPED") laws is long overdue, as they haven't been revised in 30 years.

"Every human being has potential, and communities are so much better for seeing all members of our society working and with us. It makes us a stronger and more vibrant society."

Opponents claim the reforms outlined in the bills will cost more than necessary, because they'll require the state to go beyond federal minimum standards. Supporters counter that new rules would bring the state up-to-date, especially in light of progress that has been made in many areas of special education.

In addition, Allen says providing better SPED services would actually result in lower overall costs.

"Doing it right in the beginning, and doing it right according to the best way, saves money short-term. It's better for the student, and of course, better for society."

John Robinson, Public News Service - NH