Special Ed Parents Rally at the State Capitol

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Parents of special education students rallied at the Capitol Tuesday, against proposed changes to the way their children are schooled.

Changes at the federal level, to avoid discrimination, require all special education students be allowed to attend school year round, 230 days instead of the standard 180. Currently, only severely impaired students are automatically allowed to attend school year round. State officials say Michigan will lose $400 million in federal funding if it doesn't comply with the changes.

Parents like Barbara Watkins believe their children benefit from the extra days. They fear their special ed students will get lost in all of this and school districts will end up cutting services.

State Board of Education President Kathleen Straus stressed that's not the case. Angry parents shouted back while she was speaking.

Marcie Lipsitt, parent of a special ed student and chair of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education, says she wants Governor Granholm to give back the decision making power, regarding special education, to the State Board of Education. Lipsitt says, currently, the state superintendent has that power.

The state is taking public comment on the issue until July 20.