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The Overturning of Roe, and CT’s New Special Education Data System

Educational Inequity and the Overturning of Roe:

The US Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday has had a deep emotional impact across the nation at large—and education groups throughout the country. Education Week points out that the decision "is likely to affect school systems for generations," citing as possible long-term implications: nationwide shifts in student needs, increased incidences of childhood neglect, upticks in teen pregnancies, and growing childcare needs for the female-dominated educator workforce.

Here in Connecticut, the General Assembly passed a bill this legislative session to strengthen abortion protections. The new law expands the types of personnel who can perform vacuum aspiration, the most common method of in-clinic abortion. It also establishes a first-in-the-nation "safe harbor" protection for medical providers and women seeking abortion from out-of-state. Local abortion providers accordingly anticipate seeing a surge in patients from across the country who need access to care. (See this interesting analysis from CT Post's Jordan Fenster on how Connecticut's new safe harbor policy might play out in the face of inter-state extradition laws.)

According to a CT Insider article, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England CEO Amanda Skinner also points out that not everyone can travel thousands of miles for an abortion. In other words, the Supreme Court’s decision will disproportionately harm low-income communities, people of color, and people living in rural areas—further exacerbating myriad inequities in the nation’s health and education systems. Janee Woods Weber, Executive Director of the Connecticut Women's Educational and Legal Fund, observes that removing the right to choose will also undermine educational attainment, with serious effects on the lifetime earnings for impacted communities. On Monday, about 100 protestors rallied outside Hartford City Hall in opposition to the Supreme Court decision. The Hartford Courant's coverage notes that some spoke about the intersectionality between abortion, racism, police brutality, economic inequality, and other issues.

With Independence Day ironically around the corner—we join many in mourning the end of Roe. It will take time for America to unpack the moral, legal, and social consequences of this unfortunate decision.

CT’s New Special Education Data System:

Connecticut will launch a new comprehensive statewide Special Education Data System (CT-SEDS) this Friday, July 1, 2022. CT-SEDS is the result of a partnership between the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and Public Consulting Group that began in September 2020. It will create an online portal that will allow families and Planning and Placement Teams (PPTs) to access students' individualized education plan (IEP) documents and related information. According to CSDE slides from April, the launch of this new portal accompanies a companion project to revise the IEP documents that record special education supports and services. The redesigned form is intended to be more user-friendly and adaptive, and to better support the decision-making process during PPTs. The state is also training educators involved in PPTs and IEP development on these new processes. A 2020 presentation by the Bureau of Special Education on the IEP redesign can be viewed here.

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