ASL Version of following Legislative Update – April 18, 2016

Good news on Funding for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School
We got good news this week in both the House and the Senate. Funding for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School is included in Omnibus Education Finance bills in both the House and the Senate. This is a good sign for it becoming law this year.

However, the bill still has many steps left in the process, including several more committee hearings and being voted on by the full House and Senate. Then, because the rest of the House and Senate versions of the bill are different from each other, it will need to go to a Conference Committee to work out the differences.

We will keep you posted on its progress as it moves forward.

Action Alert – Please contact your senator or representative if they are on the Education Finance Committee and thank them for including funding for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School in the Omnibus bill. You can find your representative at the Legislative Coordinating Commission’s (LCC) Who Represents Me Map. The list of the members of the Education Finance Committees are below.

• If you do not live in one of their districts, but know people who do, please ask them to write or call. It is important that legislators hear from the people they represent.
• Please send an email or call. Sample emails and talking points below. You can either cut and paste from below, or even better, change it into your own words and add your own story.
• Please also consider submitting a variation of this text as a letter to your local newspaper (Just change the first sentence to say, I thank Representative ___ (or Senator _________)(fill in the name of your local legislator) for including…).

Talking Points:
• Thank you for including funding for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School in the Omnibus bill.
• The Pre-K years are critical for language development.
• The Metro Deaf School is the only school in the metro area that provides immersion in ASL.
• Some school districts are refusing to allow parents to choose the Metro Deaf School for Pre-K. They argue that their deaf / hard of hearing instruction is sufficient, even if it includes little or no instruction in ASL.
• We need to ensure that all Pre-K children have access to language. This small appropriation ($69,000) will take us closer to that reality.
• Deaf children should not have to wait until they go to kindergarten, when the law allows their parents to choose the Metro Deaf School, for these kids to learn language.

View sample e-mail and contact list for legislators on http://mn.gov/deaf-commission

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