Preschool and Lead Exposed Kids: The IDEA Just Isn’t Good Enough
29 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2018 Last revised: 14 Jan 2019
Date Written: December 7, 2018
The Flint Water Crisis exposed thousands of fetuses, infants and young children to lead, a neurotoxin that is unsafe for humans at any level of exposure. Each child is likely to experience some level of cognitive, behavioral or emotional harm. With access to high level preschool, however, the child may experience less long-term harm and arrive in kindergarten better prepared to learn.
Universal preschool should be a no-brainer in Flint and in the hundreds of other places where lead exposure is chronic. The case for preschool is so strong that special funding was provided for Flint’s children, but only for a limited period of time. As this article explains, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), with its reliance on individualized evaluations and remedies, provides no guarantee that each lead-exposed child will be provided with preschool. This group instead needs systemic changes in early education so that each of them is identified early, using only the simplest diagnostic filters, and offered high quality preschool for at least a year.
Keywords: lead poisoning, universal preschool, idea, Flint Michigan, drinking water, neurotoxin, special education, fape, ebll,
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