One of my great frustrations being a school board member here in Manchester is our financial inability to keep up with the overwhelming needs of our students. Although the local taxpayer has taken on much of the burden in the past few years we receive fewer and fewer dollars from the state and federal government and yet every year have more unfunded mandates handed down.

A lot of people don’t realize this but about one in four Americans in this country are disabled. Most of us have family, friends, or neighbors with disabilities.

What drew me to Andrew Yang wasn’t that he understood the barriers children and people with disabilities face, because he has a son with autism. It was when, on the debate stage in December, he said “We need to stop confusing economic value with human value. We have to be able to say to our kids that you have intrinsic value because you’re an American and you’re a human being.”

The Freedom Dividend will go a long way to helping families of children with disabilities. But Andrew Yang proposes to go further. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires schools to provide students with disabilities the services and support they need. It promises to cover 40% of all costs for children with disabilities in public schools. Yet, to date Congress has covered less than 15% of the funds they promised.

Andrew Yang would not only demand Congress live up to its pledge to provide $20 billion in funds but would expand IDEA funding by $50 billion to meet 100% of funding requirements for children with disabilities in public schools, to promote inclusion and integration. This would free up local tax dollars we currently provide to cover IDEA requirements and would be a game changer for ALL Manchester school children.

If we want to ensure all our children grow up to become adults that are integrated into our communities and workforce, then we need to give them all the tools and support they need early on. There’s no point in beating around the bush. 100% IDEA funding and providing incentives for educators in special education and training for daycares are the solutions needed.

I’m with Andrew Yang it’s time we invest in all of our people, especially our children.

Monday, February 17, 2020
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IN THE SEVEN presidential elections since 1992, the Republican presidential nominee has won the popular vote exactly once. The lone GOP candidate to receive a majority of the national vote was George W. Bush in 2004. Bush’s election-day victory over Democrat John Kerry, who had, in most obse…

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MATT SCHLAPP, chairman of the American Conservative (cough) Union, which hosts the annual CPAC conference, tweeted that he was disinviting Mitt Romney from the confab this year because he “could not guarantee his physical safety” after the senator voted to convict Donald Trump in the impeach…

Saturday, February 15, 2020
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FROM the day he entered the race, Joe Biden was the great hope of the Democratic establishment to spare them from the horrifying prospect of a 2020 race between The Donald and Bernie Sanders.

Friday, February 14, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
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“SHOUT OUT, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet!” said the prophet Isaiah, which we read in church on Sunday, but nobody shouted. We are flatlanders, brought up to be still and behave ourselves and listen to instructions, but if the instruction is to shout out and raise your …

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

LAST MONDAY’S Iowa caucuses were an epic failure for Democrats. Thanks to a star-crossed ballot-tabulation program written by alumni of the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, final results were still unavailable as of early Thursday morning. The party that is desperate to control every Ame…

It’s comforting, no doubt, to believe that Donald Trump has survived the impeachment trial because he possesses a tighter hold on his party than did Barack Obama or George W. Bush or any other contemporary president. In truth, Trump, often because of his own actions, has engendered less loya…

During his floor speech explaining his vote to convict Donald Trump, Mitt Romney was overcome by emotion and paused to compose himself. The intense moment came when he spoke of his devotion to God, saying: "I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am." Lump in throat. Lon…

Sunday, February 09, 2020

JUST AS he has done throughout his business career and personal life, Donald Trump bullied his way through being only the third President in history to be impeached. He was not removed from office by the Senate — not because he was found “not guilty”, but because he threatened, stonewalled a…

Saturday, February 08, 2020
Friday, February 07, 2020

Leslie Want represents Manchester’s Ward 4 on the Board of School Committee.