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Delaware school funding debate to continue into 2019

A WDDE article predicts that unresolved political arguments about education funding will continue into the 2019 legislative session. Several notable disagreements center on whether the state is spending too much money on special education services and too little on services for low-income children and English Language Learners. Some argue that falling scores on math and English standardized tests among third graders receiving special education services suggest the state’s spending on special education is ineffective and should be reduced.

man in wheelchair in office
Hiring people with disabilities is good business

In an op-ed, disability rights lawyer and Connecticut state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. argues that businesses employing and accommodating people with disabilities see significant improvements in their finances. Kennedy cites a recent study of 140 companies with an average revenue of $43 billion. He says the research shows higher revenue, net income and profit margins among companies that hire, encourage and advance people with disabilities, and that provide reasonable accommodations and mentoring programs.

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Turned down for federal disability payments, thousands die waiting for appeals to be heard

The number of deaths is rising among people who appealed a Social Security Disability Insurance denial but did not receive a ruling in time. In 2017, there were more than 10,000 such deaths. The Social Security Administration says the average appeal wait time is 540 days, but points out that 540 days are fewer than in previous years – and that aging Baby Boomers are causing an unprecedented surge in applications, while federal funding has decreased. Legislation proposed four years ago to mitigate the problem still awaits a hearing.

homeless man in Wilmington Delaware
The truth about homelessness in Delaware

Among the common beliefs about homelessness that research indicates are wrong, according to a News Journal article, is that federal disability benefits alone are enough to pay for housing. Information provided by the nonprofit Housing Alliance Delaware indicates that the average one-bedroom apartment has a rent almost $200 higher than Delaware’s monthly Supplemental Security Income payment.

Finnigan Madison, a UD student with autism, speaks with Spectrum Scholars graduate assistant Kerry Pini (standing) at the Spectrum Scholars launch in September.
A place for all to shine

The University of Delaware Magazine profiles the UD and JPMorgan Chase collaboration to create Spectrum Scholars, a 10-year program supporting UD undergrads on the autism spectrum pursuing careers in electrical engineering and computer science. In seeking to boost employment opportunities for individuals on the spectrum, the program will also offer training in areas like effective communication to UD faculty, staff and community businesses. Administered by CDS, Spectrum Scholars will accept between 5 and 8 students per year, starting in Fall 2019.