It’s hard to believe, but over two months have passed since I went with my boys and Kevin’s TSS over to Bucks County for the ceremonial signing of HB 2. I kept thinking “I have to blog about it, I have to blog about it….” and before you know it, the summer is gone! Wow, does time fly. So despite the fact that at times my memory is shot (usually has to do with my 4-year-old’s incessant question asking in my ear!) I’m still going to do the recap even though it’s overdue.
If you remember, ever since last spring and summer (2012) I was active in advocating and lobbying for the various forms of this bill. At times is was HB 4xx (I think?) and it was SB 1115 at one time…and it was SB 1115 when Kevin and I traveled to Harrisburg to visit the various legislators. That version of the bill was ultimately hijacked and failed, but then it was reintroduced for a 7th time earlier this year by Representative O’Neill and passed unanimously. So, when it was going to be ceremonially signed at the High School in Bucks County where Rep. O’Neill used to teach special ed, we were invited as a special guest.
Ok, let’s talk about the pink elephant and get that out of the way. No, overall I’m not a fan of Governor Corbett’s. He has made many decisions that I am not in agreement with, and other than reducing the wait list for adults with disabilities (by 10%) I can’t think of much that he has done that I like. Still, I think it’s an honor to be invited to meet a sitting Governor and so I thought we should go. Yes, I laid low on my blog as far as criticisms of Governor Corbett, mainly out of courtesy and respect. Plus, I have no idea how much googling his people do before events like this, and I didn’t want it to be awkward if I was in a conversation with them. But, by no means does that mean I have suddenly become a huge fan and want to be his BFF.
We drove over to Bucks County to William Tennent High School. School was out since it was mid-June. I had pre-arranged my son’s TSS hours so that she could go with us. We dressed nicely and off we went.
There was a short ceremony and I enjoyed hearing the legislators speak. Representative O’Neill is on our team; he has a sister with intellectual disabilities and he was a special education teacher. Yes, he’s been a politician for a while, but he’s had a sibling with special needs longer than that…so I think he gets it. One thing he said in introducing Governor Corbett was something about “People need to get to know you…”
After the speakers and the signing, we were invited up on stage to meet him and for photo opps. Shaking his hand, introducing my kids to him…it was all really lovely. Meeting someone really does change your perspective. It’s much less easy for me to vilify him, having met him, if that makes sense. I’ve met a real live person–not a character from the media. I just wish it worked in reverse–I wish that he was able to meet many more families living with our struggles…I think that may change his decision making. It has hit home with me even more to try to encourage more families to get out there and get in with their legislators. Meeting people makes a difference.
Anyway, overall the event was nice but nothing very earth shattering to report. We were invited upstairs afterwards for coffee and refreshments but my kids had enough at that point and I didn’t want to risk it.
I want to thank the Arc of Pennsylvania and the Education Law Center for including my family in these efforts. The Arc of PA even included a picture of my boys in their summer newsletter (below, last page). Proud mom!
NOTE: Now that this bill has been signed, a commission has been formed to study and change the funding formula for special education. If you live in PA, contact your Representative and ask them when the Public Hearings are. I have some of them on our calendar, see tab at top of blog.