Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bold new words

BLOG 7/25/2017

Bold new words

Secretary DeVos recently Announced at a conference that parents of children with disabilities should not need to go to court in order to get their child a good education.  She went on to say that parents knew best what their children needed.   During her confirmation hearings DeVos Demonstrated her limited knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). She does not seem to have invested much energy in learning since then.

First of all the Secretary has never met a public education program that she liked.   She never attended a public school as a student and has always been a very strong advocate of charter schools. Whether she is aware or not charter schools have a very bad track record of being willing to serve  children with disabilities. But DeVos blIndly supports private education even to the extent of not supporting students who have been cheated by some post-secondary for profit schools.  Public schools have been the ladder that many millions of children have used to climb into higher education or good jobs.  Are there some very bad public schools?  You bet!  But the same is true of some private ones that are not very closely monitored by state departments of education 

Secondly, IDEA requires  public schools systems to purchase a non-public program for a child if the system cannot provide an appropriate program for the child. Is it too difficult for parents to access those programs, absolutely it is.  Do parents disagree on whether the public program is appropriate- yes regularly
Parents may know when a program is not working for their child. Most likely they do. Do they know what to do to fix the problem?  Most likely no.   I know when my car is not running properly but I need my mechanic to fix the problem. Sometimes I may need to visit more than one mechanic before the problem is fixed. But in the end, I always rely on an expert.

If DeVos wants more opportunities for kids with disabilities to attend private schools, there's one simple fix.  She and her boss can put more money into special education.  While Trump's budget doesn't butcher special education as it does other programs, special education is only level funded which means the funding does not come even close to the authorization in  IDEA.   Hardly supporting all of these opportunities DeVos claims to support

Deeds not words Madam Secretary.  Put up or move on to something else you know nothing about 

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