Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Minions Man Gates of Hope for Special Students

The name of the game is to let as few children through the gate as possible

I swear, one of these days I'm going to write me another book. That's right. I'm going to compile a book of essays written by the parents of spec. ed kids. My, what a tawdry tale we will weave.

I could tell you about a dozen school district induced nervous breakdowns, beginning with the one I had in 2003. I could tell you tales of broken marriages, and lives laid to waste. Such horrors were not inspired by the toils of caregiving, but rather by the grueling rigors of educational advocacy.

When the book is done, I'm going to give it a snazzy title like "The Boy in the Closet; 101 True Tales of Schoolhouse Terror .

I'll bet you a thousand bucks I can't find a publisher in the world willing to touch it. Because the truth is, America really doesn't want to know. Persons with developmental delays are the last bastion of socially acceptable bigotry in this country.

The rules of the educational game aren't about educating special needs children. They never have been. There is probably a good reason behind the fact that parents and educators seldom see eye to eye when it comes to the costs involved in helping special needs students become as independent and socially functional as possible. It's called the Individual's With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This brilliantly concieved piece of legislation has never been fully funded by our lawmakers. Further, the act failed to include procedures and funds for local and state level monitoring.

So we have another lovely paper tiger from Capital Hill which cost taxpayers a fortune and did little to help disabled students. Without access to critical funding, schools have no choice other than to work hard at denying their most vulnerable students appropriate educations to the maximum extent possible, and/or without ending up in a federal penitentiary. Educating special needs children in a meaningful fashion costs a lot of money.

Once again, the Darwin rule applies. Only the parents who best survive the rigors of the educational hoop jumping contest manage to access appropriate educations for their special needs children. Sadly, by the time the Districts realize they may have to either settle valid disputes, or risk going to court, the child's early intervention years have already passed.

Ugh. Somebody bury me in a mountain of Godiva sea shells. Hopefully by the time I chew my way out, I'll be grinning again. At least until I have cause to come face to face with my own butt in a three-way mirror.

No comments: