Susan's Blog

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Keep Your Filthy, Greedy Hands Off My Kid

The Boston Globe has gotten stupid all over me. They may be recharging their old campaign to disembowel special education in Massachusetts. A few years ago Kate Zernike wrote a series of alleged investigative articles to determine the feasibility of Maximum Feasible Benefit, the lynchpin of Chapter 766 (which is the Massachusetts special education law, in addition to the federal IDEA). MFB lost in the State House; Thomas Finneran led that charge as the then “Speaker for Life,” which, like the “Thousand Year Reich,” only lasted a few years, thank God. Finneran was later investigated under allegations of gerrymandering, which did not actually stick, and he went on to a cushy job in the private sector. Anyway, because of people like Ms. Zernike and Mr. Finneran, and many spineless representatives and senators, (the kind with the lower case “s”) it was decided that kids with special needs did not need to be educated to their maximum potential, but rather, to the much lower national standard of “Free and Appropriate Education,” FAPE. and so thousands of kids in Massachusetts found it even harder to get any kind of education at all, let alone anything near their potential.

But that was only the beginning. Since the loss of MFB, this state has cut education funding over and over, so that now towns and cities are doing things like closing schools, cutting athletics and the arts, cutting down on staff and overcrowding classes, and letting physical repair lag. But we say we value children.

So the Globe and others have decided to take another look at what expenses they may cut, rather than doing with really needs to be done: raise taxes at the state level and give it back to the schools and towns. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s make sure we don’t have any more fatal cave-ins on any of our major roads, like what happened in that tunnel on 93. Their solution is to target the most vulnerable children in the population: kids who, like Nat, have private transportation to their school programs.

Here is my letter to the editor, which was published, along with another terrific ballbuster, in today’s Globe:

YOU SUGGEST that the new school superintendent, Carol Johnson, take a good look at some of the special education students who receive door-to-door transportation to school programs, with the idea that cutting down on this will save millions. A careful eye in a superintendent is always a good thing; but how effective are the solutions proposed by the Globe?

Will school systems save money if they have to train monitors to really be able to handle what they will come up against? The issue here is not only whether students can find their way to a bus stop; there are problems with behavior – in special- and regular-ed students – that one questionably trained bus monitor may not be able to manage.

What’s more, the insinuation that door-to-door service has become a “salve” for the parents of special-ed students implies that we are somehow wounded by our children’s challenges. Rather, it is articles like yours, which suggest that we are miserable and grasping, that hurt and offend.


Take dat, you bastads, as my grandmother would say.


It might be even more complicated by some other things going on too. But Go Get Em Susan!

Linked for your perusal, another phub bloggers current dilemma with school transport:

— added by Patrick on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 5:18 pm

What a great letter! Salve, indeed.

— added by Anonymous on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 6:26 pm

Frightening since we are just dipping our toe into the waters of MA SPED…

Jack’s only 4. I’m scared. 🙁

— added by Judith Ursitti on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 9:05 pm

Nevermind that Chance’s entire day is a worry to me..every time the phone rings. (He is still on a waiting list for in-home ABA therapy.) Each morning and afternoon I get this awful anxiety about the bus stop. Some days are just great. Other days I end up bringing him to school just to smooth something over. I still don’t trust him to walk the half block home. -Tina G.

— added by Anonymous on Friday, September 28, 2007 at 8:27 pm

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