Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her corporate friends are about dumping civil rights protections regarding IDEA. Special education has become a means to transform public education into choice and charter schools while ending student services.
This is done by defunding special education and convincing parents that services don’t matter. Dismantling services in public schools shouldn’t be allowed. It destroys IDEA protections and drives parents to seek vouchers.
Below I list one of the corporations working to end special education.
It’s important to remember what life was like before IDEA and not go backwards in time to when children did not get the services they deserved due to learning difficulties.
Instead of advocating for more funding support, which should be in her job description, DeVos is working to create opportunity scholarships.
Students could wind up in unaccountable online charters, parochial schools, or segregated (students with disabilities only) private schools. Most of these schools are selective and there’s no guarantee they will keep students with learning or behavioral difficulties.
Here’s how services are dissolved in public schools. If you are a parent or teacher and have noticed other ways special ed. is being slowly eliminated let me know.
- Instead of celebrating differences children must conform to standards.
- When students can’t pass standardized tests teachers are considered failures.
- Special education with individualized assistance is described negatively.
- The IEP process becomes confusing, time consuming, and irrelevant.
- Inclusion is made to look like it’s the only right placement.
- Students wind up in large classes with little special assistance.
- When children don’t get academic support parents are told there are better options.
- Children get vouchers to schools with no public oversight.
- These schools may remove the child if they have learning or behavioral difficulties.
- Students are put on computers for unproven “personalized learning.”
- Parents are encouraged to place their child online at home, or in a charter school.
- Children wind up without quality services.
Truthout recently illustrated the drive to end special ed. in a post titled “Does ‘Special Ed’ Serve Students? Disability Activists Say No.” In referencing IDEA they say If only the education provided were as good as it sounds on paper.
Who are the activists?
We’re linked to, “An Advocate’s Guide to Transforming Special Education: Creating Schools Where All Students Can Thrive.” This is published by Innovate Public Schools, an anti-public school group out of California funded by the Waltons. They’re fond of Rocketship (online) Charter Schools.
They say, For far too long, students with disabilities have been left behind. They often get segregated into classrooms with fewer resources and less challenging work. They receive an easier curriculum that does not give them the skills they need for college or for a career. They remain stuck in the same special education services, regardless of how moderate their disability may be, or how much it may change over time.
This isn’t true. IDEA reauthorizations mean that most students with moderate disabilities are now found in inclusion classes.
A blog called “Teaching Malinche” tells how Innovate Public Schools has a corporate privatizing agenda to diminish resources for local public schools and open charter schools.
Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig’s “Cloaking Inequity” also writes about Innovate Public Schools. He begins by saying, Parents and community members in San Francisco have called recently concerned about an “astroturfing” organization that has received several hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Walton Family Foundation seeking to “organize” and “innovate” in the Bay. It appears that the billionaires boy club has taken to heart calls for community-based reform (at least the appearance) as an alternative to top-down reform.
On Twitter, Innovate Public Schools highlights Rocketship and glorifies technology.
This is the end goal for special education and for all students. End special education services and transform public schools into online charters, or send students home. Provide vouchers that will provide tuition incentives for the wealthy and online charter placement for the poor.
But if we lose special education and IDEA, if it fades away like DeVos and the Waltons and all the corporations would like, what will be left for students with difficulties learning?
What if sitting a child in front of a computer screen without a real teacher doesn’t work? Where will parents turn? What kind of choices will they have then?