Friday, October 24, 2008

Gov. Palin on Special Needs Children

Gov. Palin gave a speech today on special needs children that mentions special education. Justin Bathon has a good summary at the Edjurist after learning that only MSNBC carried her speech:

I don't understand how vouchers would work. I am very glad, however, that the Republican ticket is promising full funding of IDEA.

Other than the early childhood issue, the only special ed specific promise of the Democratic ticket is full funding for IDEA.
So I guess that federal spending for special ed will be increased under the new President, whomever it may be.


  1. I agree that there needs to be more done about special education. We need to be able to help our special needs students in anyways possible. Funding for that will be a great thing!

  2. I agree Carlyn.

    Full funding would be good. Remember that in special ed lingo the "full" means 40%; the amount paid by the feds today is below 17%. Special ed is the largest "unfunded mandate" in our history.


  3. Jim, you missed the part where Palin said the McCain-Palin ticket would change Vocation and Rehabilitation laws to be based upon OUTCOMES. [Right now IDEA is focused on procedure, and the weight of those procedures as proof of complying with the statute is being watered down continually in DP hearings and court decisions ever since about the mid-nineties.]

    That's pretty huge.

    Also, in special ed lingo the IDEA's so-called 40% "full funding" was intended to be 40% of the EXCESS costs -- not the full cost. We have to remember that before IDEA was enacted, Section 504 mandated a FAPE, which includes special education, and there was NO funding included with that statute. Therefore I heartily disagree with you that special ed is the largest "unfunded mandate" in our history, and I think that saying so contributes to the perception in our schools that educating kids with handicaps is a "burden" -- financial or otherwise. It's been over thirty years since IDEA -- let's get over whining about it and how about instead complying with it.

    I find it odd that reasonable, seemingly intelligent people can all agree that asking for extra funds to educate kids of a different color, creed, gender or socio-economic status to a different, separate standard is blatant discrimination, yet when we talk about disabled children (by either 504 or IDEA standards) it is perfectly okay to say a law is an "unfunded mandate" or to use different (usually substandard) educational benchmarks.

    People need to understand the concept that we should not have to pay schools "extra" money to educate disabled kids anymore than we should have to give schools extra money to educate black kids, islamic kids or poor kids. How 'bout just teach all the kids, and quit whining about unfunded mandates, which only serves to perpetuate discrimination and excuses for poor educational outcomes.