Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remember to Vote

Tuesday is election day - although you can vote early in many states. I voted yesterday and was encouraged to learn that I was voter number 1865 already- even in my small county. I hope that the pundits who claim that this may be a record voter turnout are correct.
We never did get answers to the ten questions that we sent to the Presidential candidates, but at least some information is available. Both the Democrat and the Republican tickets have pledged "full" funding for the federal special education law, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. (Remember in the bizarro world of special ed "full" means 40%; the amount paid by the feds today is below 17%. Can you say "unfunded mandate.")

Obama favors a large investment in Early Childhood Education. This would seem to impact kids with disabilities positively. McCain (via Palin) favors a voucher/choice concept for parents that would transfer government funds to private schools. That's about all we know about either one. Here's a link to a local news story about the candidates' positions on people with disabilities in general that was submitted by a thoughtful reader:
Here is the CEC election resources page which has previously been cited on this blog
If you go through previous posts and the archives of this blog, you will find other resources regarding the candidate's positions on education.

Although we have tried to generate information relevant to the topic of this blog, we realize that few people who read this blog are single issue voters. Most folks look at the candidates' positions on many issues that concern them. They also look at temperament, character, background, and even personality. So do your duty as a citizen: study up and then be sure to vote.

There are many other exciting races further down the ballot. Maybe next we will develop ten questions for candidates for school board although some should vary by location. Remember when local bodies rather than the federal government set educational policy. The banking industry is not the only thing that has been nationalized!

Your vote counts. In four different elections in my county in the last few election cycles, elections were decided by fewer than ten votes; once the margin was only one vote! The right to decide who represents us at the ballot box wasn't free. Many have fought, many have been injured and many have died to ensure that we keep our freedoms- including the right to vote. Don't take it for granted. Regardless of which party you support, and regardless of who you are going to vote for, and regardless of the reasons for your decisions, please VOTE.

The nonpartisan League of Women voters has developed some great tools to help voters. If you don't know where your voting place is, use this helpful link:

If you want to learn who is on the ballot in your state or if you have other questions about the rules concerning voting in your area, use this link:


  1. Sarah Palin's youngest child, Trig, has Down Syndrome, and that has opened up a number of discussions about the commitment of our two presidential candidates to a number of disability-related issues. Among these are the funding of special education, ensuring the rehabilitation of military veterans with disabilities, and to other needs of the disabilities community. If you haven't read Paul Longmore's well-researched and thoughtful open letter on the two presidential candidates' positions on disability, I think that you might find some of the answers he gives to be very helpful in making your choice for our next president. Here's the link: I think that what Longmore says will leave you thinking about much more than disability.

    As the parent of two self-determined adult children who often experienced a great deal of self-doubt in school due to barriers to the curriculum imposed on them due to specific learning disabilities, I'm in favor of reducing such barriers to education, in general. I'm specifically in favor of reducing barriers to children whose status as "disabled" or "poor" or "non-white" causes them to be needlessly removed from access to the general education curriculum and subjected to less content, instead of the same content in alternative formats. I believe that the boundaries of equity and social justice have been abridged when your home, your skin color, your ethnic origins, or your (dis)ability are considered "differences that make a difference".

    As a special educator, who achieved National Board Certification as a general educator (Early Adolescence/Generalist), I am a firm proponent of good teaching. I am especially interested in seeing the most skilled teachers working in settings where they can do great good: urban schools, as new teacher mentors, as the lead teachers for teacher interns, and as teachers in inclusive classrooms where their skills in meeting the needs of children can be put to best use.

    Of course, I understand that education, alone, may not be the "hill to die on"; that we have many interests and concerns, but a wise disability rights advocate friend of mine once reminded me that we are all only "temporarily-abled". As a person encountering some beginning age-related disabilities (considered mild by the medical profession, but every bit as confounding), as a parent and as a teacher, I care about much more than my own situation. Therefore, my concerns are for the many who are excluded from the benefits of full citizenship by virtue of "difference", in its many aspects.

    I hope we will leave our children and grandchildren with a nation that focuses its' commitment to "a more perfect union", where all of its' residents matter, and none are set aside.

    Kathleen Kosobud

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    I hope that the new administration focuses on the needs of children with disabilities.