A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's time to redefine what a "free public education" means

Hopefully, the Supreme Court will use some sense on this one.
The Supreme Court will try again to resolve the difficult issue of when taxpayers must foot the bill for private schooling for special education students.

The court agreed Friday to hear an appeal from an Oregon school district that contends students should at least give public special education programs a try before seeking reimbursement for private school tuition.

A federal appeals court sided with a high-school student identified in court papers only as T.A., who enrolled in a $5,200-a month private program and sought reimbursement from the Forest Grove School District.

The Supreme Court heard a similar case from New York in 2007, but split 4-4 on the outcome.

The case is Forest Grove School District v. T.A., 08-305.

If you want to go to a private school, pay for it yourself through scholarships or loans like the rest of us. And when will any consideration be made about how lawsuits like this damage the educations of all the rest of the students in the district-- those who will be making do with much less and eventually trying to make their way in the world?

I've seen this kind of thing happen-- a parent decided to suddenly halt giving his child the prescriptions that had kept her from suffering terrible delusions and tics and other psychological difficulties, so that the student would struggle and act out, and then the parent could sue the school district to pay for an incredibly expensive private school. And he didn't care how much his daughter suffered while this went on. But those that spent hours with her every day watched her decline into near madness. It was horrible. And wrong.

A few years later, I ran into this monster, and he actually bragged about what he had tried to do-- and was angry that he hadn't prevailed in the courts. And the type of medication that his daughter was taking wasn't the type which was supposed to be summarily withdrawn, and the girl was never the same.

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At 1/18/09, 10:18 AM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Wow. As a parent, I can't even imagine anyone doing such a thing.

At 1/18/09, 12:58 PM, Blogger Lightly Seasoned said...

I have exactly this situation going on right now.

At 1/18/09, 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such an abuse of the system.

We have several special programs in my district. A student from my school was at one before I started at there. My first year I was asked to round up a computer and printer for this student. I was okay with this, until 6 months later when my principal told me that computer had been broken and I needed to find another one for the student. Which meant I had to take one out of a class of 18 (one they had never broken - BTW) to give to one student who couldn't take care of the first one. I found this grossly unfair when we were not only paying for this child to go to a special program, but the school board also wasn't giving me money to buy new computers for the students in our own building.

I think it is very wrong when the needs of one so strongly outweigh the needs of the many.

At 1/18/09, 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate it when this happens.

We currently have a poor student whom we suspect the parents are trying to get sent away to a home for emotionally disturbed kids. Because the young lady doesn't roll over and do exactly what her parents want.

Sure, she's a handful - because she's damned smart, and stubborn to boot. But if her parents would just back off a bit, and quit being so controlling, they'd get along with their daughter much better.

It's sad. And seriously? If they don't want her, I'd LOVE to adopt her myself. She's a wonderful kid.


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