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View Diary: Romney's radical plan for Title I and IDEA (63 comments)

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  •  I don't know how it works in Utah. My little (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leap Year, kurt, koosah, Temmoku, JanL, pedmom

    knowledge of the subject is from New Jersey and is about twenty years out of date. As I understood it, the school district has to provide each child with an appropriate education. If a child has special needs and the school district is unable to provide for them, the school district has to pay for the child to attend another school, either a different public school or a private school. In that sense, the money is, in fact, following the child anyway.

    I'm sure someone here will correct me about this if I'm wrong. I know this second hand because my mother is a certified K-8 English teacher, a licensed school social worker and a certified special education teacher in New Jersey. She is currently retired, or she would be if we could make her sit down.

    My point is that those children should be able to attend those special programs without vouchers.

    •  Yes, good point: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, Temmoku, JanL, ladybug53, pedmom

      we shouldn't, and don't need a voucher system for kids to get a free and appropriate public education.

      It's not quite the case that any special education student can enroll in private schools and expect the exact same services that the public school was providing.

      IDEA uses a concept called "proportionate share": it's a somewhat complicated formula, but it allows for some private-school students to receive services through their local public school district. In my district, for example, there is a private Catholic school. Our district has to provide speech/language assessments for parents who request it. We have to provide speech therapy to their students who qualify, if there is proportionate share money remaining for that school year (there is never enough to cover everyone).

      And of course there have been plenty of court cases from parents suing school districts to pay for their child's private placement - some successfully, some not.

      •  One of the reasons I mentioned that my mother (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leap Year, koosah, Temmoku, JanL, ladybug53

        had worked as a school social worker is because she had to find appropriate placements for students who couldn't be accommodated by the small school system in which she worked. Luckily, northern New Jersey is one of the most densely populated regions of the country and most kids could be accommodated somewhere nearby. Public schools were in many cases preferred because there was, and I believe still is, and emphasis on mainstreaming, or keeping kids in with the general population as much as possible. Private schools that take learning disabled children or children with other problems were usually special schools that were only for a relatively narrow population. People don't want to have to send their child to a school like that. One of the reasons my mother quit working as a social worker and went back to school to become a special ed teacher was because she couldn't take the stress. She's talked about how hard it was taking a parent to a private school like that and how they'd frequently cry all the way home.

        Of course, in that sort of situation, the school district is obligated by law not only to find an appropriate placement and to pay for the school if necessary but also to arrange for transportation. Think of it, with vouchers you might not have a professional hired at public expense helping you find the best placement for your child. You might have to research schools all on your own. My mother knew off the top of her head the different special programs all the schools in the area had and some significant programs that weren't nearby.

        •  Yes i did that job for 5 years (5+ / 0-)

          but Nj was way out front doing this years ago...not all the schools are private, in fact many are public, county schools set up to deal with these disabilities. By the way, it was the best job in the world. But stressful as hell, yes, for me due to the lawyers and paperwork. I could dealwith crying parents.  you'd cry too if you had to deal with some of these problems.

      •  our district used (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leap Year, ladybug53

        to use their proportionate share in a similar way -- providing speech therapy for any child who needed it, whether enrolled in public or private school. However, our fund has shrunk to about $25k a year. There are about 100 private schools in this community so that $ goes very quickly. The district and private school heads determined the best use would be consultation services.

        By law (I'm in CA) we must assess all children, and we offer consultation to children who qualify for services but choose to remain in private schools.

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