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View Diary: The Sky Has Fallen on Free Public Educational System in Michigan for Decades, nearly no one cared (77 comments)

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  •  No, it has not worked (0+ / 0-)
    And this model worked well for years
    No, it has not worked.   It may work for some kids who can cope with the environment and have other special needs, but the kids with problems with the learning environment are not served and are forced to drop out and do homeschooling.  

    It hasn't been working.   I'm asking, with great seriousness, how public schools can provide the environment and the flexibility in scheduling work time, that is needed for these particular children with special needs?   Just because the schools have not, so far, been able to help our kids, does not mean that it is OK to keep on not helping our kids.  


    •  I disagree.... (0+ / 0-)

      My children did not have severe special needs per say, but my daughter has a reading disability and son has ADD. With my Daughter, it was my former Second Grade Teacher years before (who she was BLESSED to have as her 2nd Grade teacher years later) who recognized the disability and encouraged me to test her. I THANK GOD for following my former teacher advice.

      Specifically, my Daughter received assistance she needed up to twelve grade (and in undergraduate education now) to succeed. Now, this was not without my deep involvement, pressure (in some cases) and research of Michigan Public Schools Policies and Procedures, ensuring my child received ALL THE SERVICES she was entitled too.

      With my Son, I had to be just as vigilant. Frankly even more so because as an African-American male, some instructors in K-12 would easily dismiss him based on symptomatic issues associated with his ADD, Race and Stature (he's a tall/big Young Man).

      The point is, you as a PARENT and TAX PAYER must remain vigilant. Know the Public School Procedures and Guidelines in your state as it pertain to Special Education. Don't be afraid to challenge "authority" when your child is being segmented based on a disability.

      Also, my biggest problem with the "segmentation model for children with disabilities in at-risk public school districts" are how they parents are taken advantage of by the lack of knowledge on how the "system" works. In many cases, this is not because these parents "don't care".

      Many times, parents are not educated about important resources on how the Public School System is responsible for providing EVERY CHILD with an equal, free and appropriate education up to the Twelve Grade (and in some cases beyond if necessary). It never entered my mind to pull my Children out of Public School and place them in a "Charter" or "Home School" environment.

      Sure, it was a fight. I struggled and was bewildered at times with SOME educators and their treatment of my Children with learning disabilities.

      Yet, in turn, I had no problem taking the debate to the next level (and up to Michigan's Department of Education in one case with my Son against one Public School District), ensuring my kids received the educational tools required.

      Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at the ROJS News blog at and our weekly radio show on Michigan Politics at

      by kayla9170 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 09:03:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a problem (0+ / 0-)

        I am vigilant.

        I am aware of how the system works.

        I did go through the process.  

        Believe me.  The folks who know me would assure you that I have no trouble getting things done.

        However, the school did not HAVE a suitable environment for my child.   They want to work with her, but they don't have options for meeting the requirements that I mentioned above.  

        The closest they came up with was homebound.  But, homebound is a farce.   It's like doing school by carrier pigeon.   There was no way my daughter was going to get a high school education that way.  The school knew it.  I knew it.  The school said they could not continue.

        At the end of the day, there were no options that met the need of my child.   I believe the school would have provided it, if they had it.  But, they just don't.   Their solution is to put her right back into the environment, the bright lights, loud noise, smells, people bumping into her (that HURTS.  She can't even wear pants some days because the fabric on her legs hurts), rigid schedule.  The only accomodation was just to cut back hours a little, but they also didn't explain how she was going to get a full education with only half the school.  the half school in that environment was torture.   And, her brain still works, so there's no reason she can't do a full day's work, if her physical requirements are met.  

        At the end of the day, the school simply does not have an effective homebound program, and could not meet my daughter's physical requirements within the school.

        I went through the process, and the process failed.

        Believe me.  I sat on one side of the table, with a principal, school counselor, home bound instructor, home bound supervisor and nurse on the other side of the table, and I got what I came for -- homebound.  I am no wilting violet.  It's just that homebound was not providing an education.

        There is a point at which it becomes inefficient to try to reform the entire school system.   When there is a charter alternative that meets my child's needs, and my public school does NOT meet my child's needs, then it is not appropriate to put my own child's needs last in order to try vainly to reform a system that has failed.  At that point I vote with my feet, hoping that vote will be counted, and the need for improvement will eventually be recognized.

        There is another way to look at it, however,   My school district chose to allocate funds to pay for the charter virtual school that we are attending.    My school district DID meet my needs by making this option available.

        My school district made a good choice.  I still love my district for my more "typical" child.   I think we have a great superintendent who is fiscally responsible and did NOT have to lay off teachers in the economic downturn.   He saw a need and he filled it.   He filled it with a charter, and if that's what works, then KUDOS to him.  I'd be just as happy if my virtual school was run by the state, but either way, I needed a virtual school, I have one...

        Problem solved.  

        •  I hear the frustration. It sounds like (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DFWmom, kayla9170

          you've been fighting the good fight for your daughter for many years.

          It also sounds to me as if her situation might be one in which the public school is, in fact, legally obligated to pay for that virtual charter, upon admitting that they cannot meet your daughter's needs and that there exists an option that CAN.

          I don't have Michigan connections for this, but I do know an attorney in Wisconsin who works on cases that sound a lot like your situation, and has been repeatedly successful in forcing school districts to pay for private placement, when indeed they are unable to meet the student's requirements.

          Here's how he described it in an article about Wisconsin's special-needs vouchers (which he strongly opposes):

          “Embedded in the law is the ability to either voluntarily or legally force school districts to pay for private schools, at significant expense,” says Spitzer-Resnick.
          I'm not a lawyer, but I think this is based on federal rather than state law.  Might yet be worth looking into for you?

          There are definitely things that can be improved in the public school system.  But in Wisconsin, the proposed special needs vouchers would make things worse for many more people than would be helped.

          If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

          by AnnieJo on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 01:09:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  private schools (0+ / 0-)

            Private schools have the same learning environment issues as publics schools.  They still have a "school" environment, and rigid class scheduling and attendance requirements, etc.   When you miss class due to illness, or needing a break, it puts you behind, so in this environment, it is a constant game of catchup and stress makes this condition worse.   On-site schools just can't deal with kids missing class all the time, leaving class to go lie down and take a nap, etc.    I haven't found an option that solves all these problems except the virtual school.  Believe me, I've looked.    

            I do believe that homebound programs need a major re-vamping.  Done correctly, they would probably merge into something like virtual learning with a "learning coach" provided by the district.  

            We have private virtual schools, which I have considered, as they do allow kids to accelerate, but they are expensive, and I don't need it, because I have our virtual chater.   We might have had to pay for it out of our own pocket, if it weren't for our charter, unless we'd sued like you suggest.

            •  If I have it correct.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The Public School District is providing your family a voucher for your child to attend the privatized virtual charter school environment, right?

              If that is the case, the district (via local tax dollars) are still paying to provide the Child with a free public education, due to circumstances beyond the Public School System control to meet conditions necessary for your Child to succeed.

              Still this is NOT the case for every Child. Although your situation is different, I still have yet to see an need to destroy the entire free public education model to promote robustly a "for-profit corporate charter school model". Sorry!

              But I'm glad your Child is now receiving the Educational Environment necessary to foster his or her success.

              Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at the ROJS News blog at and our weekly radio show on Michigan Politics at

              by kayla9170 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 01:54:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, you do not have it correct (0+ / 0-)

                We did not receive a voucher.

                Our school district chose to participate in a statewide program to provide virtual school to students whose districts choose to participate (which is most of them).     Students in the district and apply to the charter school, and go there without paying anything.    Acceptance is unconditional, but there are a limited number of seats funded under the program, and previously enrolled students get first availability.    A separate school district is set up in our area, in this case Texas Virtual Academy, to serve students for the districts in our area which choose to participate.   There are different charters serving districts in other areas.  There's a one in Houston, for instance.   By paying to "opt in", our district makes it possible for our students to attend a virtual school at no cost, funded under our public school system.

                This is different from a "voucher" system, because the state has a larger role in regulating the charter as a public school district, and because choices are limited.   We can't take a voucher and go to any school we choose.  We are given the option to transfer into this charter because our school district participates in this charter program.   If we choose to go to some other private school, we would have to pay for it ourselves without any assistance.  

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