I’m pissed. There will be swears. If that is problematic for you, may I recommend returning back from whence you came.
In the past 2-3 weeks, the insanity that has taken over our country has been….breathtaking. Jaw-dropping. Mind-numbing. Overwhelming. I mean, we all knew Trump was an idiot, Pence is insane, and Bannon’s a racist dumpster fire. And we knew the GOP in Congress are bullies who just vote for things because that’s the party line. But I thought….stupidly, I know, but I thought that when it came to the unqualified imbecile nominated for Secretary of Education, they could all see just how dangerous she would be. The fact that our CHILDREN deserve someone who actually knows ANYTHING about education to oversee EDUCATION would be too blinding to ignore.
I’m really damn naive. I am floored & flabbergasted. I am deflated & pissed as hell. I’m terrified & want to beat the hell out of someone.
I don’t ever want to hear again how we all need to stand up and speak out and we can make a difference and they have to listen to us and blah blah blee blee blecccch. BULLSHIT. They don’t give a ripe shit about any of us. This PERSON paid millions of dollars and BOUGHT herself a cabinet seat. And they LET HER. We all know who she “donated” to and how much. We’ve called those Senators on their BRIBES and they don’t care. They sit in their $2000 suits and their super-expensive shoes while interns OPEN THE BLOODY CHAMBER DOORS FOR THEM because they’re apparently too important to work hinges. They stride through those doors like kings, swooping & sweeping in, knowing full well they’re going to ruin the lives of people every day and they don’t give a rat’s ass. Because they’ve got theirs and the rest of us can go hang.
A good education should be a GIVEN. For every child. Whether you live in a rural area with only one school or in a major city with dozens of them. Whether you’re the president or a dock worker. Whether you’re white or a person of color. Vouchers are ridiculous. Sure, they’re great if you live somewhere that’s rife with schools and you have something to choose from when your public school is inadequate (because they don’t have the resources the private schools do), but what if there isn’t an alternative where you live? What if, even with vouchers, you can’t afford that school? What if you don’t want your children attending a religious school because you aren’t that religion and you don’t want that indoctrinated in your child? What if you live in the middle of nowhere and your kid is already bused 45 minutes away to go to the only school that serves your county? WHAT IF YOU HAVE A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS WHO CANNOT ATTEND “Sister Friends of Money Street Charter School” because they can’t or won’t take your kid? And don’t tell me that doesn’t happen, because it HAPPENED TO US. And we only had a child with Asperger’s. There isn’t a “choice” for my Henry. He can’t go to a Montessori school or a Christian school or a Lutheran school or a Jewish school or your special “Super Flush with Cash White Upperclass Friends” school that you have to pay $10000 per year to get into – and then only if you know somebody.
My son gets his education in a Life Skills classroom in a public school. BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THOSE TEACHERS ARE. The teachers in these other school don’t know what to do with life skills kids. They don’t want to teach life skills kids. Kids who are teenagers and need their diapers changed? Kids you have to feed because they can’t use their hands? Kids who can’t sit up on their own? Kids who have seizures? Kids for whom excellent progress is whether they’ve cut down their hitting/kicking/scratching from every 4 minutes to every 10 minutes? They couldn’t HANDLE that. But those kids deserve an education, don’t they?
Not according to these monsters. See, I remember what it was like when I was a kid. Before mainstreaming. When every kid with special needs (Down Syndrome, autism, behavior disorders, encephalopathy, aphasia/dysphagia, cerebral palsy, fragile X, seizure disorders – all of it) was placed in a special school. The only special education classes in the mainstream schools were ones that taught the “slow learners.” They were mostly typical kids, but they couldn’t keep up with the regular classes. All these other kids? Were in their own building. We never saw them. We never interacted with them. Therefore….can you make the leap?
Therefore, none of us knew anything about them. We didn’t know about them as people, we didn’t know about their diagnoses, we didn’t know anything except “they’re different, that’s scary.” So we made fun of them, we steered clear of them, we stared at them. It wasn’t until I was in college and got a summer job working at this school in our town that I learned anything.
Now jump forward to today. Today, Henry and kids like him are in the mainstream school with their peers. If they can participate in their peers’ classrooms, they’re mainstreamed. If they can’t, they’re placed in special classrooms within the school and efforts are made to include them with the neurotypical students, like in blended PE classes. They’re also involved with Best Buddies programs where they get special time to connect and get to know their peers and, JUST AS IMPORTANTLY, the peers get to know them. They get to realize they’re not weird or scary or anything except people. My son consistently has neurotypical peers saying hi to him, stopping to talk to him, greeting him when he arrives in the morning. They fight to be paired with him in PE. They aren’t scared or weirded out at all.
As I discussed in my previous post, we CAN’T leave this issue to the states. We cannot abandon the IDEA and trust that each state will do everything to meet these students’ needs. BECAUSE THEY DON’T & THEY WON’T.
Let’s make it perfectly clear. What we were shown today – in blinding neon colors and 3D – is that students matter. Wait…..no. It’s that students who meet these criteria matter:
I think that’s it. If you’re poor? We don’t care. If you’re a person of color? Tough luck. If you aren’t interested in having Jesus in your school? So sad. The only thing our legislators (and administration) care about is if you have money/power and if you’re white. And the religion thing is debatable. Because if you’re a poor Christian who can’t get to a charter school? Ooops. That’s too bad. You need to be a rich Christian who has money to throw at their issues. They aren’t listening to the black churches in Atlanta or Memphis or Detroit. They don’t care about all the Hispanic people who attend Catholic mass every week. They SURE don’t care about those poor white people in the Appalachians attending their Baptist or charismatic churches.
Rich. White. Christian. You gotta be all three. You gotta be Betsy DeVos who threw around hundred of millions of dollars – “donating” it to these Republican senators – and who clearly stated that she expects a “return on her investment.” A woman with a whole lotta money, but no ability to do this job. Just ask Michigan.
I’m disgusted. The fact that these legislators are so blatantly following the money is revolting. When did we stop caring about others AT ALL? When did we become so fucking horrible? When did the wants of corporations become all that matters? I know, I know. It’s been that way for a long while. I guess I thought when it’s THIS horrifyingly obvious, they might try to hide it a little better. But every single one of these assholes will be held accountable. Some of them are up for reelection next year. I know they’ll never know what it’s like to be poor or of color or struggling or just trying to keep their heads above water. But, damn it, they work for US. We have to fire them. We have to. We cannot continue like this. I’m so scared of what’s going to happen to my kid. And all the other kids I know like Henry.
To all of you who voted for her (and who will vote for Sessions and the other monstrous nominees), shame on you. I wish on you what happened to Cersai on Game of Thrones. You need to walk naked through the Washington Mall letting us all spit on you and shout “SHAME.” You pledged to uphold the Constitution and represent your constituents. You have done NEITHER. All I have left to say is you should be ashamed of yourselves. Oh, and YOU SUCK FOREVER.