When Government Tries to Make Decisions About Education

It’s an unmitigated disaster. You have people whose only experience in the classroom was as a student, people who don’t understand the depth and breadth of education philosophy or pedagogy, people who bring their own agendas and axes that they would like to grind.

I just finished reading an article that applies to the senate in our state considering a sweeping bill that would make sweeping changes to high school requirements for students with disabilities. You see, my state has already created a quasi-legal situation students with disabilities, creating a separate but equal “track” to “train” kids with cognitive disabilities or learning disabilities in an occupational course of study, with the idea of getting them prepared for the workforce rather than college. And due to the lack of availability for accommodations, modifications, and supports in the traditional course of study, many like my son, have no real choice to make.

calculator-scientificNow they have decided, these wonderfully removed legislators without a lick of educational background, that the provision that allows for the integrated math course taken over the course of the occupation program is insufficient, and that disabilities be damned, no student will graduate without taking four consecutive and specific years of math. You can’t do your times tables? Screw you kid. A statement from the nonprofit Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center said in an alert they sent out Tuesday, “Under this law, if a student – any student – cannot master a math course even more challenging than Algebra II, they cannot earn a high school diploma.”

And we are back to discriminating, folks. Kids who are not allowed to earn a diploma based on the way they were born, based on their neurology. “Here’s an alternative to a diploma, a certificate of completion, which is like a participation award. That should make you happy,” they seem to say. It’s a case of “raising the standards” to look like you are trying to make things better, rather than addressing the very real issues of poor teacher pay, and lack of funding for even textbooks. It’s a case of caring more about your image than the kids of your state. It’s a case of politicians being so completely arrogant in their righteousness that they are literally doing harm to children.

I couldn’t be more disgusted or enraged.

 

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CHIP: It needs to be on your radar

CHIP stands for Child Health Insurance Program and is a federal program administered by each state, and funded by both federal and state governments.  Sometimes it goes by a different name, but essentially it is for children in families who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but still are low income enough to struggle paying for health insurance for their child.  It came into existence before the ACA was passed, but it continues to exist because it is a widely popular program that provides a needed service to many, many families.

Through the ACA, the terms of CHIP eligibility were extended through 2019, but the funding was not.  Funding expires for the current incarnation of CHIP through this September.

Here’s why it matters.  If funding is not extended, many, many children will lose their healthcare.  The Boy included.

The other night, I happened to click on an article on Facebook, that happened to include the information above, and left me upset and worried.  Why hadn’t I heard anything about this?  Shouldn’t this be national news?  What the hell is going on?

I did a little more research, and found that it will most likely receive extended funding, but no one knows for how long.  The problem is that some want it replaced with plans offered by the health exchanges.  I can tell you that this would place healthcare on the other side of affordable for our family, because our state neither expanded medicaid, nor started their own exchange.  As a result, there is one company providing healthcare plans in the my state (through the federal exchange), and therefore they can set whatever rates they want – there is no competition, which was the whole point of the ACA.  The ACA is perverted here, and therefore, we are not being served the way we should be by this law.

There are many people who think families should have a choice between an ACA plan and CHIP, and there are others who think having CHIP and the ACA separate is just fine.  Needless to say, there will probably be a great deal of debate on September 30th of this year.

I wonder if we will hear anything about it?

I wonder if it will be used as a bargaining chip (no pun intended) for something else?

I wonder, and I worry.  CHIP gives me piece of mind about my son’s healthcare, and I would really prefer to have an educated public and a compassionate legislative body making decisions about its future.

Children's Health Insurance Program

“Combating” Autism

A bill was just introduced in congress to extend the Combating Autism act, set to expire at the end of September, for another five years.

I just have one question: Who picked the name for that?

Combating Autism?

Autism is and always will be a part of my son, so when you “combat” autism, are you “combating” my son?  I would much prefer that you support him, encourage him, and provide him with opportunities, rather than “combat” him, or any part of him.

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I know, I know.  This is potentially a good thing, “shaping the Federal response to autism”…

But when things like this are named incorrectly, it can set a poor tone, a negative focus, a misinterpreted goal.

As I’ve said before, Words Are Important.  I still want to know who came up with this title…