News: Special Ed, Inez and DC Vouchers

The Fort Mill Times reports that a mother whose handicapped child was denied services is suing the Fort Mill / Rock Hill School District. Lawmakers in the SC House had the opportunity to provide special needs children with scholarships last session (which promised more effective services and cost savings for public districts) but they choose not to.

A mother who contends the Fort Mill school district denied her son a “free appropriate public education” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking financial compensation…. The complaint alleges the school district failed to provide counseling or “meaningful services or instruction” at the elementary or middle school levels and claims he regressed in the eighth grade. District intervention that began at the high school level helped but did not compensate for lost progress, the complaint claims.

The State Newspaper announced that former State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum has taken a job with Columbia-based McNair Law Firm. Tenenbaum has a long history with the legal community, taking in more than $70,000 in political contributions from lawyers and lobbyists in 1998 alone. During her eight year tenure at the Education Department the state saw negligible gains in test scores and an increase in wealth and racially correlated performance gaps.

Tenenbaum, elected state education superintendent in 1998 and 2002, will handle financial matters, such as bond referendums for new construction or renovation projects, for client school districts. She will work with two of the firm’s attorneys who specialize in that area — Frannie Heizer, a former Columbia city councilwoman, and Daniel McLeod.

The Washington Post published a letter by US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings calling for a renewal of the successful Washington DC school voucher program.

Better schools. Higher scores. And satisfied parents. That’s the record of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. It is helping us keep our promise to leave no child behind in America. If Congress is thinking of breaking this promise, the nation deserves to know the story.

Signed into law by President Bush four years ago, the program is the first to provide federally funded education vouchers to students. It awards up to $7,500 per child for tuition, transportation and fees; in 2007-08 it enabled 1,900 students from the underperforming Washington public school system — the highest total yet — to attend the private or religious schools of their choice.

For many, this was their first opportunity to receive a high-quality education. “They not only educate them, but they are teaching them to be young men and young women as well,” Sheila Jackson, the mother of a 12-year-old scholarship recipient, told a reporter.

One response to “News: Special Ed, Inez and DC Vouchers

  1. I have been extremely disappointed with my son’s first year at elementary school. Initially it seemed very promising. However, The progress that he made was primarily done on his own, with the assistance of what his main classroom teacher could 0ffer, with a classroom of 20 +. The sad part was that he was assigned a paraprofessional (assitant) solely for him. Obviously it was just a warm body to make things look good. The school did not and still does not want to make the extra investment in the paraprofessionals. I thought about pulling him out and homeschooling, but for one, I am a single parent and cannot afford it, and two (most importantly), his disorder requires the integration with others to help him heal. I am furious about the whole thing, but I am not about to give up. There has to be an answer somewhere.

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