Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Why are GOP primary voters so completely opposed to, or uninterested in, a strong conservative governor from one of the most conservative states in the union. Is it really about his two years as an ambassador to China under the Obama administration? Would it be that petty?
It can't be that they find him boring or un-engaging because even Tim Pawlenty was topping the polls for a while.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
However, we are a curious people. And we sometimes want to know what it is we need to know. And this phenomenon has been quite lucrative to some innovative writers and thinkers over the years. Most notable is a man named Kenneth C. Davis, who twenty years ago published a book called Don't Know Much about History which spent thirty-five weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list. Davis - a man who never graduated college - had a knack for distilling the complex details of the nation's history down into digestible tidbits written in a clever voice that gave people the basic knowledge they might want to know about the Boston Tea Party or the New Deal or Brown vs the Board of Education.
Of course, some will criticize Davis as being a hack who dummies down true liberal arts knowledge. And, in many ways, he may be the pioneer of the "For Dummies" books. Years ago, I got into a small spat with a fellow teacher after my freshman students were complaining about the notoriously heavy and convoluted American history text they had to lug around. I grabbed Davis' book off the shelf and recommended the school switch its required text because Davis' book had "all they were going to remember anyway." Probably an imprudent choice of words.
Anyway, these days, Davis has built himself a nice cottage industry of "Don't Know Much About ..." books. And I wonder how history should judge his contribution.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Most, if not all, public school teachers are salaried employees. Thus, they are not punching a clock each day. However, teacher contracts inevitably make specific mention of "contract time," and many teachers - and teachers unions - are particularly sensitive to rigid guidelines about exactly when a teacher must be "at work." This situation is problematic at times, especially in terms of management and administration. Certainly, teachers should not be expected to work constantly and always be available to students. They shouldn't have to attend all events or be on call at home. At the same time, teachers need to be accessible to students for a reasonable time before and after school. And it really surprises me when teachers are gone from school within fifteen minutes of the bell. I've always been troubled by the issue of contract time, and the idea that teachers supposedly do a lot of work at home and therefore don't need to stay at school.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
OK, now that I got that out of my system, I can express my profound disappointment in the decision by Albert Pujols to leave the St. Louis Cardinals - the best baseball town and team in America and one that revere(d) him - for more money in California.
He is, no longer, Sir Albert.
Certainly, every man has the right and the free will to pursue the best financial deal available for his services. And Albert's services are definitely among the most valuable in the game for going on a decade now. However, in a place like St. Louis where legends like Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Ozzie Smith finished illustrious Hall of Fame careers, baseball is more than a paycheck. Loyalty is paramount in the town where baseball is religion.
Interestingly, I recently re-read Bob Costas' seminal baseball treatise Fair Ball: a Fan's Case for Baseball and it perfectly encapsulates the problems with baseball. They are pretty much all about money, greed, the bottom line, the players' union's myopic focus on salary, and the problems this creates for what was sport's purist game. That it is all about the paycheck and nothing more is disheartening, and many in St. Louis naively and foolishly believed Albert was above that. I don't wish him well - I don't wish him anything at all. His wishes have all come true - I'm just surprised his wishes are so devoid of emotion. So, we're left with the memories, and I'll simply conclude that Albert has, for me, left the game, and it wasn't really "for love of the game." Am I wrong? Am I jaded? Is this unfair? Whatever.
The statue of Stan Musial outside St. Louis' Busch Stadium is inscribed - Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight.
Stan "the Man" remains the only one.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
For example, America's Econ 101 professors say yes. In their view, the candidates continue to offer ideas and policies that wouldn't pass muster in their classes -- populated by 18 year-old college students. "There are so many economic 'misstatements' being made," said Jonathan Lanning, a professor at Bryn Mawr who is teaching two introductory economics classes this semester. "And it isn't confined to any one candidate." Michele Bachmann promised to bring back $2 gas. Tim Pawlenty suggested sustained 5% GDP growth was a realistic target. Rick Perry would balance the budget with lower tax revenues.
Another professor who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michael Salemi, was able to identify statements from six candidates that "would earn failing grades in my Econ 101 class." Salemi called Ron Paul's rationale for returning to the gold standard "one of the most dangerous ideas put forward by a politician in recent years." And the idea of waging a trade war with China that was bandied about by Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney at a recent debate? "If we learned anything from the Great Depression it was that starting a trade war by passing new tariffs leads to reprisals," Salemi said. "In the end there are no winners, only losers."
And it's not just Republicans -- the Democratic candidate is slipping too. Neither "side" has a "truly comprehensive understanding of even basic economics," Lanning said. Nelson pointed to President Obama's green jobs initiative, which he said is an attempt to wed job creation and energy production in a way that is unlikely to produce real results. "They should either concentrate on a policy that aids job creation or a policy that creates more green energy; attempts to do both with one policy means they do well on neither goal," Nelson said.Certainly, we see politics through an ideological bias. But numbers don't lie. And the criticism from econ professors of many political soundbites is accurate.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
That's the focus these days, and everybody has an opinion. How we create jobs and connect people with available jobs is at the foundation. And the internet is a key to job creation and networking that the country so desperately needs. In the past, it was all about job fairs and classified ads. Now, we have a myriad of websites from Monster to CraigsList. In fact, I've looked for freelance writing and education jobs on Craigslist before.
Another website that may be of interest to job seekers is called - jooble. I recently learned of the jooble website, and I took a few minutes browse around. The site is pretty straightforward and accessible, though I admit I haven't used it to actually connect with employers.
At this point, our economy is moving in new direction with employment, and who knows what it will look like in the future. But it will most certainly include more freelancing and sites like jooble are certainly a part of that.
Worth taking a look if you're looking for work.
"That a direct requirement for most Americans to purchase any product or service seems an intrusive exercise of legislative power surely explains why Congress has not used this authority before – but that seems to us a political judgment rather than a recognition of constitutional limitations," Judge Laurence Silberman, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan wrote in the court's opinion. Silberman was joined by Judge Harry Edwards, a Carter appointee. But, they added, "The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems."
Monday, November 7, 2011
Among Samuelson's many - and obvious - insights:
... Many government programs deserve the ax. I’ve railed against some for years: farm subsidies (food would be produced without them); Amtrak (it is non-essential transportation); public broadcasting and culture subsidies (these are unaffordable frills); community development block grants (they generally don’t enrich poor communities).
Entitlements — mainly Social Security and Medicare — should be trimmed. I’ve also made that a crusade. We need higher eligibility ages to reflect longer life expectancies. Wealthier retirees should receive less Social Security and pay more for Medicare.
But plausible savings don’t match conservative rhetoric. All the suspect “discretionary” programs come to tens of billions, not hundreds of billions. Culture subsidies total about $1 billion annually; community block grants in 2010 were $4 billion. Meanwhile, total federal spending was $3.5 trillion. Do conservatives really want to eliminate the national parks? The FBI? Highways? Food inspections?
And, of course, this:
Contrary to liberal dogma, the rich already pay plenty of taxes. Indeed, they pay for government. In 2007, the richest 1 percent of Americans paid 28 percent of all federal taxes; the richest 10 percent (including the 1 percent) paid 55 percent.
For most millionaires, federal tax rates — the share of income taxed — exceed 30 percent. Some rich have lower rates. Raising these rates is justified but wouldn’t balance the budget. The plan by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for a 5.6 percentage point surtax on incomes exceeding $1 million would raise an estimated $453 billion over 10 years. Deficits over the decade are realistically projected at $8.5 trillion.
As for the Pentagon, the military was cut sharply after the Cold War. Combat forces are half to two-thirds of 1990 levels. Defense spending as a share of national income is headed toward its lowest level since 1940.
What liberals don’t say is this: Unless Social Security and Medicare benefits — the bulk of the budget — are reduced, we face three dismal choices. Huge, unsustainable deficits. Massive tax increases on the middle class, as high as 50 percent over 10 to 15 years. Or draconian cuts in the discretionary programs that liberals accuse conservatives of wanting to gut.
And, so, we are left with a super-committee that will, by most accounts, accomplish nothing. Where have you gone Tip O'Neill/Ronald Reagan?
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
So, what do you think of this?
Warren Buffett, "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.
*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their terms, then go home and back to work.
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it on.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
But, it's the policy questions forthcoming that reveal a tale that unnerves me. Cain seems so clearly aloof to basic issues in the world, that I simply can't imagine even considering him as a candidate. And, of course, I am not talking about the "gotcha" questions of the Prime Minister of Sweden. Candidates need advisers to provide all the details on the myriad of national issues. But knowing the term "neoconservative" would seem like a pretty basic question for the GOP candidates. Maybe not. And there is plenty to criticize about the knowledge of many former presidents and candidates. But knowledge really should count for something. And Cain hasn't shown a lot.
This apparent shameless ignorance of the world baffled me with the GOP support of Palin, and it's happening all over again with Cain. I just don't get how reasonably educated and informed people can overlook such vast ignorance in others when it comes to picking presidential candidates ... or even congressman.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
With that in mind, I won't argue the current fiscal crisis would be gone. Certainly, the housing and debt bubble would still have burst, and we would be in a down economy. And, if McCain had won in 2008, I doubt we'd be in better shape - and potentially far worse without the infusions of government cash that has kept the economy limping along.
But how about this? What if, in 2008, John McCain had reached out and made Hilary Clinton his vice-president? That would have changed everything. McCain - like he's done in marriage - simply picked the wrong woman to go to the dance with. America was hungry for change - and a truly bi-partisan ticket could have derailed the Obama Train.
So, with that in mind, I'd propose a new bi-partisan ticket for the GOP. When Romney secures the GOP nod, he should do everything he can to find a moderate Democrat - preferably a woman - to be his running mate. While Clinton is probably a "No," I wouldn't rule it out. And, if not Hilary, then perhaps ... I don't know. Claire McCaskill?
Come on. Mitt! Show us something new. Impress the country with some forward thinking. Let's offset those calls for a moderate third party by creating a coalition government.
Take a chance.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Herman Cain's candidacy will never succeed, and lets hope Mitt knows that when he thinks about running mates. For, mark my words, Herman Cain will be Mitt Romney's "Sarah Palin."
Romney needs a running mate with experience ... and Herman Cain needs to go run for city council somewhere.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Littwin's comments in his Sunday column followed the news that number one-ranked 4A football team Valor Christian beat number three-ranked Pomona by an embarrassing score of 38-0. The caveat of this news came with the revelation that Pomona had suspended twelve of its starters for a game after they were caught drinking the previous weekend.
Littwin believes high schools - especially their athletic programs - have been completely lax for far too long, and it's reached a point where they practically condone the illegal behavior because the athletes have little fear of losing anything significant if they are caught. The students literally "don't care. They have no fear. Embarrassment? What's that? Honor? Yeah, right.
Sadly, "too many adults can't handle their own drinking," much less be bothered to worry about the actions of teens. Some even consider it a right of passage, a right of youth. And high schools who require contracts with their students for activities are undermining their authority by having policies with no teeth. Some even allow students to serve suspensions after the season is over. That is outrageous - but I hear about it all the time.
If the coaches and schools had any integrity, the policy would matter. Set the bar high. If a student is caught drinking or doing drugs in season he is out for the remainder of the season. Immediately. Period.
Is that too harsh? Littwin doesn't think so. Neither do I.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
"The nominee has not yet appeared, you mark my words."
Really? Not yet. Seven candidates on the stage, two well-known prominent front-runners, and several candidates who aren't even invited for lack of support ... and you're telling me you've got nothing. That you're still waiting. That any day now, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is going to ride into town in his white hat and save the day and the party. Wasn't Rick Perry supposed to do that? To be that guy?
What the heck is wrong with that party if, amidst all those candidates, and all that hoopla, that even the die-hards are disappointed or unmoved and waiting for someone else.
Not good, GOP. Not at all.
I mean I'd like to rally around Romney or Huntsman. But you're making it really hard. And what kind of future does that propose?
"Oh, cell phones. What did we do before then?"
Well, I don't know. I assume we parented. You know, engaged with our children, talked to them, spent time with them. Perhaps we took them for a little walk, or we actually played a game with them. It seems so sad - the people who have little interest in preparing a little to engage their children in a little activity. The same goes every time a car zips past me with a DVD playing for the kids in the back seat. As if the twenty-minute car ride to school or practice or anywhere is terminal if the kid doesn't have SpongeBob to act like a freaking moron in front of him.
Either accept the role of parent seriously ... or make the decision to be self-absorbed in the first place and not burden society with more zoned-out or attention-starved children.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Cowboy Ethics: A Life Changing Approach to Character Education from Center for Cowboy Ethics on Vimeo.
I've been listening to people harp about the Dept of Justice wasting taxpayers money for paying $16 per muffin and $8 per cup of coffee. Certainly, a foolish oversight.
But where is the press criticism and coverage of the private contractors who charged this? What about the military contractors who literally cheated the taxpayers out of $400 for an ashtray?
Certainly, a failure of govt oversight. But why is no one calling out the corrupt companies who are literally the ones screwing the taxpayers?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The GOP offers cuts in spending and no new taxes on the "job creators."
Thomas Friedman and Dana Milbank take those two limited positions to task. Friedman offers a convincing argument about what true conservatives would do to address the financial stagnation and job slowdown - and it ain't just cutting. While clearly the tax code is in desperate need of review and reform, there is a need for the code to actually still generate revenue. Additionally, as Friedman notes, Countries that don’t invest in the future tend to not do well there. Real conservatives know that.
On the tax front, Dana Milbank identifies himself as a "job creator" who will never create jobs no matter how much the GOP cuts his taxes and offers him incentives. Milbank's analysis reveals the secrets of the 27 million small business owners in this country. Most of them are single employee businesses that are not designed to expand. Thus, more evidence arises about the "snake oil" argument that GOP leaders are continuing to peddle. They have no more ability to spur hiring than Obama does.
So, keep looking, Independents. Keep looking. Obama's basically got nothing ... but the GOP appears to have even less.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
It's the lack of funds on the demand side - and that comes from the housing and banking crash.
Additionally, naive Republicans like Palin and Bachmann like to call upon the Reagan growth as only about taxes - and they neglect the importance of Volcker breaking inflation and then dramatically dropping interest rates. That alone freed up tons of cash for economic growth. And with the expansion of credit card lending, the money infusion in the economy came on the demand - NOT supply side. Add to that the dramatic drop in oil prices following discoveries in the North Sea and Central America - which broke OPEC's hold - and lower gas prices also freed up tons of money on the DEMAND side. The economy is far more complex than simple tax rates - though lower is certainly better. And there is no reason not to broaden the base, flatten the rates, lower the corporate rate, and close the deductions - especially at the top level. Then, by means testing Social Security and Medicare and lifting the cap to at least $250K, the government and the economy will move toward solvency and fluidity.
Finally, you must keep in mind that the 2008 Crash and subsequent economic drag was not caused by tax issues. It simply wasn't. It was not caused by regulation. The current slump is not continuing because of a drag on tax issues - because there have been no changes - other than the cut taxes more. So, it's not about taxes - and anyone who thinks it is has been asleep for about the last decade - or perhaps a Hannity-induced coma. This economic problem is about cash on the demand side. Period. It was about lost wealth from a housing crash that imploded the lending industry. And that came from deregulation. This is not about taxes - it's about no cash. It's about loss of spending power from lost housing money and decreasing wages impacted by rising insurance rates.
Additionally, companies aren't hiring for one simple reason now - because they don't have to. Demand is not going up. They don't need workers - except for the skilled labor ones for which there are tens of thousands of vacancies. They are making money and increasing dividends and it's that simple. It didn't start with taxes (at lowest rates in 60 years) and it won't be solved by tax cuts - because they aren't the problem.
An overall review and reform of taxation is a great idea - and necessary. But blaming the current problems on taxes is simply foolish.
Friday, September 16, 2011
However, this recession seems different. Obama didn't have an inflation problem that the Fed could just break, and there wasn't an oil shock that could be relieved. Downsizing of companies and increased productivity haven't existed like this before either, and Obama simply couldn't count on a tech boom or a housing bubble to grow the way out. That sums up the post-recession growth for the past several decades. So, I'll cut him some slack there.
Additionally, I'm of the mind that there's not a lot Presidents and DC can actually do to create jobs - other than infrastructure, public service, cash rebates, and tax credits for actual hires. That's why I won't give Perry too much credit for jobs in Texas, nor will I knock Romney for stagnant growth in Massachusetts. Thus, Obama has been pretty weak in terms of national leadership - that is no doubt. But Perry and Boehner are full of it on cutting taxes for "job creators" as a guarantee of creating jobs and generating economic growth.
So, we'll see. I think Brooks pretty much nailed it. And he may be the only one.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
WellPoint Insurance plans to use the IBM super-computer "Watson" to assist doctors in diagnosing illnesses. Watson, of course, is the computer known for beating the top Jeopardy! champions at the game of trivia. Now, a major insurance company is counting on the computer's vast resources and lightening speed to provide guidance to doctors as they seek diagnosis and treatment options.
The company spokesperson was quick to assure consumers that patients need not fear that WellPoint will deny care if in making a diagnosis of choosing a treatment option a doctor chooses to ignore the advice of the computer. In those cases, the insurer "will have a clinician review the case." A "clinician"? What the heck does that mean?
Is this an example of "trivializing" health care? Or is that just redundant at this point?
Be afraid people. Be very, very afraid.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
This physiological reality is not lost on teachers of reading. The most important technique for any effective reader is to access existing knowledge to make sense of new information. Ultimately, I encourage my students to become "people on whom nothing is lost." They need to access a great deal of new information in short time periods - and it's easier if their brains already have some place to put it - something to which the new info can be connected. And from the time of Roman orators, we know the growth in rhetoric and literature and science was intrinsically linked to previous information. Roman students spent vast amounts of time memorizing the classics. Abraham Lincoln spent vasts amount of time copying the speeches of Cicero by hand. All told, their brains and their abilities to think critically grew exponentially.
Thus, I worry about this latest generation - the Google generation. Google and the internet are wonderful innovations that have made life infinitely more efficient. Yet, current students are the first group who have legitimate reason not to commit information to memory because they can simply look it up. Think about how they know many of their friends phone numbers simply as #4 on speed-dial - or even worse simply by the name in the directory where they can often voice activate "Call Steve."
This is a problem.
The less we commit to memory on a daily basis, the less are brains are enabled to form the categories and make the connections that lead to higher level critical thinking and, even, innovation. Thus, I would assert that it is still a good idea for students to memorize a speech or monologue or sonnet from Shakespeare. It's still a good idea for students to write in-class essays from memory with no access to the book or their notes. It's still a good idea for students to study spelling and memorize their times tables.
In fact, it might not just be a good idea. It might be an imperative.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
It's, of course, no surprise that the bulk of the movies were released during the 1980s - the Golden Era of teen cinema. However, there have been some great teen movies lately, namely Easy A. And, in a great nod to the 1980s and teen cinema, I recently watched Topher Grace in the film Take Me Home Tonight, which isn't quite a teen film, but a pretty good movie that captures a lot of the 1980s and the teen angst that sometimes extends past adolescence and into the first few years out of college.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
The CE model is long overdue, and I am excited to teach it. The class will enable students to receive credit at both the high school and a local community college at the same time. Thus, the model is similar to AP, but the students don't have to take the exam at the end of the year for credit. And, the credit is awarded automatically as long as the receive a C or better in the class. The credits must be accepted by any state university or college in Colorado, and should transfer to any schools which have reciprocity with Colorado.
Now, clearly these classes are not the rigor of my AP Language and Composition. But not many freshman comp classes in college meet the rigor of AP's curriculum. Thus, any student who can write well enough to earn credit at a state two-year or four-year college should be able to get the credit in high school. Overall, this approach is necessary and practical for the needs of many high school seniors.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
GE is moving thousands of jobs to China - even as the President has reached out to their leadership about creating jobs at home. Of course, GE's job is to make money, and they are free to do it wherever they can. Yet, if their policies have a negative on growth in the US and negatively impact American communities, we should not treat them so favorably. That's why I think any tax cut/deduction/rebate ought to be tied specifically to numbers of local jobs produced. If you cut jobs at home or locate them elsewhere, you lose the tax incentive.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Could we simply ignore what the stock market is doing and simply focus on the issue of jobs. The US economy will not contract and slip into another recession as long as business owners start hiring - or at least stop laying people off. The economy is driven by consumer demand - and consumers only spend when the have money. So, if companies committed to maintaining employment levels and maintaining wages, consumers will continue to spend. That will, very simply, stave off any contraction in the economy.
If any business owner and investor is worried about a recession, he or she can simply not contribute to the problem by not cutting jobs or wages. He can contribute to the solution by hiring back some of the nine million people laid off since 2008.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
This action is way overdue - and probably won't be that effective. But it may be progress. As I've argued before, it is absurd that the NCAA and associated schools can sign TV contracts for billions of dollars and then claim tax-exempt status because of "their educational mission." The idea that the University of Texas has an "educational mission" for its football and basketball players would be laughable - if it weren't so pathetic and corrupt.
Considering 95% of the NCAA athletes playing basketball and football will never play professionally, the educational mission must take precedence. For sports outside of the big two, the rate is 100%. Thus, it may be high time for higher education to start paying its dues in terms of the revenue it generates if it is not going to accomplish the basic task of providing an education.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Resident Diane Oakley appealed to the district to pass this voucher plan because her son has special needs - Asperger's syndrome. Oakley claims she needs the voucher to pay the $17,000 tuition at a private school called Humanex Academy - as that is the school that can meet the needs of her son. I am curious about this assertion. As a public school teacher, I know that her son's diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome qualifies him for special service under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thus, in Douglas County Schools, he would have a case manager and a specialized instruction program to assist him in fully accessing his right to a free and public education. Certainly, a well-funded school system like DC is going to have all the necessary support for students with special needs. And, if a public school cannot provide for a students needs under the law, families can file suit for additional support. Thus, I am wondering why this parent believes that only this private school can meet her son's needs.
Over the years I have had numerous students with Asperger's Syndrome, as well as numerous other conditions such as ADD, ADHD, anxiety disorder, sensory processing syndromes, etc. At every school I know, there are qualified personal to assist students with these struggles. I've had students with these conditions - including Asperger's - in my basic level classes that have been team taught, and I've had them in my honors and AP classes. Thus, I have no doubt that public schools - especially high quality schools like DC - can provide every angle of support to assist students in accessing their education. However, occasionally parents will feel like their child needs even more than the school provides. At those times, students do pursue private alternatives. However, that decision is personal, and I'm not sure the public schools have to support that perspective. Certainly, any parents can file with districts if they believe that the school can't provide for a legally recognized disability.
Thus, the idea of a voucher being necessary for special needs students is questionable in my opinion.