The Pharisaical DeVastation of Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos might very well be the most “not-pro-life” person in the nation’s capital.

“It goes back to what I mentioned, the concept of really being active in the Shephelah of our culture — to impact our culture in ways that are not the traditional funding-the-Christian-organization route, but that really may have greater Kingdom gain in the long run by changing the way we approach things — in this case, the system of education in the country.” – Betsy DeVos, 2001 (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/betsy-devos-education-trump-religion-232150).

For Betsy Devos, this new Shephalah (an area in Israel known for its Biblical battled between the Israelites and Philistines), is the national public school system. And for a woman whose family has donated untold millions to movements against LGBT rights and abortion rights all while promoting “choice” in schools, DeVos has perfectly shown that her agenda is really not “pro-life” at all.

Betsy DeVos testifies before the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee confirmation hearing

Just look what she has done to key guidelines to Individual with Disabilities Education Act this past week. As reported in the Washington Post by Moriah Balingit,

The Education Department has rescinded 72 policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities as part of the Trump administration’s effort to eliminate regulations it deems superfluous.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services wrote in a newsletter Friday that it had “a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective — 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).” The documents, which fleshed out students’ rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, were rescinded Oct. 2 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2017/10/21/devos-rescinds-72-guidance-documents-outlining-rights-for-disabled-students/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.d83a2dd43914).

This is after other rather discriminatory actions this past year. Again Balingit:

This is not the first time DeVos has rolled back Education Department guidance, moves that have raised the ire of civil rights groups. The secretary in February signed off on Trump’s rescinding of guidance that directed schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity, saying that those matters should be left up to state and local school officials. In September, she scrapped rules that outlined how schools should investigate allegations of sexual assault, arguing that the Obama-era guidance did not sufficiently take into account the rights of the accused.

What DeVos has done in her short and turbulent tenure is in no way “pro-life.” It’s discrimination.

It is easy to confine the labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice” to the arena of unborn children. But the issue of abortion is not really the subject of this post.

Why? Abortion is too big of an issue to tackle in a personal essay and I am certainly not convinced that declaring yourself “pro-choice” automatically means that you condone abortion in any situation. Life throws too many qualifications into its equations to make all choices an either/or choice.

When my wife and I received a pre-natal diagnosis that our son had Down Syndrome, we were fortunate enough to be able to talk to a genetic counselor at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. The state of North Carolina had at the time in its laws stated that an abortion could not be performed after a certain date in a woman’s pregnancy. If we had chosen to have an abortion, we would have had to make that decision in a rather small amount of time.

We did not seek an abortion; it was not an option for us, but it was rather surreal to receive phone calls from health providers talking about that option because they had to legally inform us of our rights/options/legal restrictions. You might be shocked to know the percentage of people/couples who choose to abort with the information we had. I was. And I am not about to judge those who did choose what is legally their right in the eyes of the law. There are too many variables in lives that I do not live to run around and make judgement calls.

I also will never carry a child in a womb. Neither will Donald Trump, Mike Pence, or all of the other “men” who stand to gain from their positions of power.

We had Malcolm and I would not trade anything for the experience of being his parent. Anyone who knows me and my family can testify to that. But he is no longer “unborn.” He is now in our world among others who need help to lead fulfilling lives. He actually needs the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and its guidelines.

I do get rather irritated when the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are used in a polarizing fashion, especially for political gain (which applies to DeVos). And when I review quotes, interviews, and witness current actions by our secretary of education, I do not necessarily sense a “pro-life” message as much as I sense an “anti-those who don’t think my way” message.

Because “pro-life” means so much more than that.

Why are we not protecting the lives of those who are already born? I feel that being “pro-life” is not a matter reserved for the issue of abortion and the unborn, but should include those who are living and need help.

Hubert Humphrey once said in 1977, “the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.

If you are “pro-life” then it would make sense that you would look to the welfare of those who cannot necessarily defend themselves without help like the “children, the elderly, and the sick.”

Is it not ironic that many who promote a strict “pro-life” platform seem to be in favor of privatizing or redefining the very services that help sustain the lives of those whom they claim to champion.

Think of Medicaid that my own son has been on the waiting list for because he will need its services earlier than most people. If it becomes privatized, it may jeopardize his chances of getting the help he needs when he gets older. Within the state of North Carolina, not expanding Medicaid affects many “children, the elderly, and the sick.”

Nationally speaking, think of Obamacare that insures many who would not be eligible if such a plan was not in place. While it is anything from perfect, it has insured many people who were never insured before. And have the parties in charge of the government offered anything else except “free-market?”

Think of the use of tax payer money to fund vouchers and charter schools that are actually privatizing public schools all in the name of “choice” when there should be a push to fully fund all public schools and provide for their resources because public education is a public service and not a private entity.

It seems that many of the politicians and policy makers like DeVos who claim to be hardline “pro-lifers” are helping to privatize the very institutions that are giving “life” to many individuals. And they are doing it in the name of free-markets, where people are supposed to be able to choose what they want hoping that the “market” controls prices and quality.

How ironic that many politicians who proclaim to be “pro-life” become “pro-choice” when it pertains to those who are already born.

I would have a hard time thinking that Jesus would call himself “pro-life” and allow for big banks (look at what Wells Fargo did) and pharmaceutical companies (think of EpiPens) to literally control prices and the market without a fight.

I would have a hard time thinking that Jesus would have been willing to allow public money to fund private entities without input from the public itself.

I would have a hard time thinking that Jesus would not confront politicians and call them out for their hypocrisy in not defending or helping take care of those who needed aid.

The Jesus I know called out the Sadducees and the Pharisees for their self-righteous ways.

The Jesus I know did not canvas for votes. He came to help all of us no matter race, gender, or physical ailment.

The Jesus I know preached and practiced the Golden Rule.

When you become an elected official (or a barely confirmed one like DeVos), then your business is all of humankind. Is that not being “pro-life.”

Back to the Shephalah.

Malcolm Gladwell talks of the same area in a TED Talk about his book David & Goliath. It is the place where supposedly David killed the large Philistine with a stone and a sling. Goliath was adorned with armor and weapons of the highest quality and attended by many servants. David seemed to be from very modest beginnings, but capable of so much.

When I think of the dynamics of people like DeVos and other “reformers” who preach their brand of “pro-life,” I don’t see the youngest son of Jesse who was a shepherd like David. I see the glitz and glamor of the golden armor of a giant who wears a shield of big money like Goliath. I see that God could use the gifts of anyone who did not come from a well-known family to help others.

Even if that person was gay or even had developmental delay.

What Should Really Be “Special” in North Carolina

special-1

From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:

Definition of special

  1. :  distinguished by some unusual quality; especially :  being in some way superior
  2. :  held in particular esteem
  3. a :  readily distinguishable from others of the same category :  uniquethey set it apart as
    b :  of, relating to, or constituting a species :  specific
  4. :  being other than the usual :  additionalextra
  5. :  designed for a particular purpose or occasion

Over the last year, the North Carolina General Assembly has used five “special sessions” to craft policy and law that has done some rather “nonspecial” things.

They have been called by people who think themselves “special” to create “especially” bad legislation for “special” reasons to make others feel not-so-“special” and unequal.

Those “special sessions” are certainly “designed for a particular purpose or occasion” and are “readily distinguishable from others of the same category” called by people who hold themselves in “held in particular esteem” in order to make others feel like they are “other than the usual.”

In holding themselves as “being in some way superior,” they have distorted what should really be “special” in North Carolina such as:

Protecting “Specials” in Public Schools – Sen. Chad Barefoot’s championing of measures that would allow much needed flexibility to overcome rigid class size requirements is yet another example of why public school advocates view many lawmakers as hypocritical, piously partisan, and “especially” unrepresentative of their office. Without such flexibility, school systems will have to consider eliminating valuable physical education and arts classes (known as “specials”) or with fewer resources, “especially” in rural areas.

Fully Funding Teacher Assistants for All Public Schools, Especially for Special Education Classrooms– It is no “special” secret that cutting teacher assistant positions has been on the table in many of the NC General Assembly education discussions. But doing so would have incredibly “unspecial” Fewer teacher assistants for early grades “especially” limit what can be accomplished when teachers are facing more cuts in resources and more students in each classroom. For students who need extra modifications, teacher assistants can mean more than something “special.”

Special Elections – The first “special session” of 2016 was to deal with the gerrymandered districts that were intentionally drawn by the very NC General Assembly that considers itself so “special.” They were declared unconstitutional, meaning that those very people who are calling future “special” sessions to make “especially” heinous policies like HB2 to make others feel not-so-“special” are actually not very valid in many people’s eyes. We need to have those “Special Elections” to democratically regain a hold of this state.

Make All People Special – Every NC citizen who has been marginalized by lack of Medicaid expansion, tainted water, Voter ID intimidation, gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination, and other dehumanizing measures to allow for others to profit should not be continue to be disregarded.

Those in power in Raleigh need to stop thinking of themselves as so “special” and begin to think of all North Carolinians as “special.”

Something Those Lawmakers in Raleigh Fail to See About Our Schools

I teach in a school of nearly 2400 students and am completing my twelfth year there.

My daughter is about to finish her freshman year. She lets me ride to school with her because it makes me cool. I thank her everyday for that.

Of course I follow our school’s sports teams. It is a source of pride for our school, our community, but more importantly, those are my students out there competing and learning about teamwork and perseverance.

But I also go to games to see other students support their peers, their friends, their siblings, their neighbors, their fellow Titans. And I went to one last night. We won. I looked forward to reading about it in the paper the next day.

My family gets an actual copy of the Winston-Salem Journal every day. It’s our newspaper. Journalism is important to us. It supports the community.

And a particular clause from the lead sports story caught my eye this morning (http://www.journalnow.com/sports/prepzone/west-forsyth-girls-soccer-beats-myers-park-in-ot-advances/article_b8b65ee9-e569-541b-b64e-82f0b738d139.html) :

“who was mobbed on the field after the game by the large student section in attendance” 

The game was a girls soccer game, specifically a fourth round state playoff game against a team that had surrendered only three goals the entire year up to that game and had only lost one time all year.

Aside from the high level of play on the field, the amount of students at the game was amazing.  The cheering, the chanting, the urging, the encouragement. A victory in overtime.

Students jumping on the field to celebrate the accomplishment of a team representing a school.

I wish some folks in Raleigh could have seen that and tried to measure what that could actually mean.

But there was so much more involved.

What if I told you the number of AP tests taken by the ladies on the team that just won a chance to play in the final four of the state?

What if I told you the amount of academic scholarship money the seniors on that team had won already?

What if I told you that some of the students who rushed the field do not even play a sport but are involved in other ways at school that are just as celebrated?

What if I told you that 500 yards away in the Performing Arts Center a dance concert was being performed at the same time that included over 350 students dancing to a sold-out theater of 800 where just as many students were attending supporting their peers and friends as parents and family members?

What if I told you that at that very moment the boys track and field team was literally finishing winning their first ever state championship in Greensboro by the slimmest of margins?

What if I told you that one of the head coaches of the state championship track team is also the head of the art department that consistently has multiple students win gold key awards each year? What if I told you that the other head coach was our school’s teacher of the year? Or that one of the assistant coaches is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow? Or that the other assistant coach works with special needs students?

What if I told you that the head girls soccer coach on the day of the third round playoff game turned in all of his materials for National Board Certification, one of the more rigorous processes a teacher can undergo? His assistant happens to be the AP Calculus teacher and his students just took their exam a few days ago. Some were on that soccer field. The other assistant coach happens to have a son in one of my AP classes.

And earlier that day before the soccer game, I was putting together some background templates for the literary magazine for this year that will include the best art and literary work of our students. And like every other year, that track coach will send me amazing work, except his finger will be heavier with a new ring.

And after I post this, I will read a draft of an article by a student writing for the school newspaper about how Governor’s School has been defunded in the new NC Senate budget. She went to Governor’s School this past summer. She’s also the editor of the school newspaper.

She was also on that soccer field last night.

As a player.

One of two on the team who went to Governor’s School.

And by the way, my daughter was in that dance concert that occurred at the same time as the soccer game.

But I saw it Wednesday. They “packed the house” for three nights in a row.

Measure that Raleigh.

immeasurable

Go Titans.

 

 

Renounce, Forest! Renounce! – An Open Letter to Dan Forest about His Slogan

Dear Lt. Gov. Forest,

On my way to and from the public school where I teach, I see collections of your campaign signs grouped together at certain interchanges that cleverly repeat a line made famous by the Oscar Award winning film Forrest Gump – “Run, Forrest! Run!”

forest1

Take away an “r” and you have a clever campaign slogan. But it is not accurate. Nor is it appropriate given the context of both the movie and your actions.

So I want to suggest some possible, more accurate, slogans.

“Fund, Forest! Fund!”

Every time I see your signs I am reminded of the movie Forrest Gump because Forrest needed special attention in school as he was “differently-abled.” I believe your championing of charter schools and of vouchers would be as hard for Forrest’s mother (although fictional) as it is for me – a parent, voter, and teacher.

My wife and I have two children, one of whom has Trisomy 21, commonly known as Down Syndrome. Like any concerned parents of a child with special needs, we investigated all possible avenues for his early education. We were fortunate that a family member was willing to pay for tuition at any institution in the area if it meant that our son could have the best start to his academic journey, one which will probably take different routes than typical children.

No private school in our area would take him. They said that they did not have the resources. They exercised a freedom because they felt that they could not be accountable for his progress. They took security in knowing that they could choose whom to be accountable for when it comes to academic achievement.

Even the charter schools that existed would not take him. None were prepared to do so. So we sent him to his neighborhood public school.

And he has thrived. Why? Teachers. Teachers who loved him and wanted him to succeed before they even met him. They did not choose to have him as a student; they already wanted to have him as a student. But they are having a harder time being able to secure resources because you and others are intent on the use of vouchers and charter schools that siphon tax-payer money away from traditional schools which are still held accountable for his progress. Even the academic endowment fund you created is keeping money from being used for kids like Forrest Gump and like mine.

“Repeal, Forest! Repeal”

Your ardent support of HB2 has been very apparent since the divisive law came into effect. By throwing out a red herring of an emotional appeal, you have successfully helped North Carolina become a state of regression.

You said following PayPal’s announcement not to expand in NC back in April,

“If our action in keeping men out of women’s bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it. “North Carolina will never put a price tag on the value of our children. They are precious and priceless.”

That’s a bold statement in defense of our women and children.

Since then, North Carolina has lost millions of dollars in lost revenue and it will only get worse as the NCAA and the ACC have removed championship games from our state’s venues. That means that we won’t be able to say “Run, Athletes! Run!” when championship season comes around. It also means that we won’t be able to get the “Revenues, Forest! Revenues!”

“Renounce, Forest! Renounce!”

In July, you spoke to a loud crowd in Raleigh in support of Trump when he was campaigning here. Considering that your support for HB2 has hinged on protecting women and children in bathrooms and presumably locker rooms, it would seem odd that you still would support Trump given his comments on a released tape concerning “locker-room” talk that literally speaks of sexually assaulting women.

If you need to review Trump’s “locker-room” words, you can hear them on this link.

https://youtu.be/IVjlBZpyz4c

Ironically, it seems that if you are so intent on saving women and children from predation as you have said in the past, you would renounce your endorsement of a man who clearly testifies to committing those actions. Either that, or you are not really sincere in your vow to protect women and children.

As Trump is calling all of the republicans “hypocrites” for renouncing his candidacy in the wake of his latest scandal, I believe it would be hypocritical of you to not speak out against him considering that you have led a crusade for the very people Trump brags about assaulting.

“Grammar, Forest! Grammar!”

Your campaign slogan as it is written on the tour bus and your signs is actually a grammatical error because you are interrupting an imperative sentence and then creating a fused sentence with yet another imperative. There is a natural pause that is needed when you insert the name “Forest” after the first verb, hence the need for a comma. You then have another imperative sentence following that needs to be separated as an independent clause, therefore the need for ending punctuation like a period or exclamation point.

Since you are on the State Board of Education, it might set a good example to use good grammar, usage, (Oxford comma emphasized) and mechanics in all communications.

“Revise, Forest! Revise!”

But while grammar is important to make sure what you say is communicated well, you might want to consider revising what you say because the content in this case is more important than the punctuation. And the content of your words and actions speak very loudly.

forest2

To The Wake County School Board – “Who do You Serve?”

When you are the parent of a child with special needs, you tend to become a tad bit more hyper-vigilant when it comes to the laws surrounding the services  guarentted by law for children like mine.

You also become very cognizant of what other families of children with special needs encounter and sometimes have to confront and fight in order to ensure that the law is being followed. And then you read  story like this from the Raleigh News & Observer entitled “Wake County debates promotion policy for special-needs students”.

Take a read – http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/wake-ed-blog/article102310147.html.

But it is in the comments section that needs the attention. In it a parent of a child with special needs posted an open letter.

It is the best open letter I have read in quite a while. And I have run across a lot of them.

It is devastatingly poignant, appropriately direct, and incredibly relevant. I asked the writer, Mary Beth Ainsworth, if I could repost here and she graciously said yes.

Simply put – you need to read this.

 

Dear Sitting School Board Members,

I am writing with grave concerns over the article published by the News and Observer this morning that shows such open, blatant and intentional discrimination against children with disabilities in the Wake County School System. I and many other parents in the community are confused as to who it actually is that you work for and support, because articles like this make it painfully clear that you sure as hell don’t serve the students.

From the very beginning of the article, “The Wake County school system is trying to play it safe by not mandating that school staff do more than what’s required by law to serve and promote special education students.”
For those of you who are under the impression that as a county you even come close to meeting the minimum requirements of the law as it is, you are grossly misinformed or blissfully ignorant of reality. The Wake County special education program is an absolute atrocity and if you would listen and respond to the parents and constituents in your respective districts then you would be aware of that. So I ask again, who do you serve?

Next in the article, “School administrators wanted to make sure the new policy doesn’t mandate in writing that schools do more than what’s required by law for students with disabilities.”
So this “policy” is to benefit school administrators? It certainly does nothing for the students or the teachers. And the leadership of your administrators and your leadership as the school board is exactly why the special education program is so compromised and corrupted in Wake County. Since when did doing more than what’s required become something to oppress and avoid? And again, Wake County does NOT meet the minimum law requirements as it is. You need to be informed on the status of these programs before you pass policies that you do not understand or cannot comprehend the full impact of. This is going to hurt students with disabilities categorically. And if you understand that and you still support these changes, I ask again, who do you serve?

“It on average costs more to educate special needs students and the fights between families and school officials over what services are appropriate can get intense.”
The school district gets extra funding from both federal, state and county budgets for special education. The fact that those funds are misused and misappropriated is not the fault of the students. In fact, that would be the fault of poor oversight of the school board. And yes, the fights over what is appropriate can get intense. That is because we as families can have a federal mandate in writing that Wake County provide services as required under law to our child, and Wake County will spend a year in litigation fighting that same federal mandate. Does this benefit the child? No. Does this benefit the school system? No. Does this benefit taxpayers? No. You spent $1.3 million dollars last school year on a law firm that defends special education violations. Imagine if you spent that money on the actual education of children. But since you don’t, I ask again, who do you serve?

“All students will be held to the same promotion standards, with appropriate support and modifications provided as required by law.” Since none of you have taken the time to educate yourself on the law, this is considered a blanket policy which will most certainly be found to violate federal law by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. It very specifically removes the individual component required under IDEA. Of course your attorneys would not advise you on that because, again, they are paid over a million dollars a year defending these types of atrocities in court. What benefit would they have if the county followed the law? How would they be paid? You have no concept of appropriate support and modifications and again, Wake County already fails to abide by the law on a massive scale. How does this help the students with disabilities? This is such blatant discrimination and open disregard for a child’s right to education that I am honestly shocked you so openly back this. Who is it that you serve?

“Karen Hamilton, assistant superintendent for special education services, responded that staff wants to execute the law.” Have you looked into the dispersion of special education programs throughout the county? Have you looked into why some kids have to travel an hour or more to get to school? Karen Hamilton has openly stated that she allocates special education funding based on which principals she gets along with best – which all seem to sit on one side of the county. That is complete opposite of following the law and if fact is further evidence of misappropriation of special education funds. If you listened to your parents, if you responded to your constituents, if you performed your due diligence in investigating special needs allegations then you would be aware of these issues. Who do you serve?

Hamilton said, “I think if we communicate more than that, then the district will be held to a standard of more than that.”
God forbid.

“Jonathan Blumberg, the school board’s attorney, said he understood where Martin was coming from but said that special education law is highly regulated.”Again, their firm made $1.3 million dollars last year which was a $200K increase from the previous school year. The only interest the law firm has is in making money. They are notorious for fighting children with disabilities to prevent them from receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education. Why would the law firm actually put forth information to benefit the students? If the students were in fact protected by the law, then how else would this law firm make $1.3 million from the Wake County school system? On that note, where exactly is that covered in the budget? You don’t provide a line item for that in your “transparent” budget. I as a taxpayer am pissed that millions of dollars are spent to deny hundreds of dollars in services. Who is it that you work for? Who is it that you serve?

“When he was a principal, Benton said he hated to do it but would tell parents they tried to do everything that was reasonably possible to help their children.”
How is this proposed policy change doing everything reasonably possible to help? It is actually an attempt to do less than the minimum required. Who do you serve?

“It’s a three way-street. There’s the school, the parent and the student. If even one of those three legs are not upholding their part it’s going to fail.”
Yes! This is actually a true statement. The irony is that you are failing to recognize or understand that the failing leg is the school system. You have phenomenal teachers, phenomenal aids, phenomenal therapists, phenomenal parents and phenomenal students. But making ignorant, uninformed and detrimental decisions for all of those phenomenal people are administrators far removed from the classroom and the students. If you pass this policy, you are signing your name to an agreement to fail our children with disabilities. When is the last time you were in a special needs classroom? When is the last time you spoke with a special needs family? When is the last time you observed all of the amazing things a special needs student can do? I’m truly asking. Why are you sitting on the school board? Who do you serve?

“I don’t believe there’s a single person in schools that would contemplate doing less than what’s required,” Fletcher said. “As I board, I don’t believe that we can obligate them to do more than required by law, which is continuously reinterpreted by the federal regulators.”
Mr. Fletcher, you have been on numerous emails that I have sent you where I have named multiple individuals in the school system who are intentionally circumventing federal law, committing numerous ethics violations and consistently do less than what’s required but you have failed to respond to even one of those emails. While I live in Mr. Benton’s district, my son attends school in your district. And you both have done literally nothing in regards to the multiple allegations that have been brought forth. You need to remove the rose colored glasses, Mr. Fletcher, and take leadership and accountability along with the rest of the school board that your special education administration and program is seriously corrupted. The law is not continuously reinterpreted, but new protections are specifically outlined to close loopholes because school districts such as Wake County exploit less specific wording to discriminate against children with disabilities. So why such a strong, hard war on our children with special needs? Who are you protecting? Who are you serving?

Bravo, Mary Beth Ainsworth. Bravo!

 

Houston Says We Have a Problem In NC – Caps on IEP’s

Today a persepctive posted by EdNC highlighted an interesting policy in NC about funding IEP’s. It is very much worth the read if you want to know a little about having a special needs child in public schools – https://www.ednc.org/2017/08/07/blowing-lid-off-north-carolinas-iep-cap/

What follows is the text of a post I wrote about a year ago concerning the very same thing happening in Texas.

This might be one of the most horrific things that I have ever read concerning how a state’s public education system handles its special education initiatives.

It comes from the Houston Chronicle. It is entitled “Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education”. It is written by Brian M. Rosenthal.

It’s devastating.

It’s gut wrenching.

It’s deflating.

It’s heart breaking.

It’s the worst fear for a parent of a child with special needs.

And I want you to read it. All of it. And yes, it’s long. But it is one of the best pieces of journalistic investigation I have ever come across.

Here it is – http://www.houstonchronicle.com/denied/.

I am a parent of a child with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome and I could not even imagine what these parents may be going through because the state of Texas put a price tag on their students and then swept them under a bureaucratic rug.

This is the state that gave us No Child Left Behind.

This is the state that literally rules what goes into textbooks for a greater portion of the middle section of the country.

This is the state that came to North Carolina and recruited teachers knowing that salary was a big issue for our teachers.

And I can’t help but think is this happening in other states?