Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sarah Palin's Speech about "Special Needs"

Forgive me folks I am so far behind--there is an actual traffic jam of posts waiting to be written in my head... I am starting with this one because I commented a few times about the McCain-Palin Campaign's lack of a disability policy and now they have one.

A week ago Friday Sarah Palin spoke in Pittsburgh and outlined some actions that they will take regarding disability if elected. I heard that they also put their disability platform on their website, but haven't been able to find it.

I was very glad to hear Gov. Palin's remarks because to me it means that people with disabilities are being recognized as the viable minority they are. And I have been beside myself watching a national platform saying "special needs" every 3 words yet offering nothing... (I might have mentioned this before.)

Gov. Palin states they will support school vouchers/choice for children with disabilities and special education money will follow the child in states where state funds are portable. They will fully fund IDEA by re-prioritizing earmarks, strengthen the NIH for long term cures and to get better information out to parents and for early diagnosis. For teens and young adults they will extend the support of IDEA and rehab act extending to schools and colleges. Requiring results from education--freedom to work and live independently. They also want a welcoming culture.

She spoke about Special Needs Trusts and worries that Obama's tax increase will tax them. And advocated for more private-public partnerships.

Well, all that is left is whether you agree or disagree with these things. I have my concerns.

I don't agree with vouchers--private schools show very little inclination to accept kids with disabilities--the kids left in public schools will be the kids with disabilities and other needs,reversing all the benefits that inclusive education has wrought.

I worry about fully funding IDEA as an exception to their campaign's non-funding principles. In Obama's campaign disability issues are covered in the principle that everyone gets what they need. In McCain's it appears that "special needs children" will be given what other people need--this does not create a welcoming situation, it creates a scapegoat.

Further than this, if the Obama campaign intends to tax people making more than $200,000 how does this affect Special Needs Trusts at all? I don't know ANY folks who have so much in their trust that they are making >$200,000/year. None. But if they are, I say tax them!

And I know others love the phrase, but I hate the term "special needs." My husband needs a working car, 2 cell phones, a pretty impressive computer and strong coffee to be successful in what he does. My neighbor needs an electric wheelchair. Why are some things just needs and some things "special" needs???? Don't get it, don't like it. The principle exception does not work for me--it creates another "not us." Which to my way of thinking is ALWAYS dangerous.

But that's just me--go vote!

1 comment:

rickismom said...

Just a note-- vouchers , if they could be used for religious schools (and I don't know if that is the case), would help Orthodox people (my equivalent in the US) whose children are completely out of place in mainline schools, yet who can not afford the cost of private school+ aide+ special ed advisor + etc

One of the reasons I have stayed overseas is that I could never afford inclusive ed for Ricki in the US