Sunday, January 07, 2007

Where Do I Sign Up?

A Virginia State Senator is proposing a bill to give children with disabilities up to $10,000 a year in educational vouchers.

The Tuition Assistance Grant Program for Students with Disabilities would give
parents money depending on the severity of their child's disability.
Grants would be available to families with students who
have spent at least one year in public schools by 2008.
"It's not an effort to compete with public schools,"
said Sen. Walter A. Stosch, Henrico Republican and the bill's sponsor. "It's
just a way for them to get specialized training that may not always be available
in a public school." Changes to the Neighborhood
Assistance Act would make permanent the $3 million tax-credit program, limited
to two years under the current budget, he said. The
program is expected to generate $9 million in private funds, later channeled to
private, nonsectarian schools serving the disabled, Mr. Stosch said.
In Virginia, disabled public-school students are taught
using individualized education plans, or IEPs, which are crafted to meet a
student's unique needs.

So wait, why are sectarian schools precluded from providing the same services? I mean, they may have very qualified people to deal with these kinds of students. Isn't that discrimination against religion?

Now I do understand the logic. Education of special needs students is quite expensive, costing many jurisdictions well above $10,000 per year. A private organization can likely do a better job than the public schools. Note how the union representatives quoted near the end of the article can't stand the thought that someone might do a better job than they.

A few years ago I read that the city of Washington, DC does send "special ed" kids to private institutions, often costing the city at least $40,000 per year. There was (and maybe still is) actually a waiting list for kids to be classified this way so the kids can get a better education. Knowing DC, the way it will turn out is like this: "The good news is that we can get your child into a private special ed program. The bad news is that this will take twelve years!" LOL

While we're at it, why is it only for students with disabilities? Why not give all of us $10,000 per year? Heck, I'd probably settle for less than that, and my property taxes would go down significantly! My oldest was in a religious preschool for two years, and he is blitzing through the reading material the public school kindergarten teachers give him. He is also doing an amazing job doing mathematical conversions (feet to inches and ounces to pounds) in his head.

It's almost tempting to coach my sons into having disabilities, but I would want to send them to religious day school. Hey, it's worth the cost of a few batches of my raspberry brownies, isn't it?

So how much can I make with this blogging? Enough to pay the religous school tuition?