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Bridges4Kids LogoIDEA Weekly Update
by Sandy Alperstein, OutChildrenLeftBehind.org, January 24-25, 2004

For more articles like this visit http://www.bridges4kids.org

  

Quite a week, with the first volley in the game we call the presidential election!  Shortly after releasing his comprehensive disability rights platform (including detailed recommendations on IDEA reauthorization, recommendations that go well beyond the usual “full funding” tripe and actually address enforcement and due process concerns), Senator Kerry went on to an upset victory in the Iowa caucuses.  Coincidence?  We think not!  Read all about it on our Home page, in “Turning The Tide.”  Maybe other candidates will realize that addressing disability rights, including IDEA reauthorization, could turn the tide for them as well!

 

Also on our Home page, we have a piece entitled, “Parent Trust Betrayed: The Challenge To Win It Back.”  In this piece, we point out that while parents have felt deeply betrayed by the school lobbies during this IDEA reauthorization process, it’s still not too late for them to regain our trust.  The Michigan State Board of Education did it – others can too!  Please help your education professionals, at all levels of the education system, become heroes too!   Help the school lobbyists, and our own legislators, stop playing “The Name Game.”  Ask them to tell it like it is for a change!  So far, this “reauthorization” has been a sham, just as its name is.  There’s no need to “reauthorize” a law that is already permanently authorized – tell them to stop hiding behind fancy words and start looking out for the kids – all of our kids – instead!

 

In “Crisis In Confidence Or Crisis In Courage?” we delve into the twin problems facing parents during this “reauthorization” process.  Parents are dealing with fear (lack of courage) and resignation (lack of confidence).  Together, these twin evils can paralyze us if we let them.  But like our civil rights forerunners before us, we can’t let them!  If you’re not so sure, read “And The Beat(ing) Goes On,” for a devastating reminder of why we must take action to protect our kids.  For 6.5 million children with disabilities in America, this “reauthorization” process is about saving lives (and for some, we mean this literally).

 

The Grapevine has been active this week, with contributions from many of our visitors!  We have a piece by Bev Johns, a parent advocate, on short-term objectives and the flaws in the Senate Committee Report with respect to this issue.  We also have a piece from Dee Alpert, publisher of www.specialeducationmuckraker.com, on how we got into this whole IDEA “reauthorization” mess in the first place. She attributes it to inaction – waiting for others to do our job for us.  This ties in beautifully with our Home page articles this week and our advice over the past weeks and months.  Take action – whatever action you feel is right – to protect our children before it’s too late!

 

We also have several pieces on The Grapevine and the Message Board addressing the latest breaking news: schools supposedly turning down available federal funds at the same time they claim to have no money for our kids.  Fact or fiction?  Decide for yourself by reading the various articles from various sources on this topic.

 

Finally, on The Grapevine, one of our visitors has been kind enough to share her email to Congressman George Miller of California, a leading Democratic supporter of disability rights in the House.  This visitor follows up on the theme that it’s not about the money – take a look at her ideas, and then check out the Message Board for thoughts from other visitors on this important topic.

 

The Message Board also has some new resources posted (one that provides state-by-state data and one that supports parents’ arguments against discipline/behavior decisions made by the schools), a piece questioning whether state takeover of schools under NCLB will actually help students, and a piece revealing more “code talk” (this time about vouchers and “opportunity schools”).

 

Please let us know what you’re thinking and hearing – your contributions fuel our continued success!  We’re so much stronger together – so let’s keep fighting!

  

Permission to forward, copy, and/or post this article is granted provided that it is attributed to the author(s) and www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com

    

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