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Article of Interest - IDEA Reauthorization

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Commentary: The Truth of the Matter
by Tricia & Calvin Luker, Our Children Left Behind, October 13, 2003
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Our Children Left Behind has been up and serving American families and organizations with information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] reauthorization process since May. We have tried over these past five months to give straight and accurate information on the process, and to inspire families and organizations to contact Congress directly with their stories about IDEA and their concerns about the proposed changes. We think that our efforts to this point, along with the direct efforts of families and consumer based advocacy groups across the country, have prompted members of Congress, especially the Senate, to hear the voices of the 6.5 million American children and their families who have the most direct stake in IDEA remaining alive and strong.

At the same time we have remained concerned that we haven’t communicated how dire the threat to IDEA really is, and how strong the opposition is to our efforts to save IDEA. Congressmen Boehner and Castle helped publicize the force of the threat against IDEA last April 29th when they dedicated the official web site of the House of Representative’s Committee on Education and the Workforce to a message warning their congressional colleagues that parents and family lobbyists would be calling them that day to lie to them and to deceive them about HR 1350. Representatives Boehner and Castle showed families what they really thought about our efforts to save IDEA.

This past week we received another “wake up” email that we share with you now. This is for everyone who thinks that we families have beaten back the threats against IDEA. This email also is for anyone who ever wonders, as we have, what the “other side” is saying or thinking about IDEA or its proposed revisions. Finally, this email is for those who have meant to write something to their Senators, but haven’t gotten to it yet because of the press of other life issues. We want you to feel the venom of our opposition, and help you to become angry enough yourself to do all you can to save IDEA.

Here is the email we received. We have printed it here exactly as we received it. The author signed a full name to the email, and titled it “The truth of the matter …”

It is people like you who are destroying education. Teachers who otherwise would be implementing good educational programs are saddled with mounds of paperworks, taken out for the god damn meetings your law requires, and threatened with lawsuits. The idea that a lawyer has any idea what constitutes an appropriate education, especially compared to a teacher, is obscene. And while there are many good parents with special needs children, there are many children who have special needs because of their parents drug abuse and poor parenting skills. Clearly these parents should not be able to threaten educational professionals with lawsuits. They should just be happy that their child is getting an education, which is ultimately a privilege, not a right. I can only hope that this year or in the near future, laws are passed that crush the goals of organizations such as yours like a tin can under the foot of an elephant.

We are tempted to do a point-by-point response to this email. Doing so, however, clearly won’t change the author’s mind. But for those of us who wonder what the “other side” is saying, this email says it pretty well.

The ball remains in our court. This email is perfect fodder for our “Three Friends Campaign” which OCLB launched last week. Share it with your family and friends. Show them a true picture of those who are fighting us on IDEA, and who are trying to steal back our hard-earned gains.

Anyone who wonders about the strength of the threat to IDEA need only look to this email to justify the reality of the threat. We hope, however, that sharing it with you makes you as angry as it makes us, and inspires you to work even harder to spread the word about how much our children need IDEA, and how hard the other side is fighting to kill it. We cannot rest as long as the issue remains in Congress. Our children are depending on us. For their sake, we cannot let this email writer win.

Tricia and Calvin Luker

Copyright 2003 by Tricia and Calvin Luker. Permission to forward, copy and post this article is granted so long as it is attributed to the authors and


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