Monday, March 17, 2008

A parent's responsibility to educate; Missouri's responsibility to make it possible

Helping Children is a Parent’s Responsibility was the title of an insensitive, ill-conceived letter in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. The author says,

“At a recent Senate hearing on a bill that would provide tax credits for people who contribute to scholarships for special needs children to attend private school, one parent said it wasn't fair that the family had to make adjustments to educate a special needs child. ‘We shouldn't have to move and rearrange our lives to get what's best for our kids.’

Parents do that all the time. Surely, parents take into consideration the quality of a school district before they move into a neighborhood. Would parents have the same complaint if their child had a physical illness and needed special treatment?

As parents, we often are called on to make sacrifices for our children. The means are available. Getting children the help they need is a parental responsibility, not an entitlement.”

Aside from the pure disappointment that someone who purports to understand the needs of autistic children could so callously dismiss the lengths that parents go to educate a special needs child, I was struck by the pithy and non sequiter arguments the author gave.

I am sure that parents do take into account a school district before buying a home—but how can they take into account the endless possibilities of special needs their child could be born with? Many parents simply do not have the means to live in the best school district, as illustrated by the fact that there are tens of thousands of children enrolled in the failing St. Louis Public schools—surely that is a known fact.

What’s more, the means are not available. Parents have told legislators about multiple moves to find the right school district that could help their child, or of second mortgages, cashed out college funds and 401Ks all to pay for a private school that could help their child learn. That’s to say nothing of parents who have more than one child, or children with different disabilities, careers passed up to move or care for a child, the effect moving can have on some special needs children, and the sheer costs of testing and therapies. What else would the author have them sacrifice? When parents have exercised all of their options and still cannot get an appropriate education for their special needs child, there exists an obligation to give them another choice.

There is a plethora of tax credits in Missouri that assist families with housing, daycare, college tuition—this is one way the state can respond when a need exists that many families cannot meet. It is abhorrent to say that families who are seeking a good education for their children are doing so out of a sense of entitlement. They have advocated for the scholarship tax credit precisely because it is their responsibility to help their child succeed. That deserves respect and support, not scorn.

Finally, if it is a parents' responsibility to educate their child, then parents should be given a choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

black mold exposureblack mold symptoms of exposurewrought iron garden gatesiron garden gates find them herefine thin hair hairstylessearch hair styles for fine thin hairnight vision binocularsbuy night vision binocularslipitor reactionslipitor allergic reactionsluxury beach resort in the philippines

afordable beach resorts in the philippineshomeopathy for big with great mineral makeup bargainsmineral makeup wholesalersprodam iphone Apple prodam iphone prahacect iphone manualmanual for P 168 iphonefero 52 binocularsnight vision Fero 52 binocularsThe best night vision binoculars here

night vision binoculars bargainsfree photo albums computer programsfree software to make photo albumsfree tax formsprintable tax forms for free craftmatic air bedcraftmatic air bed adjustable info hereboyd air bedboyd night air bed lowest pricefind air beds in wisconsinbest air beds in wisconsincloud air beds

best cloud inflatable air bedssealy air beds portableportables air bedsrv luggage racksaluminum made rv luggage racksair bed raisedbest form raised air bedsbed air informercialsbest informercials bed airmattress sized air beds

bestair bed mattress antique doorknobsantique doorknob identification tipsdvd player troubleshootingtroubleshooting with the dvd playerflat panel television lcd vs plasmaflat panel lcd television versus plasma pic the bestadjustable bed air foam The best bed air foam

hoof prints antique equestrian printsantique hoof prints equestrian printsBuy air bedadjustablebuy the best adjustable air bedsair beds canadian storesCanadian stores for air beds

migraine causemigraine treatments floridaflorida headache clinicdrying dessicantair drying dessicantdessicant air dryerpediatric asthmaasthma specialistasthma children specialistcarpet cleaning dallas txcarpet cleaners dallascarpet cleaning dallas

vero beach vacationvero beach vacationsbeach vacation homes veroms beach vacationsms beach vacationms beach condosmaui beach vacationmaui beach vacationsmaui beach clubbeach vacationsyour beach vacationscheap beach vacations

bob hairstylebob haircutsbob layeredpob hairstylebobbedclassic bobCare for Curly HairTips for Curly Haircurly hair12r 22.5 best pricetires truck bustires 12r 22.5

washington new housenew house houstonnew house san antonionew house venturanew houston house houston house txstains removal dyestains removal clothesstains removalteeth whiteningteeth whiteningbright teeth

jennifer grey nosejennifer nose jobscalebrities nose jobsWomen with Big NosesWomen hairstylesBig Nose Women, hairstyles