Justice For All


            Bush Fails Students with Disabilities

Belinda Carlton, Belindagc@aol.com , writes:


When Bush brags about his improvements in Texas education system he does not brag about students with disabilities.  Bush does call the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act an unfunded mandate.  America's 6 million students with disabilities are not an unfunded mandate. They have a federally protected equal right to high expectations in education.  The truth in Texas is disabled students are not being educated, nor tested.  The federal Office of Special Education Programs flunked Texas in nearly every area of special education and found Texas Education Agency (TEA) has a total lack of consequences for school districts not providing students with disabilities an education.

Texas is last in the nation in the inclusion of students with disabilities in classrooms with non-disabled students, according to the 21st Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1999).   And, this summer, suit was brought against Texas, by our state protection and advocacy agency, for failure to provide an appropriate education to individuals with mental retardation institutionalized in state schools.

In 1999, the Education Committee of the Texas House recommended TEA's special education advisory committee be parents of children currently receiving special education services in public schools and that these parents could not be employees of school districts.  This way to end the Governor's office history of appointing parents who work for schools and parents of adult children with disabilities. Governor Bush vetoed the legislation that would have helped accountability in our special education system.

George Bush's proposal is to give more federal money to schools to educate students with disabilities.  And he wants to give them local control.  They are not complying with federal law now.  Why would they if they are given local control.  Before federal law children with disabilities were routinely and legally excluded from education.  

Bush's plan to take money away from low performing schools and give it to private schools that are not required to comply with special education laws makes no sense either.  Accountability and commitment to provide an equal and excellent education for all students is what this country needs. 

Belinda Carlton
Advocate and Parent of Survivor of Texas Special Education

Fred Fay
Chair, Justice For All

Getting Out the Disability Vote: http://nod.org/vote2000/vote2000.html 
Register to Vote Online at: http://www.fec.gov/votregis/vr.htm 
For Your States's Election Resources: http://www.iupui.edu/~epackard/eleclink.html 
Project Vote Smart: http://www.vote-smart.org/ 

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