Monday, December 8, 2014

George WIll Say Anything

 George Will recently attempted to come to the rescue of W.I.L.L.(Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty)with his syndicated column.
The Justice Department’s perverse but impeccably progressive theory can be called “osmotic transfer.” It is called this by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), which is defending Wisconsin children against Washington’s aggression. 
  I know most people think that W.I.L.L. is just a tool, used by Michael Grebe, to help advance Scott Walker's career and file frivolous lawsuits.  They also serve another purpose - desperately trying to privatize our public schools.      Which leads us to the question, of who in Wisconsin's, children are they defending exactly?   
Not mine.  My children attend a public school that routinely outperforms private/voucher schools in WI.  
Nor are they defending the casual observer, who is a parent of a special needs child either.  If  they were to rely on the President and General Counsel of W.I.L.L., to help them make an informed decision on what is the best option for their child.   
Fellow Purple WIsconsin blogger Rick Esenberg, wrote a blog recently complaining that the voucher/private school(he mislabled it school choice)for-profit business was being unfairly scrutinized. 
  Mr. Esenberg told us that schools have to, by law, have to "take all comers"(with an exception for space.  While that is true, what Mr. Esenberg left out was that private/vouchers schools are currently being sued for "actively counseling students with disabilities out of their programs".  
For those of you who would ask - Why would they recruit these students and the counsel them out, it is because of something we have in WI called the "third Friday count".  School and district budgets are determined by the number of students in attendance on this date.  If the privat/voucher school can just keep these children enrolled long enough to reach this important date, they can then keep the money the state designates per student.   They can also then send the special needs child back to public school, the money per pupil stays behind but the costs for educating that child does not. 
Despite the hurdles, public schools welcome these children back, with open arms.  Not because of the money, which for a while is nonexistant, but because it is the right thing to do.  
Secondly, Mr. Esenberg misses the story again as he says these students  "may not get the same services or accommodations in a private school that they will get in a public school."   The reality is they will NOT get the same services, because by law the private/voucher schools do not have to provide them.    A voucher school is required to offer only those services to assist students with special needs that it can provide with minor adjustments.    There are not many special needs students that just need "minor adjustments" especially when you are a school not prepared for them run by unlicensed teachers. 
Then the closing argument that Mr, Esenberg makes is so incredibly mindboggling, that it makes me give thanks that it's not my money on retainer:
 Public schools get funding to provide these services that is largely unavailable to choice schools.
Public schools do get funding(albeit it nowhere near enough for most of these students) hence the "public" in the title,  Private schools, hence the private used as an adjective, are private and do NOT get tax money to provide these services.  
Just as importantly, federal standards for accommodating students with disabilities do not - and ought not - apply wholesale to private schools. The value of school choice is to encourage a multiplicity of approaches
Democratically elected(well semi-democratically elected anyway) legislatures, who after much study (hopefully), have put together best practice,  for the way to treat special needs children in the schools,  that public schools have to comply 100% with,  are fine but if a school run by a profiteer, wants to send unlicensed teachers into a classroom of special needs children and use proven ineffective ways to teach them.   That is the way the cookie crumbles I guess. 
*  Not all behavioral disabilities should be medicalized in the way typically encouraged by federal standards. Parents ought to be able to choose between alternative approaches for their children.
Seriously?  If Mr. Esenberg does not understand that every special needs child in a public school will have what we call an INDVIDUALIZED education program(IEP).  INDIVIDUALIZED being the key word there.   
For those like the President of WILL who do not know what an IEP is:
Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have anIndividualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability. 
A team of individuals get together, and decide what is individually best,  for each individual student.   Parents already get to choose what is best for their own children.  
If you are truly defending "Wisconsin's children" shouldn't you know what options are available to them currently?  Trying so hard to divert our desperately needed resources from public to private schools, It seems like you and your organization, are the one they need defending FROM!

cross posted at Purple Wisconsin


  1. Jeff - consider making your cross post notification a link.


  2. Jeff - consider not spamming this blog with your illiterate bullshit. It used to be a pretty good read.