Jodie Evans

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Jodie Evans

Letters to the Editor

Public Education Not for All

While I disagree with the idea of

using vouchers to send disabled kids

to substandard, for-profit warehouses,

I also disagree with the assumption

that every disabled kid can and

should be mainstreamed into the

public school system (“The GOP

Attack on Special Ed,” by Ruth Conniff,

September issue). I have seen the

warehousing of severely disabled kids

in the back row of public schools.

My sister is a teacher’s aide for the

disabled in a rural New Hampshire

school district. She has had to take

special courses in how to defend herself

and not harm her charges without

hurting any of them. She has

been bit and hit and has had objects

thrown at her. As she has told me on

numerous occasions over the years,

most of her kids need more specialized

care than the school can provide.

I also saw this, as my grown children

are a product of the Wisconsin

public school system. At the time, our

district was the poorest, lowest spending

per pupil district in the state. For

a couple of years, the disabled kids

had to have class time in an expanded

janitor’s workroom. The severely

handicapped, mostly with cerebral

palsy, were lined up and strapped into

their wheelchairs at the back of the

room. At recess, the aides walked

them around the playground. If the

weather was nice, they were taken on

long walks around town. They could

not feed themselves and needed personal

care.

If the government wants to give

out vouchers, maybe they should be

for specialized classes and programs

such as speech and physical and

occupational therapy that parents’

insurance does not cover. I don’t want

these kids to be warehoused at public

school expense any more than at the

hands of greedy private for-profit

business owners. It is our public duty

and responsibility to educate all of

our citizens, but we must remember,

u November 2011

not all of us are equal when it comes

to our ability to learn.

Debra Augustyn

Northport, New York

Justice for Sale

Tim DeChristopher’s message resonates

loud and clear (“Tim

DeChristopher’s Message” by Terry

Tempest Williams, September issue).

We don’t have a legal system in this

country anymore. We have a corporate-controlled

travesty that poses as

a legal system while promoting and

protecting business interests at all levels

of our society.

Bankers and Wall Street executives

who steal billions of dollars from

retirement funds and drive this nation

to the edge of bankruptcy, and politicians

who lie us into unnecessary wars

that cost billions of dollars and a million

lost lives, can all escape prosecution.

Yet a young man who is “fighting

for a livable future” so the human race

can survive on this planet is sent to

prison by a kangaroo court.

We live in a country that has lost

its moral and legal compass.

Dennis M. Clausen

Escondido, California

The editors welcome correspondence

from readers on all topics, but prefer to

publish letters that comment directly

on material previously published in

The Progressive. All letters may be edited

for clarity and conciseness, and may

appear either in the magazine or on its

web page. Letters may be

e-mailed to: editorial@progressive.org.

Please include your city and state.

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