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February 20, 2006


Daunna Minnich

Gr-r-r!  Hatchet job is how I'd describe this article.  Not only does the education writer not understand the importance or purpose of a transition plan, she also doesn't know it is not a "form filled out by administrators" but a plan of 1 or more pages developed by the entire IEP team. What her ignorance portrays is the attitude of schools that approach the transition plan as tedious paperwork rather than a thoughtful educational planning tool.    ... Then there's the sly comment, "Not that the family ever requested a transition plan."   Well, well.  Since when is it the responsibility of the family to KNOW the district is legally required to develop a transition plan?  Since when is it the responsibility of the family to REQUEST a legally required transition plan?

One-sided scandalmongering "news" like this is a disservice to society. We all lament the high cost of disability, but whining makes us weak. When schools stop resenting the cost and inconvenience and instead do their damnedest to serve kids with disabilities, society will reap the benefits. It's a 10/50 plan: invest for 10 years in appropriate special education, then "collect" for 50 years as the graduates pay taxes and spend earnings in their communities.  The alternative, of course, is 10 years of educational neglect, with 50 years to foot the bill for welfare, prison, and sluggish economy.


How interesting how that liberal rag is turning on the parents of our kids- might the teachers union be just a little left.


Azimov claims that "Kents Hill does not have a special education program". The Kents Hill website says:


"The Waters Learning Skills Center

Since 1979, the Waters Learning Skills Center has provided an excellent support program for students with middle to moderate learning differences. One of the first such programs in private schools in the nation, The Waters Learning Skills Center is well-known for providing superb support, while helping all students acquire strong learning and advocacy skills for college and beyond. Students enrolled in the Waters Learning Skills Center are mainstreamed into entirely college preparatory classes.

The mission of the Waters Learning Skills Center is to assist students in an intellectual and social maturation process, thereby producing a fully competent, capable student and person who will be able to thrive in a college environment."

Evelyn Jaffe, MPH, OTR, FAOTA

I was truly dismayed by the front-page article and two page spread in the Feb.19th San Francisco Chronicle. Apparently, the Chronicle staff writer, Nanette Asimov, has not had any personal experience with children with special needs. Her slanted perspective fails to acknowledge the thousands of families who are not able to receive "appropriate" education for their children, either because the school district refuses to provide the necessary services or the families do not understand their mandated rights and do not know how to access the system. By citing the few "over-the-top" cases in which parents were able to "work the system" and obtain unusual services for their child, the author presents skewed and inaccurate information in inflammatory journalism. The average taxpayer reading this article, without other knowledge or background of the issues involved in special education, could take this article as another example of wasted public funds. What the author fails to expose is the failure of many school districts to adhere to the federal law, "IDEA"; to address the requests of parents for even minimal services for their children; and the lack of funds and personnel to provide services, This author would be better served to write a follow-up front page article, of the same length, discussing the problems of providing special education and of the many chilfren who are left behind. Additionally, she could spend an equivalent amount of time as she did in detailing the funding sources and the number of disputed cases to researching data related to the cost-benefit to society of providing intervention and services to children with special needs. Perhaps she could highlight the achievements of children who have received appropriate help and their subsequent contributions as independently functioning individuals, who do not cause tax payers a burden. This would create greater public understanding of the importance of providing resources and services to children with special needs. This is not "extra-special education", but the rights of all children to receive approriate educational services to help them become contributing members of their community.

Evelyn Jaffe, MPH, OTR, FAOTA
Assistant Professor,
Department of Occupational Therapy
Samuel Merritt College
Oakland, CA

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