While I don’t typically blog a lot about Alaskan politics, this entry from Mudflats caught my eye as something worth bringing up for discussion.
As was reported by Mudflats, a few weeks ago the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce held a candidate forum, and the debate participants were the two Republicans who will square off in the August 28 primary for Alaska’s State House – Lynn Gattis and Mark Ewing. According to the account from Mudflats, the candidate forum was rather uneventful until Ewing cited education as one of the state’s problems, as he explained:
“I got to be honest with you, I am not in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act,” Ewing said. “We are spending millions and millions of dollars educating children that have a hard time making their wheelchair move and, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to say, ‘no’ somewhere. We need to educate our children, but there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education.”
I’ve read similar statements from at least one conservative commenter on a local Cudahy blog, so it’s a safe bet that this mentality is more pervasive among conservatives than they’re probably willing to admit.
The flaw in the argument that some children aren’t worth educating is in how those children are viewed by lawmakers. Instead of being viewed as human beings with potential and room to grow (if channeled properly), too often children with special needs are viewed as being less deserving of an education and nothing more than a line item to be cut when it comes time to balance a budget.
As the parent of an autistic child, I know that any money spent educating my child is an investment; not an unnecessary or unwarranted expense.