Monday, June 9, 2008

Barbara Curtis on the Alex Barton story

I love to read Barbara Curtis' Mommylife blog. Today she told her readers more about Alex Barton, the little five year old autistic boy who was voted out of his kindergarten class at the instigation of his teacher. Yes, you read that right - his teacher.

Barbara, knowing something about special needs children, as she is the mother of 12 children, including four with Down syndrome, has written an article for the Christian Science Monitor.

Alex Barton's story is tragic. But the blessings are real.

By Barbara Curtis from the June 10, 2008 edition

Waterford, Va. - Recently, a Florida teacher seeking relief from a challenging special-needs student named Alex Barton did the unthinkable: She stood him before his kindergarten peers and encouraged them to say what they didn't like about his behavior. Then she asked the students if they wanted him back in class after his reportedly disruptive actions earlier that day. By a vote of 14 to 2, they booted him.

Alex's mom was understandably outraged; she plans to sue. The resulting media sound and fury has brought to light the quiet revolution in public schools across America: the placing of special-needs students into regular classrooms.

Federal law holds that children with disabilities have a right to a "free and appropriate public education." But free for whom? Not for the taxpayers, who must foot the bill for the testing, evaluation, special therapy, and classroom support needed by the differently-abled students, who are increasingly popping up in classrooms.

That has parents everywhere asking themselves an uncomfortable yet critical question: Does the practice of inclusion detract from my child's education? Is it really worth it?

Read entire article here.

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