Did you know your a number? That you have always been a number? From the count of the first human until the latest number in the hundreds of millions, you have always been a number. We account for numbers and how they translate to need, wants, and everything in between. We, as a country of individual freedoms, have brought new meaning to the importance of the number one, the individual. Of course, the individual always knew they had some importance and must make themselves heard. From the first of anyone who made a difference for the rest of the numbers, we knew we must allow or encourage some creativity or freedom to improve the human condition. This began the attention to worth. What are you worth? Why are you worth more and or less then the next human? Is it your productivity? Is it your inheritance of useful DNA or money? What are you worth? What is your child worth?
We are included in the animal kingdom where worth is measured by survival. The weak are discarded, abandoned, or killed. The case can be made that over human history we as humans have acted on the same brutal instinct. This is especially true when the economy and resources of a group are low or diminishing. Consider what happened in Germany right before and during WWII. Some people were expendable for the survival of others and all it took was mass hysteria and community engineering manipulation, and the desire to believe the lies. Human beings savaging each other either overtly or through denial. Standing silent while a killing is going on and you are aware, thus causing you to be as much a part of the killing as the killer themselves. So hypocrisy kills.
The lofty zealot like ideals of the religious, the politicians, and others only apply when they are not directly threatened or are looking to control the numbers. Unintended consequences can come in the most unlikely way and from unlikely sources. Revolutions can spark from the ruin and ashes of scorched earth and scorched souls. Survival and the desire to be or feel free can come at a terrible cost, but it happens not by choice but by the need of the human spirit.
Those of us who have experienced the golden age of special education as it sprang from the collective energy of parents who fought for their children of special needs and challenges, are horrified at the swing to go back before the law. Those parents and professionals of that era discovered that the education and life playing field in this country was not level and yet to be addressed. As the numbers grew in disabled, better science and increased professionals in the field of disabilities expanded, and the life long needs of the challenged became evident, the fight raged and the federal mandates for rights and protections blossomed. However, like anything written on paper it is only as good as those that respect and carry out those mandates. Unfunded mandates have weak teeth and funded mandates that become manipulated for the intent to make better a threatened area of need as it arises, points to gross hypocrisy. Bringing us back to the numbers. More then half of the states have seen their special education funding
flow into the regular education budgets by justifying the taking of that money through programming called Inclusion. Add to this the breaking apart of the education system through the business
of Charter Schools
and the siphoning of dollars and you have abandonment of special education and it's original intent. What are these children worth?
Unintended consequences of the improved instruments and technology for learning and identification, along with the yet unknown reason for the enormous numbers of Autistic, ADHD and other conditions, have overwhelmed the resources. Factor in the current state of our economy (for each of the heinous greed ridden reasons for our bankruptcy at federal and state levels) has created a backslide on the commitment for the learning disabled. The learning disabled at the mild to moderate levels (the largest group) has already been dumped in Inclusion classes before readiness, far too many lost to the system and society. Clearly a numbers game but in the end the costs will be far greater. The reason is we are working with human beings, not things, and their needs and usefulness are inseparable. I believe, and only my opinion, that the community engineering solution in large part for government and business is the For Profit Prison population. Low wage earners in these prisons (e.g. Arizona, Texas check an Amnesty International report from the late nineties), at longer incarceration, will manufacture all sorts of products, do many services, and help to rebuild the broken US infrastructure.
The new laws in Arizona fill the For Profit Prisons with the illegal aliens (including their children) and have created an enlarged worker pool. Remember, For Profit gives every incentive for abuse and greed. Is the bus trip back cheaper then what is paid to the owners of the prisons? Is this about a message of deterrent or about profit over the backs of the poor and desperate before you send them back? What are the children of these people worth?
What have we become? While people like Sarah Palin are screaming about parents having the rights to feed their children sugar cookies, where is her fight and concern for the rights of the disabled (like her own disabled child) and the roll back on the education funding and opportunities for this population? How about the For Prison growth and abuses? Another layer of our betrayal to our own ideals, standards, and ethics. As for Mrs. Palin she has no clue of what is about to face her child. Although, she now has, thankfully, the resources to take care of her disabled child lifelong. Shallow is her message. What is your child worth? More then the mother's child who is serving in prisons for coming here to give their family a better life? I do not condone illegal anything but I do understand desperation. What is life worth?
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What is your child worth? Shocking as it is our time in history has arrived to ask ourselves this question and how we will handle the truth. We are faced with tough questions and formulaic solutions. We can not go backwards and the unintended consequences of improved technology and science has taken us to the wall of divide. The middle class and poor will move farther from the attainable and the wealthy will notice and may decide to reach towards those that need the opportunity.
If they do notice, like the Gate's Family or the young man who is infusing Newark, New Jersey with 100 million dollars for better and more creative education (let us hope it is not squandered), we stand a chance to survive with dignity and humanity. We stand on the shoulders of those that would dare to risk, work, invest, and care. We are their partner and the future for all of us is truly in the now imaginations of children. The worth of every child makes a difference somewhere and in some way. We have no idea where they will come from or how they will be inspired to change the world. Let us hope it is for good.
What is your child worth?
I am an advocate for the learning disabled over the last thirty five years. I have served community through various roles such as an administrator for a non profit, member and officer of a school board, work as a liaison for parents and inner city (more...