Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Vouchers Trojan Horse

You could almost see this trojan horse rolling up the plank.

Some Indiana Republican legislators recently announced that they were going to seek legislation allowing a vouchers program for parents of children with autism.

They forgot one little teensy-weensy thing...maybe parents of children with autism aren't interested.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette today ran an editorial indicating that the Autism Society was not aware of the proposal and furthermore, may not be interested.

“There’s a concern that they are putting forth this bill without having consulted anyone in the autism community,” said Susan Pieples, president of the Autism Society of Indiana. “We want to make sure we’re not being used as a pawn for school choice.”She said House leaders showed “little integrity” in proposing the voucher plan without first consulting those most affected.

“We don’t want to see money taken away from those programs,” she said. “The general education system has to be shored up first. It is really a travesty that we can find money to fund a new (Colts) stadium, but we’re so underfunded when it comes
to children.”

Not all Republicans were behind this trojan horse of course, but enough were that they felt comfortable to run the idea out in public.


At Wednesday, January 04, 2006, Blogger Dwight said...

Perhaps this is the Trojan Horse that it is being portrayed as, but it disturbs me a little that it is dismissed out of hand. Why is the first thing that everyone thinks of is some sort of "specialty" school for autism? I don't know what the public education system is like in Indiana, but I can tell you where I am our biggest problem is bloated classroom size; and that is a REAL problem for an autistic child who requires a great deal of attention from the teacher. What is my option were to find a private school where the class sizes are 20:1 instead of 40:1? I would consider that itself to be a big step in my child's education.

At Wednesday, January 04, 2006, Anonymous wild bill said...

Dwight, the point is that the legislators who are proposing the vouchers never even asked the people most affected by their legislation if this was a good idea or not. No one asked the parents of autistic children if bloated classrooms were a problem. If someone had done some homework, it would be more difficult to label the effort as a trojan horse. The point is that they didn't do any homework and thus left themselves wide open to the appearance that this legislation really has very little to do with helping either autistic students or their families. And if that is the case, one wonders what the true purpose of the legislation is.

At Wednesday, January 04, 2006, Blogger Indiana Public School Superintendent said...


In the link provided, the newspaper quotes the Autism Society president as basically agreeing with you. At least as I see it. Her position was that the state must fund public education adequately including class size issues and adequate preschool programs for children with autism.

The problem in Indiana is that there currently doesn't appear to be many alternatives for the parent of autism to go with there voucher. That seemed to be one of the director's points which is why it appears to most people to be a silly attempt to get the voucher foot in the door as a political issue - nothing else.

At Thursday, January 05, 2006, Anonymous The Wildcatter said...

What this really points out is that once again our legislature has not done its research. It has not asked the people who would most likely be affected by the legislation what they would like to see happen. In Indiana, we are constantly bombarded with "new ideas" that eventually become unfunded mandates. At least the governor and the state superintendent are starting to talk about putting public schools on the same level as charter schools in terms of regulations and funding, but I will wait and see whether that talk becomes action.

At Thursday, January 05, 2006, Blogger EdWonk said...

We've linked this post over at The Education Wonks.

At Friday, January 06, 2006, Anonymous historian said...

I tell you what, this state has some whacky legistlators in and from this state...


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