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Monday, October 6, 2014

Personal learning scholarships for disabled children are really welfare for the well off.

I am not a fan of school vouchers for a multitude of reasons and I am also a proud member of one of the state's teacher unions and despite this I had some trepidation when the union, supported by various groups filed a lawsuit against the latest incarnation of vouchers, the personal learning scholarships for children with disabilities. The right framed the debate as if you were against the new voucher program then you are against disabled children and I am not. You see I work at a public school just for severely disabled children and my families most of whom are very poor could really use some help and I thought maybe these scholarships could do so.

Then I learned the truth.

If you have a severely disabled child attending a public school you are not eligible for these scholarships. Furthermore families have to spend the money first and then are reimbursed. What poor families do you know that can spend 4,000 dollars on tuition, 1,000 on extra therapies or even a couple hundred on a laptop? The answer is there aren't many which means these scholarships aren't for the poor and most needy families but are actually welfare for the well off. 

I am not saying the families that get the scholarships don't have needs but I am saying the scholarships are not going to the families that need them the most. So next time you or somebody you know gets mad at the despicable unions suing to stop the state from helping disabled children just remember who the money is really helping which is those families that need it the least or not at all. Then ask yourself why Rick Scott and the Republican legislature would create a program 
that excludes the most needy to help the most well off.

From the Tampa Times:

 John loves drawing cartoons and has encyclopedic knowledge of movies. He socializes with his friends regularly, but sometimes struggles to understand nuance and facial cues.
Now, more therapy is an option, mother Mary said.
"The copays have been very expensive," she said. "This will take some of the stress and strain off the family budget."
Mary Kurnik is mulling over other ways to spend the money. She could use some of it for textbooks and classroom supplies, or put it away in his prepaid college tuition account.
Or maybe a nice therapeutic family vacation to the magic kingdom. Sheesh, this lady hardly seems desperate does she. She and her family have options, lots of option. The kids in my school don't and this program doesn't give them any either.

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