Date: Feb 16, 2012 12:01 AM
Author: Haim
Subject: Re: Finland

Robert Hansen Posted: Feb 15, 2012 10:14 PM

> I have to admit, Paul is right.

He is not even close to right. He has put the legal cart before the judicial horse and come to a meaningless conclusion.

Paul's initial claim, that special education is expensive because the schools are legally mandated, is certainly correct, but the legal mandates did not start with aggrieved parents suing in court, as he states. No one can start a legal action simply because he feels aggrieved.

A legal action must first have some basis in law. First there was a law on special education, then aggrieved parents could sue, based on that law. As with all laws, over time case law shaped statute, but there had to be some initial basis in statute for the initial actions.

In other words, the sped cart first got rolling when somebody lobbied state governments for sped law. Take a guess who that "somebody" was. (Oh, go on, guess.)

If all it takes to get the legal cart rolling is an aggrieved parent to sue the schools in court, then why has the same thing not already happened wrt TAG education? I can tell you, as a matter of fact, that lots of parents have tried to do just that. They failed because they have no basis in law. In fact, general education law is written so that the schools have pretty much a free hand to run themselves as they see fit. Law suits on behalf of TAG children have failed uniformly and comprehensively, for that reason. Because "there is no controlling legal authority", ie, because there is no TAG equivalent to sped law, the schools are the final arbiters of what is proper accommodation of TAG children.

Unless you have some statutory basis, you cannot just sue a principal or a superintendent into running his school the way you see fit. Can you imagine the chaos, if that were possible? Just forget it; it is not possible and never has been.

Sped laws were enacted because the Education Mafia wanted them. Either they did the initial lobbying or they joined the initial lobbyists (possibly some parents).

Consider the other case. There is a lot of activity around the issues of TAG education. Paul himself cited the Davidson Institute, which is only one of many groups active in TAG education. However, the Education Mafia do not want the TAG equivalent of sped, so even though lots of people (including the NEA, the AFT, and ed school professors) testify before congress all the time on the subject of TAG education, there is no TAG equivalent to sped law.

No statutes, no court cases. End of story.

Why? Why do the Education Mafia want sped law and not TAG law? Do I really have to spell this out? Oh, OK.

Sped kids need services. Who is providing these services? Why, it is the Education Mafia, at great expense to the public purse. The key to understanding this is that taking the schools to court, for sped services, is not like you being taken to court because you drove your car into your neighbors house, one drunken night.

School districts have budgets. If you demand a service for which the school does not have the money, they are bound to say "no", however much they really want to provide the service. The point of taking the school to court is that you are really taking the state to court. On the basis of sped law, the judge then forces the state to cough up the extra money. Brilliant, no? It is not that the Education Mafia are so brilliant, but they have had a lot of time to work things out.

TAG education would not work like this. If the schools were legally mandated to provide services to the satisfaction of TAG children and their parents, it would mean less money for the Education Mafia, not more. Furthermore, true TAG education would play Hell with The Prime Directive (Reduce The Gap!). True TAG education is everything the Education Mafia abhors. Oddly, we have no TAG education laws.

Paul's final observation, that the schools themselves want to avoid doing anything for TAG children lest they get the legal cart rolling by their actions, is completely at odds with the observable evidence. General education law is written so that the schools can do pretty much whatever they want to do. That is why some schools accommodate TAG children (sometimes rather well) while most schools do not. That is why a school that used to accommodate TAG children might cease doing so with the advent of a new principal or a new superintendent.

TAG education comes and goes all the time. Sped education is forever. That is the way the law works. And if you want it to work differently, start flexing your political lobbying muscles (and good luck with that).

Shovel ready? What shovel ready?