view from mars

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

digby is wrong



Digby said:
John at Crooks and Liars has the video of Bush congratulating Jason McElwaine the basketball player who has autism. I know that it was a cheap stunt on many levels, but I'm with John --- it was a nice thing for Bush to do on its own merits. And I have to say that Bush actually seemed like a real human when he was talking about it. For the first time in, well ... ever.
Here's the thing. This administration is all talk when it comes to its education policy. We see it cuts in college assistance, the imposition of guidelines that are out of the way of paltry school budgets, and this:
While President Bush has publicly acknowledged his admiration for the young star, his FY07 budget shows an indifference towards autistic children:

- In his proposed budget for next year, Bush has cut all funding for the National Children’s Study, a project that planned to investigate the causes of autism, asthma, and other serious illnesses.

- The President’s budget will eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for schoolchildren with disabilities, denying them “access to medical services they need to fully participate in school and learn to their greatest abilities.”

- The number of children diagnosed with autism and served by schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) increased by more than 500 percent in the last decade, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The President’s FY07 budget, however, will fund IDEA at $6.3 billion below the amount Congress recommended.

Bush’s visit with J-Mac was a great photo-op. But the best way for Bush to show his support is by providing adequate funding for programs to help autistic children.

At my school we host workshops, mainly attended by special ed teachers. The story is always the same: few resources on any level -- incompetent assistance, incompetent administration, disconnected/impoverished families. I work with this every day, and trust me when I say that I've never before imagined a system so decayed and neglected as some of the public school special ed programs I've come to learn about.

I know a family who relies on Medicaid reimbursements for everything -- medical care (medication, examinations, physical therapy, recreational therapy -- the norm in special ed), and, just as vitally, respite care.

So I know what Bush and his cronies don't feel when they sign off on these immoral budget cuts. It's how I know that this was just a repulsive PR stunt at a time of all-time low approval ratings from an administration whose specialty is this sort of thing.

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