Just give us a choice

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Knowing that Richmond County's superintendent of public schools sends his daughter to a private school, do you sense some incongruity there?

You shouldn't.

Dr. Dana Bedden's decision to enroll his special-needs sixth-grader in a private Christian school in no way shows a lack of faith in the quality of education that pupils can get in Augusta public schools.

Instead, it shows vividly the importance of school choice.

As an educator and a parent, Bedden decided what he felt is best for his daughter's future. Besides, he didn't do anything that other parents don't have the right to do under the new Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act.

Signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue in May, it allows the state to give an average of $9,000 to parents who want to send special-education pupils to any schools, private or public, that the parents choose.

But shouldn't all parents have that opportunity - for all our children?

It is absolutely astounding that Americans have the freedom to make virtually any consumer decision they want about which goods or services they use, but they lack the freedom to render one of the most important decisions that parents can make: which schools their children should attend.

Bedden shouldn't be merely a practitioner of school choice in Richmond County. He should be its loudest advocate.

That's what the school-choice movement needs: strong voices to shake up lawmakers and prove to them that parents should have the right to decide what's best for their children. All Georgians don't have that now, but the Special Needs Scholarship Act is a great jumping-off point. That kind of assistance needs to be offered to every pupil in Georgia.

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fd1962
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fd1962 09/25/07 - 12:27 am
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INVITATION TO A RECEPTION...
Unpublished

INVITATION TO A RECEPTION... For all interested Reader's Comment participants and friends,
an evening of association (non-partisan / non-religious / non-confrontational, please) and fun created to allow us to personally meet fellow online participants of the forums here, plus honor especially any among us who are veterans of military services or active military personnel. A couple months ago, a thread participant mentioned the shabby reception he had received thirty-five years earlier as a returning soldier from Vietnam: not one person of 150 on an Atlanta Delta jet would volunteer their seat to a uniformed veteran on stand-by for the day's last flight into Augusta, so he could return to his family after a year's absence. Some of us would like to make a small attempt to offset that injustice by righting this wrong with a more memorable, contemporary welcome home. The veteran involved is flying in from San Francisco for this occasion, planned on Friday evening October 5th, from 7PM to midnight. Sympathetic souls are encouraged to join us for this event, which is planned to be low-key in a comfortable location. For all details and directions, just contact me at the following anonymous email address, emmers-69469@mypacks.net, (yes, that is a hyphen in there), and specify how you'd like me to furnish you the information. RSVP's will be appreciated for planning purposes. Come and have an interesting evening. EVERYONE WELCOME, though we MAY have to limit the number of guests due to space. Thanks, co-host 't of i', for your encouragement and assistance.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 09/25/07 - 03:58 am
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I agree somewhat with this

I agree somewhat with this editorial. First, let's encourage the special needs students to a facility that caters to their special needs and see how they do compared to being mainstreamed in a system not prepared to handle them. And let's see how the mainstream schools do without having to contend with students they're not set up to handle. Step by step we need to focus our schools to train our children the best way the can. Let's stop all of the experimentation and social engineering. The 3 r's, sports and extra curricular activities, and civic duties for student volunteers should be enough for any school to attempt.

SoWhat
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SoWhat 09/25/07 - 06:16 am
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Dr. Bedden just arrived to a

Dr. Bedden just arrived to a decidedly broken education system. Why should he sacrifice his child's educational opportunities (with or without special needs)? Give the man a chance. He is not a magician to wave his wand and correct years of ineptitude. And he is PAYING for his child's attendance.

TrulyBlessed
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TrulyBlessed 09/25/07 - 10:47 am
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I am in favor of this law for

I am in favor of this law for the benefit of special needs children because they require special attention beyond the needs of average students that our schools cannot supply. However, that does not mean that school choice should be universal. Public education is not a "consumer decision." We don't get to choose our police force and road contractors, except through our elected officials, and schools work the same way. If you want better education for your kids, then get involved with the legislators, school board members, teachers and PTA. But don't ask tax payers to pay for your child to go to private school. Also, I don't believe Frank Dolan's daughter has any special needs to warrant placing her in a private school. Too bad he isn't willing to show he is truly invested in our public schools.

alumna
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alumna 09/25/07 - 11:11 am
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patriciathomas, you make a

patriciathomas, you make a valid point, however there are inclusion laws for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities must be included in all activities that children without disabilities have access to in the public school system (and the state pays people called "Inclusion Coordinators" to ensure this happens). A separate facility, even if it were designed as a better resource for the children with disabilities, would breach the "separate but equal" issue that acted as a catalyst for the civil rights movement and subsequently the integration of public schools.

johnsmith
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johnsmith 09/25/07 - 12:16 pm
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You know, I have never bought

You know, I have never bought the idea that a public servant's children should somehow be treated differently, or required to do certain things to satisfy the people's need for appropriate symbolism. We all know that most public school districts have excellent schools, and lousy schools. Because public school teachers often try to work near where they live, they often see the "warts" at the school for which their children are districted, which may be one of the reasons that public school teachers send their children to private school in higher numbers than any other profession (including physicians). So, I agree with the editorial. Not on should Dr. Bedden feel no compunction whatsoever about sending his child to the best school available to that child (who would NOT do that???), but also, we should be working to tie the $ to the child, not to the school, so that any parent can choose from any available public OR private school for their child. How does this not make sense?

LittleLady
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LittleLady 09/25/07 - 12:22 pm
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I am glad the parents of

I am glad the parents of special needs children can send their kids to a school of their choosing. As far as I am concerned, every parent should have that choice. It is irresponsible parenting for a parent to send their kids to a dangerous or substandard schools.

Don't sacrifice children's education in favor of the social experimentation.

avoter
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avoter 09/25/07 - 02:18 pm
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i would worry about the man

i would worry about the man if he did not choose to send his child elsewhere. he is coming into a system that he knows is disfunctional. when he has made changes and the system works the way it should then question where his child goes to school. he has to put her education above the job as any other parent should. until the system is changed my child will remain in private school.

SoWhat
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SoWhat 09/25/07 - 05:04 pm
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You too can have school

You too can have school choice send YOUR child to private school and pay for it as Dr. Bedden is doing.

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