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Friday, January 15, 2010

You Spin Me Right 'Round, baby, Right 'Round....


As you may have heard, there is a Senate race going on in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth has lost our long time Senator Teddy Kennedy last year to his battle with a brain tumor. Governor Deval Patrick appointed Paul G. Kirk to be interim senator (much to the voter's dismay) to have his seat filled during the time when a special election could be held.

Now, I am not one for politics. My mother always told me that one should never talk of the dead, religion or politics. I am not well versed in the subject and tend to stay away from it. However, as a mother, and a parent and a special needs advocate, I decided to actually see what these candidates are standing for in regards to special education.  

Lo and behold, I see nothing. 

NOTHING.

Don't get me wrong. They all have a platform on education. But special needs...hmmm... nope, can't seem to find anything here. 

Martha Coakley says this: "reducing the district payments to charter schools based on the percentage of special needs students." That's IT.

So, from this little snippet, it looks like she'll take AWAY money from the charter schools so that they won't be able to support special needs students, or if they can, it will be severely diminished. And where does it go once it's taken away? Show me the money, Martha!

Scott Brown says this: "I am passionate about improving the quality of our public schools." That sums it up. He does mention lower income students, but nothing about SPED students. 

Joe Kennedy says this: "If elected, I would call for the end of the Federal Government involvement in Education and the closure of the Federal Department of Education." Wow, I'm all for less government, but doing that would be insane, at least in the scale that is described here. 

So, here I am, concerned mother, registered voter and special needs blogger and not ONE of the candidates for United States Senator has any sort of a platform for SPED students. I checked their websites, on the web, even on Youtube. Nothing where either of them make any mention of special needs students. 

Makes me think...well, what about John Kerry? What is his stance? Well, Virginia, he doesn't have one. Our Governor doesn't have one either. That makes me furious that no one seems to care enough about our SPED students in our state. They are just as important as other students. They need advocacy. They need people to learn tolerance. They need support, and not just financial.

I emailed all three candidates. Yes, I did. That is not usually me, but I want to know. I need to know. I can't possibly be the only parent who wants to know where these candidates stand on this issue. I can't be the only voter who wants to know if this future senator will fight for us.

I did get an immediate response from Joe Kennedy's camp:

Dear Supporter,

Unfortunately we have had to shut down this email address.  We have been flooded by spam from Brown supporters including insults and threats of violence against me and my family.  Please contact another campaign committee member with your request.  We apologize for this inconvenience.

Joe Kennedy

No joke. I did send another email to the other addresses. 

Now, I am not running for office someday. I do not have lofty goals to have a cushy state job. I am a concerned citizen and parent and want the best for my child. I am sure you all do, too. But, I want to know where they stand. 

I will also be emailing Senator Kerry and Governor Patrick about this as well. I may even be bold and email the President. Hey, he checks his Blackberry. Why not? What can it hurt? It can only bring light to this situation. Light to a subject that some folks would rather keep well hidden and shrouded from view. 

I will keep it bright in here. I will keep you posted. 
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