Sunday, January 22, 2017

It is really easy to get angry watching confirmation hearings. It is the nature of politicians to lie. When that lie is contrary to your concept of what's right, or affects you personally, it's infuriating. For me that has applied in such matters as global climate change denial  and civil rights issues. But nothing upset me more than seeing a candidate for Secretary of Education who hadn't the vaguest idea what IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is, or even that it is Federal law.

Those of us who have spent large chunks of our lives fighting for the rights of our kids and other people's kids, to receive a free and appropriate education, have depended on that law, its predecessor, the Education of the Handicapped act, and the state laws that support it. When I advocated, I memorized the law chapter and verse. Even then, I often sweated bullets to get a district or even an individual principal to follow it. But through all that, at least I knew that the Federal government was on my side.

If I was a parent or advocate attending an IEP meeting today, I'd be very nervous. What rights will be pulled away, or at the very least go unenforced? What will happen to the kids who lose them? Instead of a productive life, will they end up wasting away in front of a TV set --- or worse? For those of us with children with disabilities, their futures haunt our dreams. Very soon those dreams could morph into nightmares.

There is nothing more damaging in this world than willful ignorance. Even if you disagree with those in power, they should at least be able to conduct an informed and intelligent discussion.