Since we last spoke, I published Housing More People Doesn’t Cause Displacement and Tech Bros Who Want To Save America Should Start Here. My latest is Tell Me What I Should Tell Mark Pincus to Put On His Billboard. And I hope you do!
As y’all might know, I’m a big fan of school choice. I think kids absolutely should have a right to legally escape failing public schools. And yet, I do think that from a moral and PR perspective, school choice advocates need to have answers to the question of how to fund teaching the kids who are expensive to teach, whether due to family problems or developmental delays or behavioral issues or whatever, before in any way cutting public school funding. In the Facebook thread, policy analyst Ola Lisowski pointed out that “just because something is mandated doesn’t make it true! I’ve seen plenty of testimonies from parents of public school kids in WI, who needed IEPs, who were required to get them, who simply never did.” In his memoir, which I recently listened to, Moshe Kasher talks about his suboptimal (to say the least) experience as a special needs student in Oakland Public Schools. Anecdotally, Lisowski says many families with special needs kids have better experiences at private and charter schools. “We can pick examples from either side all day but the point is, different things work for different people. Without choice, poor kids are given one option: traditional public. That’s it.”
Clint Olsen said his experience as a parent with a special needs student in public schools “has been mediocre at best.” Yet the cost of private school tuition plus an aide keeps them tied to that system.
Heather Lakemacher, who’s taught in a charter school, says the choice vs special needs dichotomy is false. There’s no reason publicly funded charter schools can’t provide as well for special needs students as public schools. She says DC has at least two charter schools created to serve students with special needs. Not only that, but all “charter schools are still required by law to provide all of the special education services that traditional public schools are. Additionally, part of any IEP meeting is determining whether a student is in need of transportation accommodations. If they are, it becomes the charter school’s responsibility to provide that.”
In housing news that should shock no one, government regulation of public housing, homeownership, and land use have created and worsened slums around the world. People don’t understand neoliberalism. Being told that life is fair in a cisheterocentric white supremacist patriarchy is hella dispiriting and leads you to blame yourself for things you didn’t cause.