Parent Activism Is Not a Disability
Three cheers for Frank and Nicol Shulman and their daughter Rachel, who was featured in Paul Belden's article, "Islands in the Mainstream" (January 1).
How many people do you know who, in the face of today's society, are willing to put it all on the line for their child with a disability? As for Christine Hall, the ESE representative who may prefer parents who don't care over parents who do, she'd better start paying attention to the individual trees before the forest burns down. Inclusion of persons with disabilities is about human rights, and if it takes activist parents to bring this message to the attention of schools and communities, then I say hooray for activist parents!
Terri Harmon, President
Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization, Inc.
Teaching the Whole Class and Nothing but the Class
I read with great interest your cover story "Islands in the Mainstream." I can't believe the nerve (for lack of another word) of the families quoted in your article. Yes, they have children with special needs, but does the entire Broward County School System have to ask "How high?" when told to jump by these parents? Inclusion may be great for some of these kids, but is it fair for all of the "regular ed" students in the class? I resent the fact that one ESE specialist says she spent more time on Rachel Shulman (the young woman highlighted in the article) than with all her other ESE students combined. She also states that when the Shulmans have a meeting, they have to get all of Rachel's teachers in on the meeting while all the other kids in the classes got substitute teachers all afternoon. It's like saying, "My kid first, all the others be damned." This is what I have a problem with.
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Before anyone thinks I have no compassion or just a passing fancy in this, not so. I have two children: one special needs, one not. So I can see both sides of it. I wouldn't like it if a parent in my regular ed child's class monopolized the teacher's whole day. The teacher is there for the entire class, not just their child.
Name Withheld by Request
Ford Trucks Are Strong-Arm Tough
In your January 1 article, Aaron Travis alleges that he was "Taken for a Ride and Left Stranded" by Armstrong Ford. If the charge of duplicitous and aggressive behavior is true, something should be done about it. For starters I think changing their name from "Armstrong Ford" to "Strong-Arm Ford" would be appropriate.