Union sees loss of opportunities for special needs kids as a “collateral casualty”

Jul 22 • 502 Views • View Comments

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Patricia Levesque DeskDear Friends,

Eight-year-old Ethan Ward, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is one of the many Florida children with disabilities who could benefit from Florida’s new Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSAs). His mother Melissa calls the program a “huge blessing’’ because it will give her the financial resources and ability to customize Ethan’s education and therapies.

But as hopeful parents sign up this week, the Florida Education Association (FEA) — the state’s largest teachers union — has filed a lawsuit to overturn the program.

The loss of a program that would give Ethan and other special needs children access to an education that will best equip them to learn has been deemed “a collateral casualty’’ by FEA attorney Ron Meyer, who says he is simply challenging the manner in which legislation containing the accounts was passed.

Let’s be clear. The union can’t control the education choices made by affluent parents. All it can do is attack popular choice programs for the most vulnerable and powerless families, such as these accounts or the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

Union leaders’ agenda is always protecting union political power. We expect that. What we didn’t expect from Mr. Meyer was such a callous statement, for which he owes his “casualties an apology.

Patricia Levesque
Chief Executive Officer
Foundation for Excellence in Education

Social media samples to let others know this is unacceptable: 

  • It’s not OK to write off child’s opportunity to learn as “collateral casualty.” These kids matter. http://bit.ly/1r2BOc7
  • Faith’s opportunity to learn and achieve success should not be denied. http://bit.ly/1ka62eU
  • Dismissing “some” students is unacceptable. Kids like Ethan deserve better. http://bit.ly/1r2BOc7

The Foundation for Excellence in Education is igniting a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st century economy by working with lawmakers, policymakers, educators and parents to advance education reform across America. Learn more at www.ExcelinEd.org.


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