Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Private school tuition: More than some people's yearly salary dollars.

Private school tuition after lovely generous financial aid package from lovely generous foundation that has now earned itself a place in your will should you ever actually become a famous wealthy author: Still only slightly less each month than your mortgage payment.

Knowing that in his new school, no one will accuse your child with a medically documented fine motor skills delay of "just not wanting to do the work" when he struggles with writing, no one will confuse attention issues caused by a medically documented sensory disorder with willful misbehavior, no one will keep him from joining the second-grade reading class just because his delayed handwriting lags behind his advanced reading ability, and no one will call you "hostile" during a teacher meeting for very politely requesting basic accommodations that your child with a medical condition is technically entitled to by law?


There are some things money can buy. And I've realized I'd rather worry about how to afford my son's school than worry about whether my son's school is killing his love of learning. I'd rather swear off restaurants and new clothes for a year and live off of peanut butter sandwiches and live with the draft coming through my cracked basement window than fight daily against the urge to swear at the mechanical representatives of a soulless, broken bureaucracy who cannot ever seem to say anything to me about their continuing failure to effectively do the job my tax dollars pay them for other than endless variations on the phrase "We're sorry, we can't help you."

But have I given up on trying to fix my local public schools? Hell, no. Not every family has even our modest means to sacrifice to pay for private school.

If the public schools think I'm out of their hair for good, they have another thing coming. My goal has never been just to fix things for my kid with special needs. All kids with special needs deserve better treatment than the American school system and medical establishment currently offer. I feel compelled to do something big about this. I'm just not sure yet what.