Alright – so, Sen. Chamberlain introduced legislation (SF 1525), which wants to establish education savings accounts for students. He did this last year as well but the DFL House controlled were not having it. Nor the union liked Gov Walz.
Here is my take on this and what I sent to the Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee.
Dear Mr. Chair and Members, Idil Abdull here again whose son was suspended for five days by a union-protected teacher Kelly Morris and lobbyist-protected principal Jaysen Anderson in Jefferson High school in Bloomington Minnesota. My son who has non-verbal autism did not understand nor understand now what suspension is. The teacher took away his communication device, disrupted his daily routine then called the principal and kicked him out of his educational environment, all while his mama bear was waiting to pick him up in the school parking lot.
This was on Mar 3rd, 5:18pm in 2018, ever since then I have been trying to advocate for a policy and a law that would protect the kids with no success thus far. I have never taken him back to public school district. Instead, I took my son to a charter school that was welcoming, inclusive, and understood his autism disability. If MN had an education savings law, I would have taken him to an even more suitable educational setting that can better meet his needs.
There are quite a few states who have this and serve students better than public schools. If and when (which is often), public schools fail our children, we should have choices that can help and teach them. If the ultimate goal is to educate the student to their best ability then giving parents choices is the best answer. Some would say this discriminates against students with disabilities because not all private schools are equipped or will take them. That is not true. Yes, many private schools are not equipped, but as a parent, I would rather know that up front and not take my son there. I would rather be given the choice and look for a school that can. In fact, many autism families move to Florida and Mississippi for this very reason.
I wish the committee had another public hearing this session and asked parents to give their perspectives. I am not surprised public schools would be against this because they want to fail our children, not have any accountability, and still be funded while the student fails and/or is suspended. At the very minimum, please hold schools accountable for failing students and when the student is not in school, do not pay them.
As always, I thank you for your time and the opportunity to give you my perspective.
Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom and Advocate who really would like to retire.
The above words do not reflect any candidate, committee, or agency.