Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. White Offends Most Vulnerable With Comments


This might surprise many, but I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Eugene White. Dr. White took on a challenge a few years ago. He moved from the relatively comfortable confines of the superintendent's job at the MSD of Washington Township to the frying pan as the Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools.

IPS has so many challenges that any superintendent would find that move daunting, but Dr. White moved there. He has had some success, but the challenges continue. I'm sure there's many things he'd love to snap his fingers and change, but it just doesn't work that way in IPS.

The other night, on WIBC's Denny Smith program, Dr. White was trying to make a point that IPS cannot take only the students it wishes into its school system. He said that the district must take the students whether they were "blind, crippled, or crazy."

That's unforgivable. I'm sorry Dr. White, but, if that's how you feel about your students with disabilities, then you need to move on. Dr. White has apologized for his reference, but that isn't enough. So far, the IPS Board of School Commissioners has refused to take more action against the superintendent.

To be fair, Dr. White has a point (offensive language aside), but his terms in describing it were absolutely unacceptable. It's true that public schools must take almost every student that walks up to their doors. Unlike private schools or charter schools which can be a bit more selective in their admissions process (charters by limiting their enrollment), public schools must accept the student that comes in with severe emotional disabilities or extreme physical issues or that are blind or deaf. Public schools must spend money to hire the necessary people to give those students the best education they can get.

Here's the thing: it is the absolutely MORAL and RIGHT thing for a school to provide whatever education it can for those young people. Public schools do this, and it's one of the reasons that I love being a teacher in a public school. These young people are special, and they should be treated with the same respect as the regular education student they typically rub shoulders with. I salute my colleagues that provide services to these young people.

Those students and the people that teach them shouldn't have to hear the leader of the state's largest school system call them, "blind, crippled, or crazy." That's just inexcusable.

The above post represents the opinion of the author only and no public school or school system.

4 comments:

Paul K. Ogden said...

"Unlike private schools or charter schools which can be a bit more selective in their admissions process (charters by limiting their enrollment), public schools must accept the student that comes in with severe emotional disabilities or extreme physical issues or that are blind or deaf. Public schools must spend money to hire the necessary people to give those students the best education they can get."

With all due respect, Jon, that simply isn't true. Charter schools have to accept disabled students just like traditional public schools. They are under the exact same admission rules as traditional public schools.

Yes, charter schools can limit their enrollment...but the selection process then is by lottery. Charter schools can't pick and choose their students any more than traditional public schools. Private schools can. Charter schools can't.

Jon E. Easter said...

Come on Paul...

Paul K. Ogden said...

Not sure what you mean, Jon. That's the law. Charter schools have to take disabled students just like traditional public schools. There is no difference in admission laws from traditional public schools to charter schools.

If you can find an example of someone being turned away from a charter school because of disability, or for grades for that matter, please let me know because I'd like to look into it. The fact is they can't.

Anonymous said...

Paul, quit reading the technical manuals and watch how the charter school selection works. Even worse, examine closely how the charter school retention policy works. They frequently call parents in and recommend that the student return to the neighborhood public school because they are "better equipped" to handle the students.