Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Alaskan Left Behind, hopefully

Four years and one month ago I had never heard of Wasilla, Alaska. Then John McCain picked Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate in 2008 and Wasilla was on the map. Still, other than the fact that Wasilla children seem to have very creative first names, I never gave the place much thought. 

I learned from Elizabeth, one of my favorite bloggers, that another resident and politician from Wasilla is now making news. And not in a good way if you live in Maggie's world or any advanced society. Mark Ewing is running for some statewide office in Alaska and in addition to saying how much he loves the smell of burning coal (?) he had this to say about special education:

“I got to be honest with you, I am not in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act. We are spending millions and millions of dollars educating children that have a hard time making their wheelchair move and, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to say, ‘no’ somewhere. We need to educate our children, but there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education,” Ewing said.
My favorite line of the article is this: 

 "Ewing did not elaborate if the disabled children should be left at home or abandoned and left to die in the wilderness, as animals must do in nature. Clearly, he has dismissed the notion that civilized societies have a responsibility for all their citizens."  Read the whole article here

The author references Stephen Hawking as an example of one who cannot move his wheelchair, noting that Hawking was not disabled as a child. I love references to Stephen Hawking. Maggie may not be a genius in physics (but then again she might be and I don't recognize it because I am definitely not a physics whiz) but like Hawking, Maggie cannot move her own wheelchair. 

If Mr. Ewing or someone of his ilk were in charge Maggie would not get to be educated. Maggie is smart as a whip, funny, engaging, entertaining and mischievous. Why on earth would we ever want to educate her and develop these characteristics?

Fortunately, the Ewing troglodytes* of the world are not in charge and God willing, he will lose the election for whatever office he seeks and slink back into whatever coal filled cave from whence he crawled.  

Maggie has attended school and has received an education. Because of that education she has learned to overcome her profound physical disabilities and can communicate with her dynavox. Maggie has a voice, albeit computerized, that she got from her education. 

I don't think I can post what she would have to say about Mr. Ewing, though.  

This is a family site. 

. *my apologies to any troglodytes who do not share Mr. Ewing opinion.


  1. That was my favorite line of the article as well -- and the one that saved me from having a stroke. I snorted instead and moved on.

    I would also propose that those who aren't "smart as a whip" but have severe cognitive disabilities are also educated in school and, in turn, educate those who work alongside them.

  2. Oh, I completely agree, Elizabeth and didn't mean to imply otherwise. Since I have the precise example he cited living under my roof, I figured I would make it apples to apples.


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