This past week has given me hope. This country of ours that always seems to be terribly divided these days united and came together to save Special Olympics. It might not seem like it but there are a lot of people out there that support and will stand up for disability rights.
But then why am I still angry Betsy? I’m angry because you and your administration have shown us over and over again your lack of concern and support for for the disabled. Just the thought of slashing Special Olympics is a disgrace. This isn’t the first year you’ve tried, it seems to have become a pattern. This just happens to be the first time you were recorded testifying at a House Appropriations Subcommittee meeting and we were able to see the true facts for ourselves. What’s even more disgraceful Betsy is that your boss all of a sudden acts surprised that you were eliminating Special Olympics funds.
Betsy I’m angry about the rest of your budget. You are asking to cut supported employment, a program that connects disabled people with jobs, by 22.5 million. You are asking for a 7.5 million cut to the National Institute for the Deaf. You are asking for a 13 million cut for Gallaudet University, a government funded university for the deaf. You are asking for a 5 million cut to the American Printing House for the blind, a federal program that produces books for blind students.
At the same time that you are decreasing funds for these programs you are increasing funds for charter schools which just so happens to be your own pet project. You are asking to add 60 million to the Charter Schools Program, a program which creates and funds charter schools.
Our children with disabilities and special needs are going to be significantly impacted by this. Public schools have laws, guidelines and protocols that they must follow to ensure children with disabilities are protected and able to access the curriculum. Your charter schools Betsy are not obligated to abide by these laws. Why would I send my child there? Hey Betsy do you realize your charter schools won’t have children with special needs enrolled? They will be forced to stay in the public schools that you are syphoning money from to put into “your schools”. And here Betsy is where your bigotry and lack of empathy come shining through. Your plan all along has been to keep disabled children out of your schools. Well Betsy let me just say that my children are better adults today for having gone through public schools that enrolled all of “God’s children” regardless of their abilities, race, religion, and economic status.
Betsy you say these were difficult decisions. Let a parent of a disabled child tell you what real difficult decisions are. You have no idea and never will. These cuts to your budget are just one more insult to the people of this country. You are putting even more hardship on the most vulnerable.
This past week people from the United States and all over the world stood up to you and your administration and said they believed in the Special Olympics. “Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people.”Really Betsy I am angry, very angry. At a time when more and more people across our country are seeing the benefits of including and accepting people with disabilities you are turning your nose up and making some really bad decisions.