Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cost Effectiveness

Our school board has a bee in its bonnet about the cost of special education. Apparently, it costs a lot of money to educate kids, and even more to educate kids with extraordinary needs. 


So there solution is to complete an audit. Oh, and in a nice Orwellian move, they are now calling this a "review." And they switched from talking about cost effectiveness to efficiency and quality after a number  of parents began publicly making noises that this was discriminatory. 

Well, it IS! 

You don't hear anyone out there complaining about the high school student who:
Takes all AP courses (extra costs: small ratio, highly qualified teacher, special curricular materials)
joins a couple of clubs (extra costs: staff, facilities)
stars in the school play (extra cost, production, facilities, supervision, copyright for the scripts)
plays a couple sports, one of which is water polo (extra costs, travel to competition, maintenance of sports facilities including the new  3 million dollar pool rehab, coaching and trainers)
is president of the student council... etc. 

Oh, but, right. Uhm.  Gosh this is awkward. Well, see that kid? Well, she will... you know. Amount to something. You know, be PRODUCTIVE.

So we feel ok about that money. THOSE kids deserve it. 

Here is my take away: My kid will never amount to anything. Every extra thing she needs is takes something from a deserving student; someone who is productive. If this were a factory, we would judge our productivity on quality units produced per year. My defective kid would count against our productivity. If this were a factory, she would go back into the slag pile and be melted down and re-made.

But this is not a factory. Some kids cost more. And that is ok. Even if they don't play water polo. 

Or maybe it is not. Maybe we should go back to the days where we just warehoused as many disabled people as we could for the least amount of money. Institutions is such a nice word for a ghetto. 

Eugenics, anyone?