10 September 2013

Homeschooling and special needs

As many of you know, my 7 year old, Crackle, doesn't go to school. He's homeschooled. It's best for us; it's best for him. Anyway, we have him enrolled in a Distributed Learning program that is accountable to the government. It's called Redacted Christian. I went with them not because they're Christian, but because they offered me the biggest cut of the special needs grant that they get to provide him education. But Luna, aren't YOU providing the education? Well, yes. But I need help, and the government gives the school money to hire someone to help me, because of his considerable special needs. However, as soon as I signed up with them, the money they offered dropped by 2 grand. :(

I'm really really not impressed with this company. I know I'm naive, but I expected some sort of morality from a Christian organization, and I'm not seeing it. I like lists, so here's a list of my issues with them.

1) Their hiring policy for SEAs (special education assistants) sucks. Again, they lied about allowing me to hire whomever I want. Nope. All SEAs have to sign a contract stating that they are evangelical Christians. Ew.
1a) All SEAs are contractors. That's Redacted's way of not paying them any benefits, which I find remarkably immoral. It's legal, sure. But it's not moral.
1b) THEY decide what the SEAs are paid. The max that any SEA may be paid is $17/hr. Why? It just comes out of my budget anyway. If I want to pay $34/hr and have half the hours, why can't I? Since they're not paying benefits anyway, it seems only fair that they pay a decent wage. But no. Can't be decent people. Must be capitalist shitbags.

2) The cut. For every child that enrolls in the DL school, the government pays the school a small amount of money. The school takes a cut and pays a teacher to do a report card based on the students reporting, and to do the paperwork involved in keeping the child enrolled. If the child has special needs, like Crackle does, then the school also does an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) that the parents and SEAs use as a plan for educating that child. In that case, the school gets a large grant ($16,500, last I looked) and uses that to hire the SEAs, OT, SLP, and any other program the child might need (swimming, for example, is covered for children with muscular issues). However, in almost all cases, the school siphons off about $6500 that they use for I don't know what, because my kid never sees it. Now, I know *some* of it has to go to the teacher, because that IEP takes time. But I certainly don't see that it needs to be that much. And, my husband was a teacher, and I have the vast majority of a B.Ed (I didn't do the internship), and we know how to write an IEP. But we're not allowed. Save them time and money? Nope. No can do. It should be noted that all the schools are the same on this. They collude to all siphon the same amount of money out of our grants. It's perfectly legal. The grant belongs to the school to provide special education to us. It is not my grant. But it sucks. They're making gobs of cash that they could be providing to kids. Instead, they throw a giant convention for the EAs every year, forcing them to come down to Victoria from all over the province. Nice Christians, these.

3) They monitor email. BIG time. Every email I send to my son's teacher is also read by the administration. That's creepy shit. They don't trust me. They don't trust the teacher (who is actually quite a nice person, but she's not a teacher to my son, and it bugs me that she's called his teacher.)

So why don't I quit? Several reasons... ooooh, I smell another list coming on!

A) It's a pain in the ass to change. I already have an SEA set up with them. I already have my IEP done. That's a ton of work.
B) They're all the same. I just expected the Christians to be a little less evil. Wrong.
C) The ones that aren't the same are worse.

So why not send him to school?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! The school board special ed person told me not to. She told me that they can't accommodate his needs. Then she told me she'd deny ever saying that because it's illegal. But she wanted me to know he wouldn't be safe. (wheeee, another list!)

Wanc) He is LOUD. He'd be too disruptive to be in a regular class anyway, and they'd either have him alone (so why not be at home where he's safe?) or in a group of other loud disruptive kids. And he's sound senstive, so that'd go over terribly poorly
Nuba) He's terribly terribly sensitive to gluten. The kids for some reason must eat in their classrooms. That means there are crumbs on everything. One crumb makes him sick for over a week.
Yamni) He's clever. Any SEA they hire for him is going to have to be aware of him 100% of the time. And they overburden the SEAs. He would get away from them.
Doba) He's clever. And they wouldn't actually teach him much.
Zapta) The school focuses on academics. That's their job. Crackle needs to learn to be socially connected to what is going on around him first. Forcing him to give the SEA the red block when he can't even play with her isn't going to help him be a happy, healthy human being.
Shakpe) He's too anxious and overwhelmed as it is. Throwing him into a schooling situation would be a nightmare for him.
Shagowi) Right, so he's non-verbal. If anything ever did go wrong, he couldn't tell me. Imagine if you had to send your child into a situation where he or she was vulnerable to abuse, and you knew there was no way you'd ever find out.

So yeah. No school for him. None for Pop either, but only because of number Nuba and the fact that he's brilliant and would be bored out of his gourd. I'm putting him in Sportball and Scouts for socialization time. And in the homeschooling interest groups too. But I sure as HELL won't be putting him in Redacted Christian!