If you haven't seen the video of the furious dad who wired his autistic kid and recorded the unprofessional teachers, you should. The man heaves with anger and frustration. We've had our issues with school districts, but we're lucky to be in a good place right now. That's not true for a lot of my friends.
Right now, four out of my 250 friends on Facebook are homeschooling their kids. Two or three others write occasional posts about legal battles and nasty phone calls from teachers. Another handful pulled their kids out of the public schools all together and are now paying buckets of money to private schools.
These families are not your run of the mill homeschoolers. They're not religious and have Obama stickers pasted on the back of their Subarus. All have kids with some special needs – ADHD, autism, ED, dyslexia – and they say that their schools refused to provide the right services for their children.
Right now, there are over 2 million children being homeschooled. How many of them are kids with special needs? We have no idea; no research has been conducted on this yet. My circle of Facebook friends is hardly a large scale, randomized sample, but it does lead me to ask questions.
Before 1975, the public schools made no accommodations for kids with special needs. Nearly 2 million kids received no public education and were either institutionalized or remained at home with their parents. 15 percent of all children are diagnosed with a special need. School districts blame them for bringing down test scores and for stealing money from the other 85 percent of kids. Are the gains that were made in the past 30 years being undone by cash-strapped school districts who are increasingly resistant to caring for the unlucky 15%?