Over the weekend, three parents called to ask questions about the right way to educate their kids who were having various issues — anxiety, emotional issues, learning differences. I guess I’m getting a reputation for knowing a lot about special education, so they came to me for help when their kids weren’t fitting into the norm. The parents were looking for answers and alternatives, because they weren’t getting that information from the schools. Schools simply had no clue how to handle the oddballs.
I will probably set myself up as a consultant soon. Over the weekend, Steve and I talked about how I should set up an LLC. I will probably keep giving advice to parents for free, because special ed parents are my people, but I will charge private companies for my knowledge. Because they are also coming to me for advice. When opportunity knocks and all that.
Here’s a prediction about public education. Parents are going to start playing a bigger role in education. Sure, rich parents have been doing that for ages, but now middle class parents will be doing it, too.
Parents are getting more and more involved. I see it on twitter, as special ed parents are tagging me on their tweets. They are organizing in national groups and creating their own organizations. They’re getting more political. They are starting new after-school programs. They’re sharing information on the Internet.
At the same time, tax payers aren’t interested in paying for school buildings or for teachers, so those schools will soon just be doing the basics. Everything else — music, enrichment, arts, tutoring — will be happening after school and will be funded privately.
I have already started doing that for Ian. Public schools only meet about half his needs. We start the second part of his education every day at 3:30.
While I’m a hundred percent behind parental involvement in schools, I am worried equity issues. Kids with parents like me will have even bigger advantages than in the past. If more is going to be expected of parents, then information to them has to be distributed freely and equally.