NC Welcomes Terrorists
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At Long Last, Good News from the Courts For Parents
Recently the New York Times reported a US Supreme Court case that may be the beginning of the end for inflicting inferior educations on unsuspecting students. The timing and the wording make it a must read in connection with the story reported in the right hand column.
The Times article says "The schools told Emory and Elaine Carter that their daughter was terminally lazy and would ‘never see a day of college'. In truth, Shannon was suffering from a common but undiagnosed learning disability that made it difficult for her to comprehend the little that she could read. Alienated and depressed, Shannon became suicidal. In desperation her parents placed her in a private school for disabled children where she jumped several grade levels within a few years and graduated actually reading on grade level."
The connection is fairly obvious. Reading failure and suicidal. The difference is that Shannon's parents had the resources and knowledge to fight the system, so Shannon is now alive and doing quite well.
"The Carters then sued the school system for private-school tuition and were upheld in the landmark Supreme Court case known as Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter. The law before this case limited parents of disabled children to schools approved by the state. But the court ruled in Shannon's case that the school system lost its right to plan a disabled child's education if it failed to provide an "appropriate public education" as required by the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, known as the IDEA."
This was a unanimous Supreme Court decision. To read more about the case, go to: www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/carter.links.htm
When Will Someone Listen To the All Too Obvious?
The January 1 edition of the Charlotte Observer carried a story headlined "Suicide is rising for young blacks." After reciting the depressing fact that the suicide rate among black males in NC more than doubled from 1984 to 1998 and related data the article focused on a young black man who recently committed suicide.
"Mekye was dyslexic, which he found frustrating. His mother says she thinks it fueled his depression. . ."
The article clearly explained in those few words what his mother believed caused his depression which led to his suicide. What his mother probably didn't know was that dyslexia can be educationally induced and that it has long been known that the whole language approach to reading instruction makes matters worse for dyslexics.
His mother probably was never told that until the legislature passed a law in 1996 requiring the Department of Public Instruction to provide phonics instruction, DPI mandated an exclusively whole language approach to reading instruction. Many teachers had no idea how to teach using a phonetic approach because most NC schools of education did not instruct them in that method. DPI needs to come clean with parents on the failed educational fads they have inflicted on children in the past decade, since the effects of these fads are still being felt.
Dr. Samuel T. Orton (the Orton in the Orton-Gillingham method of treating dyslexia) wrote in 1929 that "faulty teaching methods may not only prevent the acquisition of academic education by children of average capacity but may also give rise to far reaching damage to their emotional life."
Since it has been known since 1929 that the whole language approach mandated by DPI can harm some children, why didn't anyone warn their parents? Why Johnny Can't Read was written in the 1950's. Why did the Department of Public Instruction ignore its lessons? Mekye's mother deserves an answer.
NC Welcomes Terrorists
Drivers Licenses Revisited
The October issue of the Raleigh Report (available at www.forfern.com) talked about the fact that NC was so lax in issuing driver's licenses that Pakistanis who came here from New York to get licenses said they did so because it was so easy compared to other states. As a result of pressure from several House Republicans and a few reporters, the Department of Motor Vehicles ( DMV ) then claimed that a new law was going into effect November first which would tighten up on license issuance.
Unfortunately the major media reported what DMV said without informing the public of DMV's past record or the fact no new law was passed with a November 1 effective date. In order to avoid further scrutiny, DMV was just using the press to mislead the public by pretending to do what was needed to fix what was very obviously a major problem.
The House budget actually included a fairly obvious step in ending the practice of issuing licenses to nonresidents by requiring DMV to issue a temporary license when the applicant passed the test and to mail the permanent license to the address given by the applicant. Unfortunately, when the conferees appointed by Democrat Speaker of the House Jim Black and Democrat President Pro Tem of the Senate Mark Basnight met, they dropped that simple safeguard, perhaps because the Democrats who run the executive branch did not really want to fix the problem.
In its place they put a provision that makes a joke of the suggestion that applicants must provide documents that prove they reside in NC by saying that "if an applicant cannot produce any documentation specified" then the applicant "may complete an affidavit." That's right, even though the documentation specified is as meaningless as a preprinted business letterhead (run off on a personal computer printer), if the applicant doesn't want to bother with printing themselves a letterhead they can just give the examiner $2 and swear to an affidavit.
This issue isn't going to go away. Giving official government identification to people who provide false information should be viewed as an invitation to terrorists.
SC Attorney General Thinks NC Licenses Untrustworthy
In fact, he recently asked US Attorney General John Ashcroft to require airlines to refuse to accept licenses from NC and three other states as identification for boarding planes. As he stated "illegal aliens have been getting on planes all over this country with nothing more than a driver's license to carry them on board. . .This is a very dangerous situation."
But NC officials are not concerned about the situation. Wayne Hurder, director of driver's license certification for DMV, speaking for NC's executive branch said "Our job is not to force compliance with immigration laws." Mr. Hurder is simply following the guidance he received from the Attorney General's office when it was under the guidance of current Governor Mike Easley. These officials want to issue drivers licenses to illegal aliens, as Mr. Hurder explained, because they believe that illegal aliens are going to drive without a license if we don't give them one, so why not issue licenses?
The public needs to demand changes in how licenses are issued and in the attitudes of those responsible for licensure. After September 11, the idea that anyone should be able to lie to get a license is simply unacceptable.
In an editorial November 1, the Charlotte Observer talked about how "Virginia's liberal policy for obtaining a driver's license or state identification card has led to fraud and corruption." They said "tens of thousands of illegal immigrants got legal driver's licenses or identification cards in Virginia, where applicants needed none of the standard proofs of identity or residency - such as a Social Security Card or utility bill."
But when it came to NC, the editor let his friends in state government off the hook. He claimed that "such elaborate schemes as those in Virginia have not been documented in North Carolina," even though 400,000 NC drivers licenses have been issued to people who admitted they had no social security number. Perhaps he forgot that the lawyer for a Madison County license examiner who was charged with "wrongful issuance of a driver's license" was chairman of the State Board of Elections and a fundraiser for Governor Mike Easley.