Notes from
Mouth #59
May 2000

kid looking out peephole of a well-locked jail cell


The trouble with special education

Mouth's education on the subject of special ed began when a teenaged boy who has dropped out of high school told us what you read below. His label is "retarded" but his insight wins him our nomination to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education.

What I learned in school
by Joshua F.

Here's what I learned.

A teacher doesn't want to be the class any more.

Teachers don't want to go back and learn anything. They don't want me or my dad and my mom telling them what they are supposed to do.

They don't want to learn anything. They are there to teach, to be the teacher, to be up in front of the class.

Cartoon showing a big stairway with a little room tucked under it marked Special Education. The room is lit by a bare light bulb. A teacher and a student peer out at us.

and there's other stuff
in the issue too, of course...

Cartoon showing a magnificent Mercedes driven by a satisfied gent. On the side of the car is a logo that reads Doctors Without Scruples.






Special Education

If you can read this, you probably are not the victim of special ed. But more than six million American children are, and 54 percent of that number (help me, calculator!) are segregated in "special" classes where reading is not on the menu.
Once again, a multi-billion-dollar system has been set up to educate special people like you.
If special ed actually worked? Every parent in town would be begging, borrowing and stealing to get their kids into it.

Mouth's take on Special Ed, our issue #59, is jammed with horror stories and how-tos on avoiding horror stories.
Contents of this online sample:

  • Let's start with what Mouth was stupid enough to figure out last. Special education is all about -- no kidding! -- money. There's Gold in Them There Labels by a variety of experts is a virtual treasure map.
  • The Wooster High French Fry Conspiracy by Deidre Hammon is excerpted from her ADA complaint against the school her daughter attends. I'll bet every judge wishes the complaints he reads are as funny as this one.
  • Diary of a Dad Up Against the Four 'D's by Tom Bradley enumerates the usual three 'D's -- Denying services, Delaying due process, Deceiving Parents and children -- and adds another. In rural Williford Arkansas, the fourth D is Death threats.
  • School is Where my Friends Are by Eleanor Bailey, is a fourth-grader's true story of how inclusion works for her.
  • Her father, Michael Bailey, writes about what it takes to keep her in A Placement in a Regular Class

  • There's some very good news that didn't quite make it into the Mouth: 53,576 institutionalized Missourians will have a chance to choose where they want to live! Like home, for instance. $625 million now spent in nursing homes, group homes, loony bins and other forms of handicaptivity must now follow our people into the community. Read our Stop the Presses update.
  • News from the Mad Summit tells you what got decided when 30 certifiable madmen and -women got together at the Highlander Center to make a plan. Then Fred Fay of Justice for All updated that story when some of those certifiables -- plus Justin Dart, Jr. -- met with the Gore campaign staff on May 2.

Mouth #59 also features an article on the findings, and another one on the recommendations, of the National Council on Disability's ballsy report, "Back to School on Civil Rights."
Jacob Lesner-Buxton has his own brilliant recommendations for fixing the special ed system -- and he knows whereof he speaks because he's still at its mercy. The editor writes about her cousin Daniel West in southern Indiana who is being denied a diploma after spending high school on the honor roll. Why? Because he's so special.
There's "Advice from the Formerly Special" by self-advocates of Oregon, and Jennifer Burnett's SAYS interview with Velveta Howell of the HHS Office of Civil Rights. Not to mention our own serious recommendations on how to fix special ed, the usual unusual news, letters and resources, and pages of Scott Chambers' best and most brilliant cartoons ever. For real.

Why settle for a stingy sample when you can have the whole jumpin' issue in your hands?

To get your copy, send $5 to Mouth, PO Box 558, Topeka, Kansas 66601-0558 and specify #59. Or buy it from our online Attitude Catalog.

It's also possible to arrange for your subscription online.

Scott Chambers, cartoonist and visionary, drew the classics above. He can be reached via email at Mouth bought the rights to use these cartoons first, but Scott holds the copyright to them. For reprint permissions, address him directly.