Detroit Free Press Charter Series Slights Students w/Disabilities

Well, I can only partially agree with Detroit Free Press Editorial Editor, Steve Henderson’s description of the 7 day Charter series as being laid out “exquisitely.”

Exquisite it was until today’s part 5 of the series. I worked on this on and off with staff-writer, Lori Higgins for more than one year. Lori had concerns months ago that special education had been cut to the bare bones reminiscent of the MDE”s proposed rule revisions. Another statement that students with disabilities don’t matter.

Well, Lori was right. There were only several small paragraphs in today’s paper. Not even an entire article. Where was the outrage over Muskegon Heights Public Schools Academy and Mosaica Education. The Free Press had copies of my systemic complaints that led to the firing of the director of special education. 167 students (every student with an IEP) had been denied a FAPE based upon the MDE”s final report. This coupled with their story on Summit should have been a goldmine. The glaring news-light on Summit this past Sunday said nothing about special education when it has been a hotbed of violations and Muskegon Heights Public Schools Academy gave students no reason to go to school.

Stephen Henderson needs to hear from disability stakeholders at this gross and negligent slight. Lori Higgins did her job-extraordinaire and then editors sliced and diced until nothing of value was left. If Steve Henderson thinks Rick Snyder should be accountable to public schools and charter schools alike, the Detroit Free Press should be accountable to ALL students and these charters’ failure to follow the state and federal special education rules, cherry-picking students to weed out those with special needs and even taking them for the purpose of Count Day.

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