This past weekend I attended my nieces bat mitzvah, and as expected I got into another high spirited discussion with my youngest brother.
The subject turned to education and the inequities between urban and suburban schools. It was then that I learned some disquieting news.
It turns out that parents who have a child performing below grade level, and that subsequently get classified with a learning disability, are able to receive even more money from the state SSI program. I'm sure the school also receives additional funding through Title 1.
The ramifications of this are incredible, as this is in essence an incentive to be an unsupportive parent. I know this assumes the parent has less than noble intentions, but when you look at the inordinately high percentage of under performing and special ed students in the inner city it does establish at least a prima facie case that an abuse of the system exists, to the detriment of any child caught up in this naked, selfish grab for money. At the very least the issue deserves someone's attention.
Inner city children already exist in an environment that compromises their right to an education that properly prepares them for life after high school. Equity and greater opportunity are in short supply in New Jersey's public education system. To think that some parents may be contributing to the challenges facing their children is too sad for words.