A friend (thanks, girl!) brought to my attention that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin slashed funds for schools for special needs children in Alaska by 62%.
I haven't done enough research on my own yet, but I did find an article at EdWeek where I got this excerpt:
Members of education organizations in Alaska generally spoke favorably about Ms. Palin’s record on school issues since she took office in January of 2007. The governor has become a popular figure among the 13,000 members of the Alaska National Education Association, said Barbara Angaiak, president of the state affiliate of the National Education Association.
The union official credited Ms. Palin for having backed a legislative proposal, which became law this year, that overhauled the state’s school funding system. That plan brought more money to the state’s many rural and remote school districts and raised spending for students with special needs. ("Alaska Legislators Overhaul Funding," April 30, 2008.)
The measure raised per-pupil funding by $100, to $5,480, and brought the state’s total K-12 budget to $1.2 billion.
So I'm not sure, yet, how those two pieces of information figure in together. Those who know me know that RESEARCH is my middle name - no matter what the issue.
However, I do have this to say. Regardless of her past voting record, I have high hopes - and here's why. I am hoping, like happened with me, that her new role as a special needs mom will greatly influence her voting patterns and behavior overall. In fact, I'd bet the farm on it.
The minute I became a special needs mom, the world became a different place and suddenly, things that I never thought about or selfishly didn't deem important to me became the center of my existence. Sarah Palin has only been a special needs mom for a few months. She hasn't even encountered yet all of the issues that are ahead of her in this capacity.
I am COUNTING on the fact that every new therapy, every new roadblock, every new avenue she must pursue on behalf of her son with special needs, will open her eyes to the needs of every family with a special needs child in America. The "I had no IDEA!" phenomenon.
She is in the very beginning stages of being the mother of a child with Down Syndrome. I'm hoping that as she learns along the way, like the rest of us have, of things she never knew were issues, she will bring these to the forefront using her position of power in her place in the public eye.
We can only wonder and pray and research about candidates, and in the end - make a decision as to how we will vote based on these things. We shall see.