Special Needs and Schooling

My family has two children with diagnosed needs that drastically effect their schooling. Here, I give a brief overview of our struggle, some of what I have learned through it, and my view of the beginnings of a solution.
My wife and I have had EXTREME difficulty finding school settings that meet the needs of our children. Our younger, in 5th grade, is in his 5th school. Our older, in 9th grade, now looking for his 12th school... Both our kids have unique areas of special needs that cause them to either be "pigeonholed" by those familiar with their diagnoses, or misunderstood by those who aren't. We have been in public and private schools; home, classroom and co-op schools. Other than their educational perspective, the problem we find with the public schools is that they are big and inflexible. For a child with an anxiety disorder who rarely can get anywhere on a time schedule, the public school says, "Sure, we can accommodate your child's needs, just get him to our huge school and be on time or we will prosecute you for truancy." Been there.

The problem with Christian private schools is that they tend to know too little about special needs (yet often assume they are "in the know.") This tends toward too narrow a box and lots of misunderstanding. I can't express how much stress this has caused us and how much "finding a school" has shaped our lives. There is a private school for children like ours 2 hours away that looks great, but it is $23,500 per year. Though it is extremely expensive, I understand why people pay the money... and it isn't to be elitist - it is desperation! Oh, if school choice would come to our area! It would begin the ball rolling to allow Christian schools to gear up to meet the unusual needs many children face at an affordable rate. We have a long way to go to fix our education problems, and more standardization and hierarchical control are NOT the answers!

Schools run by government are innately - systemically - by nature limited in their educational approach. They MUST NOT support any religious perspectives, and they CANNOT teach or support morality beyond shallow public standards. In other words, their sources of academic, moral, and human truth and value can only be Christian by happenstance, not by design. This is fine if Christianity has no special input into the education of children, but I believe the opposite…
It is the source of educational life! Public schools can only meet the educational needs of certain classes of students - primarily those whose families whose faith understanding has little educational expression, who "believe" that "experts" know best, and who trust that the peer and authoritative influence of the public school will not harm their children. Does this matter? Only if God has given us some pointers about life, truth, morality, goodness, etc.

When will the Body of Christ re-engage education on a broad scale? When will Christian special education teachers and researchers seek God for insight into helping kids with special needs in non-secular settings?… and their needs aren't just academic! When will Christian Administrators re-envision schools not as places accountable merely to state and federal law, but to parents?! When will Christian parents stop settling for what the local school offers and DEMAND the freedom and authority to guide the education of their children? As a body, Christians are far to apathetic about the education of children! There - I've vented.
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