Views in brief

April 6, 2017

An ongoing war on organizers

IN RESPONSE to "ICE's war on immigrant organizers in Vermont": ICE is definitely carrying out targeted attacks on worker-activists. They have been doing the same in upstate New York, as in Vermont.

Dolores Bustamante is a farmworker activist in the Syracuse area and has fought for immigrant and workers' rights in that area. She is on the board of the national organization Alianza de Mujeres Campesinas and the local community organizations Mujeres Divinas and the Workers Center of Central New York.

Supporters went with her to her court date in March; fortunately, she has another hearing in May. Not as fortunate is another activist, Jose Coyote Perez, who was unjustly detained last February and is currently in the Batavia detention center.
Joan McKiernan, New York City

Education, access and disability

YOUR RECENT article about disability, especially in school ("How capitalism frames disability"), is lacking some important details, without which it misportrays the actual problems.

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In the past, the usual way to provide special education was in a separate school or classroom. But for decades, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has required that students be taught in the "least restrictive environment."

This means that students be with kids in general education to the "maximum extent that it appropriate," and that special classes, separate schools or removal from the general education class should only happen when the student's learning or attention issue--their "disability" under IDEA--is so severe that supplementary aids and services can't provide them with an appropriate education.

That's what the law requires. I think it's misleading to say that the inclusion of students with disabilities into the general education classroom only happens in "some wealthy school systems" and is "the exception, not the rule." I can't claim wide experience, but I don't live in a wealthy district, and that is how it is done here. I've visited a school where more than half the students were on free or reduced-price lunch, and that is how it was there.

Readers’ Views welcomes our readers' contributions to discussion and debate about articles we've published and questions facing the left. Opinions expressed in these contributions don't necessarily reflect those of SW.

I don't mean to suggest that special education doesn't have problems. At the school I visited, I met a student who clearly had something like ADHD, and the teachers were working together to help him succeed in his classes, but he didn't have an Individualized Education Plan.

If a teacher suspects that a student has a disability, they are required by law to begin the IEP referral process, but I was told that the district didn't want more students with IEPs, because they'd have to hire more special education teachers to accommodate them.

Because of their even more limited budgets, in high-poverty areas, special education teachers are even scarcer than in other areas.
Iain Dalton, from the Internet

Painting anarchists with a broad brush?

IN RESPONSE to "Thousands confront the right at UC Berkeley": When I posted this article on Facebook, I received some responses, which I appreciate.

One person wrote:

Some thoughtful analysis in here, thanks for sharing. I do wish, however, that "anarchist" wasn't a term thrown around so carelessly (especially coming from the left).

From one section: "Later in the night, anarchists tagged and smashed the windows of several off-campus banks and other businesses, a pointless exercise in property destruction that doesn't politicize anyone."

How does the author know these people are anarchists? Did the window-breaking scream commitment to eschewing hierarchy? Why is what is perceived as violent behavior associated with anarchism and what damage does that do to the underlying ideas that anarchism can offer as a political philosophy?

Another person added:

Yeah, throwing anarchists under the bus like this is a big problem. I'm an anarchist. There are actually a lot of us, but very few of us do these things. Every time somebody blames the anarchists for stuff like this, they're helping the state make a case to come after us. It's only a matter of time before it happens. The left needs to demonstrate better solidarity.

Jamie Partridge, Portland, Oregon

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