“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education is a group sponsored by the Catholic Church.  The goal of the foundation is that they grant
...children with special needs the remarkable opportunity to receive a Catholic education in their parish schools.  In 1996, a group of parents founded F.I.R.E. to realize a common dream for their children with special needs to attend parish schools with their siblings and neighbors.  Since F.I.R.E.'s founding, the non-profit has provided essential financial grants to schools within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph...
God bless the Kansas City - St. Joseph Diocese for their efforts in this area.  May efforts like these increase within the Catholic church, and the Christian church in general.  The figures for Christian schools offering education services for children with disabilities are dismal (for some more information, see a brief article I wrote for the NACSPED news).  We should follow the example of this diocese.

May F.I.R.E. be inundated with requests for help as other Christian schools catch their vision.



Anonymous said...

What a joy it would be if private schools, particularly Christian schools were more equipped to meet the needs of students with disability or other special needs.

I am now a special education teacher primarily because of the way a Christian school failed to meet the needs of my daughter with very mild special needs.

I imagine it is a matter of resources largely; but it is also a matter of the dispositions of the private schools. They expect, require compliance with little flexibility. Since Jesus commands that the church reach out to all peoples, this seems a tragic case of malfeasance.

Anonymous said...

and to think it all began as a dream.
Adaptable, Capable and Exceptional.
I can imagine those words in front of a model school for children with special needs.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting to find that there were private schools that allowed those with special needs to attend. I have friends that enrolled their children in Catholic schools. The children were required to take an assessment test in order to be admitted. Is this still the practice today? Do the children have to qualify in order to attend private schools?

I only hope that all dioceses follow the lead the Diocese of Kansas City in providing not only financial assistance for those with special needs attending, but also the guidance to their parishioners to help welcome them into the Church. This is the area where more needs to be done.

Next, my concern is with the teachers, are they qualified to teach those with special needs? Are private school teachers required to get the same licensing as teachers in public education? Will we set up classrooms with teachers not having the knowledge required to meet the needs of the children? This is the area which most concerns me. I have heard and read about teachers feeling they are inadequately prepared for helping those with special needs. My hope is that there will also be proper training for the teachers serving children with special needs.

Anonymous said...

After reading this article I found it interesting that the Catholic church offers more services to the disabled than the christian churches. I am catholic and attend a catholic church, there I do not see very many special needs people at least those whose needs show on the outside, how ever there is not much talk of those who require special services for their needs. I dont ever see even an interpreter.

I think if Private schools could offer more services to those with SPecial needs there would be a high percentage of children inPrivate school rather than Public School. To be honest with you, I think the only reason why parents of children with special needs attend public school is because there services are "FREE."

Overall, Public School, Private School, Home School, all students should be trewated equally and unfortunately for those children with special needs from Down Syndrome to ADD none of them have equal oportunity in our schools. There are always ropes to be jumped and hoops to go through to get the appropriate service needed for a child to receive the best education possible.

Jeff McNair said...

I wish you were right, anonymous about parents basically being just plain cheap. I wish that were the reason children with disabilities are not included in private, Christian schools.

But I have to say that children with disabilities are not in private Christian schools because there are just not programs being provided there. Check out the link I provided in the article. Those are California State Department of Education figures.