Republican Mark Ewing: “there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education”

27 Aug

Mark Ewing is a republican politician in Alaska. He is running for the state house. He recently expressed views on special education which I would politely say I disagree with:

” We are spending millions and millions of dollars educating children that have a hard time making their wheelchair move and, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to say, ‘no’ somewhere. We need to educate our children, but there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education”

I wanted Mr. Ewing to elaborate on this statement so I sent him the following email:

Mr. Ewing,

Can I confirm this quote attributed to you:

” We are spending millions and millions of dollars educating children that have a hard time making their wheelchair move and, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to say, ‘no’ somewhere. We need to educate our children, but there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education”

If this is accurate, can you elaborate? How do you define “benefit from education”? I suspect someone has discussed with you by now how many people in wheelchairs, even those with the motor difficulties that might prohibit controlling the chair, are cognitively capable of “benefiting” from education academically. What would be your position on a public school educating nonverbal child to give that child the ability to communicate more effectively, even if that child may not be “benefiting” in the academic sense?

Could I ask how you fit the above sentiment with the Alaska Republican Party platform, which states: ” Parents have the primary right, as well as the duty, to control and direct their children’s education”. Wouldn’t the state deciding that a child should not be educated conflict with the platform?

I thank you for your time,

No response as yet.

Mr. Ewing isn’t completely disconnected from the disabilities community. His son reportedly had “mental health problems”.

Mr. Ewing apparently tried to rewrite history, claiming he said something slightly different. His hometown paper posted the audio, together with a commentary on the alleged blameshifting Mr. Ewing has engaged in.


By Matt Carey

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4 Responses to “Republican Mark Ewing: “there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education””

  1. futuredave5 August 27, 2012 at 11:44 #

    This is the sort of garbage currently making the rounds on talk radio. Politicians latch on to it, because it appeals to their Ayn-Rand-worshipping base. The working poor and the middle class in the Tea Party agree with these ideas, because they don’t realize they are the next ones who will be thrown overboard.

    By some measures, America is the richest country in the history of the world, yet we can’t afford to educate children with special needs. It is an obvious economic fallacy.

    We can afford to spend more on the military than the next 14 countries combined. We can afford to spend about $7500 per person on healthcare, (even though much of that goes to support bloated corporations that add roughly zero value.)

    We can afford to give trillions in tax breaks to the richest members of society, who use the money to clamor for trillions more. But we can’t afford to educate kids who have trouble with their wheelchairs. There is your Ayn Rand logic in a nutshell: Everyone who is rich deserves to be rich, and everyone who is poor deserves to be cast aside.

    I think the most disturbing thing about this trend is that they are able to be much more open about their absurd “selfishness-is-good” philosophy. Throughout most of history, this kind of talk would get you labeled as a sinner (or worse). These days, it is just another political dog whistle, a way to get the attention of like-minded Teabaggers, without upsetting the rest of the country.

    In other countries, the media seems to see through this pretty easily. Whenever I read sites that originate in the UK, they seem surprised that Americans would flock to politicians who preach the benefits of selfishness, ignorance, and hatred. But here in the U.S., I can stand in the middle of a crowd of them almost anywhere, and they genuinely have no insight into their own ideology.

    I live in a state where the Governor barely avoided going to jail for Medicare fraud. To avoid jail time, he had to plead the 5th Amendment more than 70 times. Yet his campaign ads feature the word “honesty” without any hint of irony. The Tea Party cheers on his campaign to reform Medicare and Medicaid, not by preventing fraud, but by cutting back benefits.

    There is a girl in my neighborhood who agrees with most of the Tea Party mantra, in spite of being otherwise fairly smart. In one of the local races, I asked her; “Why would you support someone who has promised to cut your insurance benefits?” She replied that she thought it was the only way to save the insurance system.

    I tried listing a few other easy ways to save the system, but it was clear that she had already decided not to consider these.

    So, yeah, I guess once you rule out all the ideas that involve cost-sharing, rich people paying more, or government regulation, then the only ideas that are left involve throwing disabled people overboard.

  2. Science Mom August 27, 2012 at 16:27 #

    Wow, way to go Republicans; first Akin and now this jerk. I guess Alaska can be included in the stupid belt given the politicians they are churning out.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) August 27, 2012 at 17:42 #

      Off autism topic, but here’s a segment from the Alaska republican party platform:

      ” E. We support teaching various models and theories for the origins of life and our universe, including Creation Science or Intelligent Design. If evolution outside a species (macro-evolution) is taught, evidence disputing the theory should also be presented”

  3. lilady August 28, 2012 at 00:07 #

    The funniest (or saddest) sight was the GOGs (Greedy Old Geezers) hobbling with assistance with their walkers and hauling oxygen tanks holding placards…”Keep Government Out Of My Health Care”…during the last Presidential election cycle. They were all on Medicare and many of them on Medicaid.

    How about Michele Bachmann who stated she met a woman whose daughter received the HPV vaccine and “immediately thereafter became mentally retarded?”

    How about the political arm of Age of Autism…The Canary Party…that is on the outer fringe of the Republican Party? Shouldn’t they revise their platform to embrace the candidate, our President, who will not dismantle Medicare/Medicaid…and local Democrats who pushed through legislation in their home States, to provide coverage for treatments that really work for autistic children and adults?

    Disclaimer: Yipes, I am age-eligible for Medicare and I support universal health care.

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