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

Posted Aug 27 2012 12:57am

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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