House Education Committee Kills Choice for Autistic Kids, Angers Cap'n

I love rollercoasters, but not when my emotions are riding on them. This morning is the bottom of the hill, and the ride has been fast. I just found out that the House Education Committee has killed (though not “double-super-killed” this time) a chance to expand educational opportunity for Colorado’s autistic students.

Colorado Senate News has the sad details:

Senate Bill 130, authored by Senate GOP Whip Nancy Spence, was a groundbreaking proposal to create the state’s first charter school specifically serving children with autism. Spence, of Centennial, the GOP’s ranking member on the Senate Education Committee, won support for her bill on both sides of the aisle, including from Senate President Peter Groff. Groff, a Denver Democrat, has often made headlines with his advocacy of wide-ranging school reforms and is leaving his post at the end of the 2009 legislative session to help guide education policy in the Obama administration.

Yet, Spence says, it ironically was some of Groff’s fellow Democrats in the House who killed the bill this afternoon in the House Education Committe. Spence said she had been told earlier that if she didn’t agree to water her bill down, it likely couldn’t pass the House.

“This underscores a deep and growing rift over education reform in the other party,” Spence said. “When you look at how key Democrats on education policy like Peter Groff and (Denver Sen.) Chris Romer stood by this bill only to have their fellow party members defend the status quo and defeat this propsoal [sic] in the House, you have to wonder if the two sides are heading for a showdown at some point.”

I’m sure there’s something profound I should be able to say about the future dynamics of education policy within the Democratic Party.

But right now, I just feel like crying in my Cap’n Crunch. Let me tell you what: The Cap’n is pretty angry, too, about putting the interests of adult lobbying groups ahead of kids with autism. The fight for choice and opportunity isn’t over, and I’m certainly glad the Cap’n and his well-armed fleet of crispy, sugary goodness is on our side!