Friday, December 28, 2007

This Judge sits in the hot seat

This Judge sits in the hot seat

By Matthew Franck



JEFFERSON CITY — A court case that has the potential of costing Missouri upwards of $1 billion has formed a mountain range of documents in the chambers of Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan.

Amid the sloppy 4-foot-high stacks of briefs, depositions and evidence, Callahan must single-handedly determine whether the state's $2.7 billion school funding plan gives public school students a fair chance at an education.

His decision — expected within weeks — is certain to have sweeping consequences, possibly affecting not only the amount of taxes that must be collected for schools, but also the quality of public education the state is obligated to provide.

Such high impact rulings have become Callahan's forte.

In the past four years, no Cole County judge has tested the constitutionality of more laws and regulations than he has. In the past two years alone, Callahan has ruled on laws dealing with campaign contributions, strip clubs, the state's child abuse registry and voter identification.

Most recently, it was Callahan who last month allowed the state to move forward with a plan to take control of the St. Louis Public Schools, over the objection of the district's elected board.

If Callahan upholds the state's school funding plan, his ruling could smother a lawsuit that has been years in the making, involving half of the state's 524 school districts.

If the judge rules against the state, some say he could help trigger a constitutional crisis, pitting the courts against a Legislature that is unwilling to raise taxes for schools.

"I fear a situation where the court orders the Legislature to spend more money than it has," said Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit.

Bartle, a frequent critic of what he calls "judicial activism," said the case could give one judge the power to overturn to the will of the 197 legislators who crafted the school spending plan two years ago. (Do we all understand why Matt Bartle will not return our phone calls and keeps telling to work out our problems with our school districts. Isn't it time for Matt Bartle to hear from us? Shouldn't we let him know that he is NOT working in our best interests and we want a Senator that is or we will find a new one?

But Callahan is no stranger to political conflict. Nor is the Cole County Circuit Court, which serves as a kind of proving ground for Missouri legislation and policy.

st. louis roots

Callahan's route to the bench was a common one. Before being elected in 2002, he served three decades as a prosecutor. Most of that time was in Cole County. But Callahan also has deep roots in St. Louis.

As a child, he attended Our Lady of Sorrows parish, where he still volunteers. After law school, he served six years as an assistant prosecutor in St. Louis.

Had he landed on the bench of most other circuit courts in the state, Callahan's judicial service likely would have attracted little attention statewide.

But the Cole County Circuit Court isn't just any court.

Sitting a few hundred yards from the Capitol, the court is typically the first arbitrator of legal disputes involving the state. Along with the typical docket of divorces, crimes and civil suits, Callahan and two other judges must wrestle with the constitutionality of freshly minted laws.

"When you are at the seat of state government, the environment is different," Callahan said.

The state cases are assigned randomly among the judges. But by chance, Callahan's docket has seemed to include most — if not all — of the recent headline-grabbing disputes.

At times, his courtroom is a switchyard of big cases. Even as he was in the middle of the eight-week school funding trial, Callahan had to take an afternoon break from the case to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the state's new campaign finance law.

The high-profile docket often places Callahan at odds with the politicians who crafted the laws he is asked to scrutinize. And increasingly, state legislators are lashing out at judges and threatening to limit their authority.

Bartle and other Republicans, including Gov. Matt Blunt, have supported a constitutional amendment that would prevent courts from trumping the Legislature's authority over matters concerning state spending.

The amendment, which has failed to clear the Legislature, was drafted partly out of fears over the school funding case before Callahan.

Bartle said the anger toward judges is not aimed at Callahan in particular, but more at appeals court judges and federal judges who, he says, seek to tie the hands of elected officials.

Even so, criticism of judicial authority has taken a toll on the Cole County court.

Last year, Callahan's former colleague, Judge Thomas J. Brown III, was unseated after out-of-state conservative groups spent more than $75,000 to defeat him. The spending highlighted the importance of the court to political powers outside Jefferson City.

on 'adequacy'

Amid complaints of judges trampling the will of legislators, Callahan said he is a firm believer in an independent judiciary.

"When a citizen has a dispute with government, you don't want another part of government sitting in as judge unless you feel like the judge is going to be independent," he said.

Callahan said judges owe deference to the Legislature, acknowledging their role as the people's elected representatives.

But Callahan said in an interview that preserving core constitutional rights often means tossing out laws. In recent years, he cited free speech rights as grounds to strike down provisions dealing with strip club regulations and campaign finance restrictions.

But many say the school funding case presents particularly tricky constitutional questions for the judge.

At issue is not whether the state is providing a free education, as required in the constitution, but whether that education is adequate.

Defenders of the state school spending plan say the adequacy argument is moot, since the state is meeting its constitutional requirement to spend 25 percent of the state budget on schools.

Critics see a higher standard in the state constitution — one that demands the state to guarantee a "general diffusion of knowledge." Experts in the trial have called for up to $1.3 billion in additional spending on schools.

Without commenting on the case specifically, Callahan said cases involving adequacy — be it adequate shelter for prisoners or adequate legal counsel for the accused — present the courts with challenging decisions.

"Adequacy rears its head in different ways," he said.

focus on detail

Those who know Callahan say he's well-suited for the complex case.

"I don't think there's anyone who would tell you that he's anything other than a bright and capable guy," said Bob Russell, a Sedalia lawyer and former circuit judge. "He's as open-minded a guy as you can find to hear that kind of case."

Callahan is known for his attention to detail and a desire to hone in on the minutiae of a case. That was evident during the weeks of the school funding trial, which ended in February.

Repeatedly, Callahan engaged directly with witnesses, asking more pointed questions than most of the dozen lawyers involved in the case. His interest extended even to some of the most arcane details of the state's highly complicated school funding formula.

Callahan hasn't said when he will rule, though all briefs have been submitted.

Already, some are downplaying the significance of his decision. Similar rulings from the Cole County Court almost always land a few blocks up the street, in the Missouri Supreme Court.

"The focus is really on the Supreme Court," Bartle said.

Even so, Bartle acknowledges that Callahan's role in the case is significant, with his court having established the facts of the case — facts that will affect how higher courts would rule.

Callahan, meanwhile, said he knows the Cole County court is often only a first stop in a case's journey.

But as he weighs the vast school funding case and the heaps of documents it has produced, the judge said he builds his rulings as more than temporary structures.

"I still try to decide a case as if there is no appeal to my decision," he said. | 573-635-6178

Copngress To Weigh 'No Child Left Behind"

Congress to Weigh 'No Child Left Behind'

By NANCY ZUCKERBROD (AP Education Writer)
From Associated Press

January 13, 2007 1:07 PM EST

WASHINGTON - The No Child Left Behind law was supposed to level the
playing field, promising students an equal education no matter where
they live or their background. From state to state, however, huge
differences remain in what students are expected to know and learn.

Each state sets its own standards for subjects such as reading and
math, then tests to see whether students meet those benchmarks. It's
a practice under increasing scrutiny as Congress prepares to review
the five-year-old law.

"Fourth-grade kids in the District of Columbia are learning different
math from kids across the (Potomac) river in Virginia. It's crazy.
Math is math," said Michael Petrilli, vice president for policy at
the Thomas Fordham Foundation, a Washington-based education reform

The solution, say Petrilli and other advocates, means standards of
learning that are uniform nationwide.

Republicans generally have opposed national standards. GOP lawmakers
say state and local officials know what is best for their students
and as the primary funders of elementary and secondary education,
should have primary say in running schools.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has opposed national standards
but recently indicated she would consider voluntary ones. Spellings
said she would have strong reservations, however, about proposals
that would free states from the No Child Left Behind law's
requirements as a reward for raising standards.

Many Democrats, along with education reform and business groups, say
a patchwork of standards is inefficient. They also say students in
states with low standards will have trouble competing in the global
economy. Many other industrial nations have more stringent standards
than those in the U.S.

There are signs states are wrestling with the problem. Some are
talking about sharing tests and looking at benchmarks that would
identify the skills U.S. students should have when they finish high

Advocates of national standards say the No Child Left Behind law is
encouraging states to set low standards so schools can avoid
consequences that come with missing annual progress goals.

Schools that miss those targets must take steps such as paying for
tutoring or overhauling staffs. All students have to be proficient,
which generally means working at grade level, in reading and math by

At least one state, Missouri, lowered its standards after the federal
law went into effect.

Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the Council of Chief State School
Officers, said it is understandable that some states would set low
standards. "They're trying to make sense out of this. They're trying < BR>to survive," he said.

Wilhoit said, however, that is seen as unfair that states with high
standards are treated the same as those with lower standards. He said
states willing to raise their standards to a high, possibly uniform,
level should be given regulatory relief and financial incentives.

Supporters of national standards point to the vast differences
between student performance on state tests compared with a rigorous
national one as evidence states are using weak standards.

A study by the Washington-based children's advocacy group EdTrust
showed 89 percent of fourth-graders in Mississippi were deemed
proficient or better in reading on recent state tests. Meanwhile,
only 18 percent reached that level on the National Assessment of
Educational Progress - the gold-standard of scholastic achievement in
the United States.

In Oklahoma, 75 percent of fourth-graders were proficient or better
in math on the state te st. On t he federal test, 29 percent met that

In Massachusetts - a state with relatively high standards - the gap
is narrower. Fifty percent of fourth graders were proficient in
reading on state tests, compared with 44 percent on the national test.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, chairman of the
committee overseeing education issues, has proposed legislation
generally encouraging states to raise their standards to a consistent
level, as has Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

Dodd's legislation won the endorsement of the National Education
Association, the largest teacher's union.

"We know that we need to take a look at the rigor and the wide
diversity and range of content standards," NEA lobbyist Kim Anderson

One bit of evidence that uniform standards are effective comes from
schools run by the Defense Department for military families.

Student scores at those schools, which operate outside t he No Chi ld
Left Behind law but which have uniform standards, are higher on the
national assessment than scores of other students, according to
Vanderbilt University researcher Claire Smrekar.

She said there are many reasons for that trend but that uniform
standards at the Defense Department schools play a role. "I would say
they provide clarity and consistency within the system," she said.

Among educators, there is a concern national standards would become
outdated and that changing them would be difficult and bureaucratic.

Brenda Dietrich, a superintendent in the Topeka, Kan., area, said she
has not formed an opinion on national standards, but does see a logic
to them.

"If we're all going to be held to a standard, it certainly would be
nice if it were the same standard," Dietrich said.

That is probably going to be the winning argument, says Michael
Dannenberg, who directs education policy at the Washington-based Ne w
Ameri ca Foundation, which recently held a forum on national
standards. "My view is that the country is on an inexorable march
toward national standards, and the question is not if but when and
how," he said.


On the Net:

Education Department background on the law:

Compare state standards:

Eastern Jackson County School Districts Deserve
Credit for Perfect Academic Scores

Education surely will be a top priority for lawmakers again this year. However, Eastern Jackson County’s academic performance makes clear that our local communities are dedicated to giving students a first- rate education year in and year out. Several area districts received perfect scores on their annual accreditation reports, and everyone associated with these schools should be proud of the students, teachers and administrators who are performing so well.

The Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Independence, Lee’s Summit and Oak Grove school districts met 14 of 14 standards on Missouri’s Annual Performance Report. These standards include performance in the statewide Missouri Assessment Program as well as attendance, graduation rates, and the number of advanced-placement programs available.

This outstanding achievement has earned each district the Distinction in Performance Award, the state’s highest recognition for academic success. The award acknowledges superior accomplishment and district efforts to continually improve student achievement and academic programs. The Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit districts each have earned the award for six consecutive years, a rare achievement, and Grain Valley, Independence and Oak Grove also have earned the award in recent years.

These outstanding scores prove that the teachers and administrators in Eastern Jackson County are providing their students the best possible education. Additionally, these accomplishments show that students are taking advantage of the opportunities they’ve been given to prepare themselves for college and successful careers.

Congratulations to everyone affiliated with these excellent academic institutions, and I am proud to say I know the members of these districts are not resting on their accomplishments. Everyone working for these districts constantly pushes to improve the education of the children who walk through their doors.

If you have comments or questions about any matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach my office by e-mail at or by phone at (888) 711-9278.

Sent on behalf of:

Senator Matt Bartle
Missouri Senate
201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806
(888) 711-9278

Reaction From Area School Leaders On Tax Credits Or Voucher Programs

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Story last updated at 11:18 AM on Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Reaction from area school leaders

None of the Eastern Jackson County public school superintendents support the tax credits, but leaders of two prominent private schools in the area are enthusiastic about their potential.

Many public school superintendents worry that tax credit or voucher programs would become a way for wealthy families to use public tax dollars to send their children to private school. Others are concerned that even with vouchers, low-income families would still not be able to afford privates-school tuition.

FORT OSAGE SUPERINTENDENT LARRY EWING - "You can call it the proverbial 'opening of Pandora's Box, ... If you do something like school vouchers, it opens up the opportunity for it to happen elsewhere. I would like to think that there is a better solution to solving these issues than vouchers."

"I think any public school person whether you are a parent, staff member or member of the board of education should be concerned about any process that diverts state money from the public schools. The proponents say, 'well its only $40 million.' Well $40 million is still a significant amount of money."

LEE'S SUMMIT SUPERINTENDENT DAVID McGEHEE - "I am a proponent of allowing parents to control their child's education. They (parents) can choose to educate their children privately or at home, but it is still the obligation of the community to fund the local public schools and the education for those children who remain."

INDEPENDENCE SUPERINTENDENT JIM HINSON - "Unless (the tuition assistance) is the full amount for tuition and transportation, I don't think it addresses the issues the legislature wants it to. Vouchers are not usually for the full amount needed. Families would have a difficult time making up the difference."

ST. MARY'S HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL TRUDY JONAS - "I think it would be great to pass a voucher issue because it would give people choice. It would help people who cannot afford a Catholic-school education. Our biggest problem is helping people without the means to choose Catholic education. We don't want to be just for the elite."

Jonas said vouchers would help schools like St. Mary's attract students from low-income families. She said many private schools have scholarships or financial aid available to help make up the difference.

TRI-CITY CHRISITIAN SCHOOL PRESIDENT CARL HERBSTER - "Parents have the right to send their child to the school of their choice without being financially discriminated against. In other words, they're paying their taxes and should be allowed to take those tax dollars and spend them at whatever educational institution they would choose."

-- Kelly Evenson

Reaction from state legislators in area
State legislators from Eastern Jackson County are widely divided. Most are not against finding a way to help students in struggling school districts such as St. Louis or Kansas City. It is the idea of taking public funds and allowing those funds to be used for private education that has them divided.

REP. PAUL LEVOTA (D-Independence) - "I think it is a scheme to take money away from the public school system. Whenever you take resources from the public schools, the community is hurt, The state needs to figure out what the problems are rather than taking money away from it."

REP. BRIAN YATES (R- Lee's Summit) - "I am strong advocate for public schools and do not support any proposal that would take away those resources. Both the Kansas City and St. Louis school districts have serious issues. Children are not receiving the best education they can. That issue needs to be addressed, but I am against school vouchers."

He sees better options, such as changing how major metro school boards are selected. Yates said he believes board members should be elected at-large instead of by sub-district - the current system in Kansas City and St. Louis.

"It would make members more accountable than they are now. Instead of only looking at their regions or they schools they represent, they would be looking at the district as a whole. They would be looking to the betterment of the entire school district."

SEN. MATT BATLE (R-Lee's Summit) - Bartle is not in favor of vouchers because of the potential impact on private schools. "In states where vouchers are permitted, control (over the private schools) follows that. If you want a voucher system then you are turning all of the private schools to public schools and then people don't have the choice."

Currently, private or parochial schools are not held to the same requirements as pubic schools in areas such as assessment testing, open meetings laws or auditing requirements.

REP. GARY DUSENBURG (R-Blue Springs) - Dusenberg in general is against school vouchers for private education. However, he believes exceptions should be made.

"I think there could be some situations in which vouchers would be good. For instance in poor school districts, there could be some children who would do better in a different environment. I believe there are some unique situations in which vouchers would be good. However, I am a huge supporter of public education, so it would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis."

REP. BRYAN PRATT (R-Blue Springs) - "I do not support vouchers, but think the legislature has to do something about the kids in unaccredited or provisional accreditation school districts. We cannot turn our backs on these kids. Everything is on the table while we are trying to figure out how best to take care of these kids."

REP. RAY SALVA (D-Independence) - "My parents sent three kids to parochial schools and paid for it. I sent my kids to parochial school and paid for it. I don't believe that taxpayers should pay if parents decide to send their kids to parochial schools."

SEN. VICTOR CALLAHAN (D-Independence) - Callahan, who is leading an effort to remove schools in western Independence from the Kansas City School District, is against vouchers as they have been presented in the past. However, he is open to any plan that would help families in western Independence and Sugar Creek leave the Kansas City School District.

"One problem with vouchers in the past is that only the wealthy could afford them. If a voucher plan was presented, could the people in western Independence afford it? ...

"People have no need for vouchers in the Independence School District or in the Blue Springs School District. But if there was some element of school choice to get the people of western Independence out of the Kansas City School District, I would certainly take a long look at it."

REP. WILL KRAUS (R-Raytown) -"I think as long as Kansas City and St. Louis remain without full accreditation, solutions will be provided....

"What can we do to get the Kansas City School District fully accredited? If some don't like the voucher idea, then let's go from a different angle. We need to think about the kids and what we can do to get kids a quality education

My Letter to DESE In Response To My Letter To The Legislators

Ms. Bruner,

I received your email from Judy Rohrbach. She has been kind enough
to help me with correspondence that I have been sending to
legislators. We understand that there is a need, in the state of
Missouri, for legislative change. Our state is not up to the same
standards as many others in the country and we understand that DESE
has only so much power to make districts do their jobs.

I am the co-founder of the Lee's Summit Autism Support Group. We are
parents of children that have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum
Disorders. Our children attend schools in the Lee's Summit R-VII
School District.

I have members that are dissatisfied with the services that our
children are receiving through the district. The complaints run from
IEPs that are not implemented, services that are inappropriate or not
offered, students being put in closets, students being sent to
schools other than their home school because their home school has
nothing to offer them, and under diagnosed.

Our special education director won't even tell you how he is going to
implement an IEP until you agree to the IEP. How can you agree to
something without knowing what you are agreeing to? He will not
discuss methodology without an agreement on goals. How does one know
if the goals are good if they don't know how they will be addressed?
When asked to have a child put in adaptive PE because of an abusive
PE teacher and offered extensive information on why children with
autism should be in adaptive PE, he said the child had to be in
regular PE or have a note from his physician excusing him from PE.
The child's psychologist wrote the note stating that it would be
emotionally damaging for this child to remain in this class.

When offered information about autism, from experts, he has told me
that you can't believe everything that you read. I believe that his
degree is in history. How can he ignore the advice of experts when
he obviously has no expertise in the area?

Our district has 210 children with a diagnosis of autism that is
medical, educational, or both. Yet, the district states that they
only have 83-88 children with an educational diagnosis of autism.
Where are the rest? How can there be such a discrepancy?

There was a recent due process case filed and won against the
district. It was about the treatment of a child with autism. There
are several more that are going to be filed.

That is an expensive and unnecessary step for parents to take. They
should not have to decide between housing their families and fighting
for their child's education. Yet, that is the only action that will
ensure that their child gets what is legally their right.

Our district has several autism directors. They are highly trained
in this area. They know what they should be doing. We have been
told that our children will learn social skills simply by being in a
regular classroom with their peers. Yet, the district's training
materials state that no child with autism will learn social skills
simply by being in an inclusive classroom.

We have been told that our children don't need to have FBAs done.
They state that these are only for severely disruptive students.
Yet, our children are punished for behaviors that are due to their
disabilities. My child has been disciplined for things that would
not happen if his teachers simply followed his IEP.

I filed a complaint with the OCR. They stated that the district had
failed to implement my son's IEP, but it didn't materially effect his
education. Well, it effected his emotional well being. He wanted to
die to make my life easier. I have so much information that I could
share with you. Did my school eventually follow my son's IEP? Yes
and no. They do once they are forced. Then they quit following it
until enforced again. I shouldn't have to report them every time
that they won't do their job. They should face repercussions for not
doing their job and they should be forced to do what is federally
mandated. They shouldn't have a certain amount of time to do it.
They should do it on the first day of school until the last day of
school. Why should my son continuously be forced to pay an emotional
price for the district's inconsistencies?

My son has the intelligence to work in a regular classroom without
modifications to his work. He was even on the honor roll. He also
has the interpersonal skills of a three year old. This has lead to
severe depression, talk of wanting to die, and being medicated. The
school district believes that they are doing their job because he is
at grade level. He is not at grade level on the MAP tests. They
believe that he will learn social skills simply by being in the
classroom with his peers. The special education director, for my
district, says that it is not feasible for him to train regular
education teachers or paras in my son's disability. Therefore, he is
with seven different teachers, with different expectations, that know
nothing about autism.

I'm sure that you will be able to conclude that the district is not
out of compliance at the moment. When they are out of compliance you
will be able to conclude that they got into compliance when you
scolded them, but at what price? How many of our children are going
to suffer and be left behind because the letter of the law allows the
experts to do part of their job? When is someone going to say enough
is enough and start making the experts do what is morally and legally
the right thing to do?

Thank you for time and attention to this matter. You may contact me
at any time. I have group meetings on the first Monday of each
month. I would love to have you attend one so that you could talk to
my members and see, first hand, what is happening in the world of
special education.


Sherri Tucker

We Must Hold Our Legislators, Administration, and Educators Accountable

I am writing to every legislator and senator in my district and that
is on any committee that has anything to do with education. I
believe that it is imperative that we all do this.

I have worked within the system. I have worked around the system. I
have tried to work from every angle that I can. Here is what I know:

The State of Missouri is so far behind in their thinking and they
are not going to change within some serious legislative action.

The feds insist that the states close a child complaint within 12
months. That is 12 months of your child's life that you can't get
back. Until January, Missouri only did that 32% of the time. That
is not only against federal regs, it should be criminal. Someone
should be facing time. That's what our children are doing. They
are losing time that can not be made up. It's gone.

What did Missouri say about this? They said that it wasn't really
their fault because the feds changed their regs and they didn't get
a chance to address the changes until January.

Now I would like to ask each of you the following question. If your
boss gave you 12 months to do your job and you only did it 32% of
the time would you still have a job? I know that I wouldn't.

In Missouri the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has
very little power and exercises it very infrequently. As long as
your school district eventually does a somewhat adequate job, they
are satisfied.

I go to my legislators and they tell me to address my school board.
I address my school board and they tell me that they are doing an
excellent job. I go to the Department of Education and they tell me
go my administrators. I go to my administrators and they tell me
that I need to go to my Special Education Director. I go to my
Special Education Director and he says that we have a difference of
opinoin. I go back to the Department of Education and they tell me
that the letter of the law is being followed. I go to the OCR and
they say that the IEP isn't being implemented, but it isn't
materially affecting my son's education. This circle is insane. At
what point is someone going to say, "The buck stops here. We know
that we are doing a lousy job and from this day forward we are going
to make a consitent effort to turn it around?" A girl can dream!!!

I am now going to keep writing to legislators and bugging them until
someone hears me. I will not stop until legislation is drawn up
that gives the children of Missouri the free and appropriate
education that they are supposed to be entitled to. Please join me.


Greater Kansas City Autism Alliance

APRIL 12, 2008!
The Fifth Annual KC Walk for Autism Awareness will be held on Saturday, April 12, 2007 at Unity Village, Missouri (just outside of Lee’s Summit at the intersection of 350 Highway and Colbern Road).

The event will consist of a two-mile family fun walk, a nature trail, our kids’ Butterfly Fun Run and resource fair in a carnival-like atmosphere. The resource fair, which has grown significantly over the years, will consist of local organizations and autism service providers, sharing their knowledge and information with participants. Parents can meet a variety of autism service providers while kids enjoy moonwalks, carnival activities, a petting zoo and pony rides. The children’s activities will expand dramatically. Autism awareness products will be available for purchase as well.

The KC Walk for Autism Awareness is the signature fundraising event of the Autism Alliance of Greater Kansas City, uniting parents, children and families in a fun, friendly, empowering environment. Each and every participant plays a critical role in this annual event. Your continued support enables the Autism Alliance to be consistent with our mission to broaden public knowledge and awareness of the behaviors, social issues and emotional needs of individuals on the spectrum and to provide monies to local programs that serve these individuals and their families. Online registration will be up on January 15, 2008.
For additional information regarding the 2008 autism walk or other activities, please call the Alliance at 816.84AAGKC (816.842.2452) or visit

Autism Society of the Heartland Meeting

Autism Society of the Heartland
Tue Jan 15 7pm – Tue Jan 15, 2008 8pm (Monthly at 7pm on the third Tuesday)
Faith Village Activity Center 14150 W. 113th St., Shawnee Mission, KS

TUESDAY, January 15th at 7:00 PM at FAITH VILLAGE

See you there...come and join us, bring your questions and suggestions.

Comment from a Parent:

"Every bit of helpful information that we have received has originated from someone in the group. I always feel a little better after those meetings, it is very therapeutic. It’s something about meeting with people who are going through what you are going through, (I wish no one had to go through it). I image it must be how combat veterans feel when they meet. That instant understanding that can only come from a shared experience that no one else could possibly comprehend."

General Meetings:

Faith Village Activity Center

January 15th

February 19th

March 18th

April 15th

May 20th

June 17th

Member Social Events: Held Quarterly

There will be Child Care for the first ten children who reserve a spot.

Email Bill to reserve your Child Care Spot.

Directions to Faith Village Activity Center,
14150 W. 113th St., Shawnee Mission, KS :

-Go west on College to Greenwood (if you go to Strang Line Rd, you've gone
too far)
-Turn left (south) onto Greenwood (there is one small street sign there, so it's
hard to see; however, a large assisted living community is under construction
-Directly after you go past the construction site (short distance), look for the
Faith Village sign on the right.
-As you turn in, the Activity Center bldg will be on the right, but go past it to
get to the parking lot.

-Go north on Strang Line Road to College
-Go right (east) on College and follow directions above

Child Advocacy Day 2008 (Jefferson City)

Child Advocacy Day 2008 Agenda
January 29, 2008

9:00 a.m. Registration
9:30 a.m. Welcome and Overview of the Day
10:30 a.m. Participants Select One of the Following Activities:
• Visit With Your Senator and Representative
• Workshops at the Truman Building
• Visit the Exhibits located in the Truman Building
11:30 a.m. Lunch (On Your Own)
12:30 p.m. Participants Select One of the Following Activities:
• Visit With Your Senator and Representative
• Workshops at the Truman Building
• Visit the Exhibits located in the Truman Building
1:40 p.m. March to the Capitol and Show Your Support for
Missouri’s Children
• Convene in front of the Truman Building
• Pick-up a poster (while supplies last)
• Be prepared to chant during the march to the Capitol!

1:50 p.m. Rally for Children and Families
2:30 p.m. Continue visits with your Senator and Representative

Click here to download a copy of the "2008 Save the Date" flyer.

**We urge you to call your senator and representative in advance to schedule a 15-minute meeting. Click here to find your legislator.

Missouri Autism

This blog is for families that are interested in change. They are a growing group of people interested in acquiring information about Autism Education Reform. It is a very important cause that they are passionate about. They are striving to learn more as well as educate more people on this issue. They serve information about autism education reform in Missouri as well as information in other states.

The state of Missouri will never make changes without being drug into the the present. Too many families are afraid of retaliation. There is nothing to be afraid of. They are already failing our children. What more could they do? They are taking children that could be tax paying citizens and making them tax takers.

Until their hear our voices (and that can mean votes) they will never help us. For many of us that means that our children will never have voices.