Special Olympics has found a way to get kids and young adults with disabilities to feel something important: Able.
Three decades ago, as part of a community service requirement, I spent one day each week working with physically and intellectually-challenged adults at Easter Seals in Little Rock, Arkansas. I loved it.
Most unforgettable were their beaming smiles of pride when they got a chance to show what they could do. I’ve always loved sports, but never as much as there and then. In the decades since, my family has given to the Special Olympics what financial support we could afford.
So, can you imagine how I must feel hearing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testify in favor of cutting all $17.6 million in federal funding for the Special Olympics?
“It’s appalling,” declared Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio, called the cut “outrageous” and “ridiculous.”
“Cruel and reckless” were the words Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) used.
“The Special Olympics is . . . a private organization. I love its work, and I have personally supported its mission,” countered Sec. DeVos.* “But given our current budget realities, the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations.”
Federal funding provides only 10 percent of Special Olympics revenue, with over $100 million raised annually in private donations.
So, how must I feel about DeVos’s suggested cuts?
Check, cash or credit card is always preferable to virtue-signaling gum-flapping.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Special Olympics is one of four charities to which DeVos donated her entire 2017 federal salary.