THIS IS REPOSTED FROM (resource220.com)
Special Education programs are not cheap and the needs of our students are more varied and yes more expensive than most regular education programs. As budget money becomes tighter and politicians, along with everyone else, put more pressures to shrink the budgets at the local, state and federal levels, when do they start looking closely at Special Education for deep cuts?
We all know that some people don’t like the idea of Special Education, how much it costs and would love to reduce the scope and mandates of Special Education. It is a hidden agenda item and most of the time it is the “dirty laundry” that no one wants to discuss in public.
How often do you hear “how come we are educating them”, “our school budget wouldn’t be nearly as high if that program didn’t exist”, “if we could get rid ofSPED, look at what else we could do”, “so much money for kids that can’t do anything anyway”, “we are just going to put them in a home or jail, so just do it now” and so on.
This kind of talk is not new and most of us have heard it before and as with a lot of things it is only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the time these comments are not said out loud or in public, they are said in private, in situations where others do not disagree with them, or when they have had too many “cups”. It is a real and present undercurrent that is much more prevalent than we want to admit.
Special Education has historically been an under-funded mandate to the States, how much longer can it continue under that format? Yes, we do have IDEA, NCLB,FAPE, court decisions, precedence and all those other protections that have been written into the law.
What happens when the hard financial choices finally have to be made. The big question that will be asked by many will be whether to fund students who have a future and will be taxpayers or to continue to spend “big bucks” on students with a limited future as taxpayers and for the most part will “always” be a financial drain on the system?
In the face of that prospect which Special Education services will still be required, which ones will be changed, what services/protections will be there or won’t be?
I know that these changes won’t happen overnight, but at the same time I believe that we are getting closer and closer to major changes to how we teach and provide services to our Special Education students. I am very afraid that some of the changes will be based solely on budgetary considerations, not what is in the best interests of the child.
I don’t want to give the impression that I am a prophet of doom, because I believe that I am a very positive forward looking person. However, from my perspective, the cold hard reality is that tough choices are probably coming and Special Education programs are going to be impacted negatively.
These are things that I do worry about at night, when I am thinking about what I can do next to help my Special Education students. What will their future schooling be like if or when the budget axe strikes?
What do you see as the future of Special Education in a time of very tight budgets?
Remember – it is not about you or me it is about the kids.
Dollar Sign Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dollar_symbol_gold.svg
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.