Waiting For The Train Wreck

I predicted this is what would happen. I can see it coming like a train on the tracks…… I am just waiting for the derailment. Sorry to be so sober, but sometimes that is all one can be.

The government (both federal and state) is a mess. Balancing a budget is a joke. They don’t feel they have to, after all they are the ones in charge. Uh huh. And our country is suffering for it.

With that said, as one who has dedicated most of her life to the special needs community, I have thought a lot about what is offered, and what is expected of children with disabilities. I predicted that because of budget cuts, health care bill expenses, and downward employment trends that it would affect this community….more than most.

These two articles I read within 24 hours of each other. It appears that special education services are in peril in many parts of this country. Some people would say, “so,what?”. Why should those “special kids” be any different than the rest of us…than the rest of the students out there?. Okay, I understand what you are saying, but unlike the typical kids who can learn many times IN SPITE of their teachers, most special needs children learn BECAUSE of their teachers and services. It’s just a fact. Special Education law first came to be (PL 94-142, and IDEA) because children who have special needs, those that learned differently, those that couldn’t eat, move, or breathe like the typical kids were put in the basements of schools. They were put in rooms the size of closets. Their curriculum was limited. Their teachers were second class (or were treated that way). When specific laws came into effect it helped to change things for the better. The federal, state and local funding was important…..because it gave these children a chance. A chance that each person deserves, regardless of their mental capabilities or their physical state.

Now, I read these articles and I cringe. What will happen if more states get waivers that allow them to not have to follow through with the federal funding? To not use the money for what it was originally intended? What happens when children with special needs are forced into general ed. programs with no support? No accommodations? No modifications?No help? That’s not fair to the kids. Not the special ed kids, not the general ed kids, not the teachers.

Don’t get me wrong, I think inclusion can be great BUT only if a plan is set up and everyone involved understands it and agrees to make it work NOT when a child is thrown into a room of 25 kids and told to sink or swim….. That, my friend, is pure insanity.

What is going to happen? What will special education become in the future? I don’t know….and that scares me.