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Old 02-02-2013, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Pa
20,301 posts, read 20,243,964 times
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To understand special education funding one must understand that the student often doesnt enjoy the full funding a school district is paid. If a neighboring school district has vacant rooms they will facilitate for a reduced cost. What happens is these kids are warehoused rather than educated. The parent school district pockets the money saved. Oddly enough these schools districts seem to always have the funds for their sports programs.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:42 AM
 
18,810 posts, read 10,261,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinman01 View Post
To understand special education funding one must understand that the student often doesnt enjoy the full funding a school district is paid. If a neighboring school district has vacant rooms they will facilitate for a reduced cost. What happens is these kids are warehoused rather than educated. The parent school district pockets the money saved. Oddly enough these schools districts seem to always have the funds for their sports programs.
Not sure where you are from, but my school does in fact spend more on special ed students than sports - it isn't even close. And we do spend more per special ed student than general ed students on a per capita basis. We also don't warehouse our students, we have them in our general ed classrooms - sometimes to the slight detriment of the general ed population - and what I mean by that is that there is currently one severely impaired student that requires about 20-35 minutes of my time each class period, so I am forced to neglect the rest of the class.

P.S. We literally spend about 6 times plus on special education than sports at my school. Think about the compensation for many full time positions related to special education - also keep in mind that salary tends to be just under 70% of total compensation per employee. Plus the extra money that we guarantee every special ed student technology like a laptop or iPad, recording pen, etc... We don't have a large focus on sports here so that may be part of it.

We certainly need to take care of the students with an IEP, but I think your facts are wrong.

Last edited by michiganmoon; 02-03-2013 at 06:51 AM..
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:42 AM
 
910 posts, read 1,208,485 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHartphotog View Post
The problem is not so much that it isn't fair to other students without disabilities, the real problem is that when you spend the most resources on students with mental and physical disabilities, the societal "payback" on your tax investment is by definition very limited. Spend $10,000 per year educating a promising student with a high IQ, and in the end society gets a doctor or engineer. But say you have a mentally retarded or severely autistic student, which will cost somewhere on the order of 5 to 10 times as much money every year, and what does society get for it's educational investment? Will this person benefit society 5 to 10 times as much as the doctor or engineer? Obviously not. Can we at least say that the disabled person somehow gains enough from the additional education money required to minimize their future costs to society? If so, I've never seen it happen, and I know several people with autistic and severely retarded offspring (now young adults). Generally, "special needs" do not go away, even with one-on-one teachers and full-time personal aides.

Unfortunately, no matter how much money we spend on a student with mental retardation or even no motivation, we will never be able to "even the field" and make every student equal. Consequently, special education is a black hole that can and will consume as much funding as soft-hearted voters and fiscally irresponsible politicians send it--with little or no change in outcome. I really don't believe it is in the best interest of society to spend millions of tax dollars trying to "educate" someone who is not going to be getting a job based on academic achievement in the future: this is NOT an "investment" in our future.

Not to say that special needs students should be ignored, but should they consume the majority of our education dollars? I can't think of any way to justify that.

A secondary problem with our education system is that far too much money is spent on things that don't contribute to academic achievement at all (i.e., sports programs, over-paid non-teaching staff in the education system, fancy buildings and campuses, politically-motivated requirements for "diversity appreciation" classes). This is money not only wasted, but against the interests of parents who do not want their children indoctrinated into the progressive liberal agenda. And while property tax rates are skyrocketing in many areas (largely thanks to education, which is typically more than all other government services put together), retirees and those on fixed incomes will increasingly be forced out of their paid-for homes.

Let us remember that the goal of education is to produce young adults ready and well-equipped to enter the labor market and take on adult responsibilities. But today we have a global job market that offers the best employment opportunities to (generally) to the best students in the most demanding fields of study (STEM). At the same time, and unlike previous generations, changes in our economy have resulted in less and less demand for labor, accompanied by more and more workers flooding the market thanks to both population growth and immigration.

Does our public education system serve the goal above? Hardly. It largely serves Federal mandates, in order to get the Federal tax dollars that now constitute about 8% of education spending. What does the Federal Government want? Large expenditures in Special Education (which minimize the "return" on the investment of education dollars). Also to serve "No Child Left Behind" objectives of lowering the achievement gap (minimizing any disparity in test scores between racial groups), and maximizing graduation rates.

Unfortunately, the easiest (and sometimes the only) way to make significant progress toward these last goals is to lower standards so that virtually everybody graduates, and virtually every student can pass the standardized tests. Consequently, students can graduate high school regardless of whether they can read, write and do simple math. So what do modern employers do when filling jobs that really don't require college degrees? They require college degrees anyway, to "weed out the field" and make the number of job applications more manageable. In the past, the high school diploma had already screened out those who couldn't master basic english and math skills, or had no motivation or work ethic to go to class and do the work. Now, the student's family must fork over $40,000 or so for a college degree that means the same thing a (free) high school diploma used to mean.

In short, we spend far too much money on education in this country, and we spend far too much on the students with the least potential.
Or in other words, put them to work in the salt mines and harvest their organs.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:27 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
33,326 posts, read 60,553,191 times
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At our district, probably like most, the special Ed program is funded largely by federal money, so it has very little impact on spending for the 'regular" students. The real impact is the distraction from having many of those students in the regular classroom much of the day, which can reduce the learning of the other students. Parents, however, don't like to admit their children are not the same as the others and insist on having them in regular classrooms, and even hire attorneys to challenge the district. The old days of students placed by ability, even different schools for the slower and more advanced students was
far more effective in all students progressing, but political correctness has ended that.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:42 PM
 
Location: The Beautiful Pocono Mountains
5,450 posts, read 7,948,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
At our district, probably like most, the special Ed program is funded largely by federal money, so it has very little impact on spending for the 'regular" students. The real impact is the distraction from having many of those students in the regular classroom much of the day, which can reduce the learning of the other students. Parents, however, don't like to admit their children are not the same as the others and insist on having them in regular classrooms, and even hire attorneys to challenge the district. The old days of students placed by ability, even different schools for the slower and more advanced students was
far more effective in all students progressing, but political correctness has ended that.
This is 100% correct.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:43 PM
 
Location: On the "Left Coast", somewhere in "the Land of Fruits & Nuts"
8,420 posts, read 9,045,471 times
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The Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") mandates "special ed", which is indeed funded by federal money. Unless severely handicapped, the general trend these days is to attempt to mainstream them into regular classes, supplemented with personalized instruction from a Special Ed qualified teacher, per the needs of the students Individualized Education Program (IEP). And as already indicated here, this is occasionally met with some resistance from certain members of the regular teaching staff, who often view working with these kids as an "imposition". And BTW, if that was your special ed kid, how would you feel about a teacher who subtly (or not so subtly) conveyed the attitude that taking time with your kid was a "bother"?

And dunno that all this has much to do with "political correctness", since the alternative of course is to isolate special ed kids from the mainstream classes altogether, and basically fund another school within each district, specialized just to serve their needs!
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Flippin AR
5,447 posts, read 4,676,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Pederman View Post
Or in other words, put them to work in the salt mines and harvest their organs.
I guess you missed this line: "Not to say that special needs students should be ignored, but should they consume the majority of our education dollars? I can't think of any way to justify that."
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:18 PM
 
Location: California
32,352 posts, read 35,721,402 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mateo45 View Post
The Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") mandates "special ed", which is indeed funded by federal money. Unless severely handicapped, the general trend these days is to attempt to mainstream them into regular classes, supplemented with personalized instruction from a Special Ed qualified teacher, per the needs of the students Individualized Education Program (IEP). And as already indicated here, this is occasionally met with some resistance from certain members of the regular teaching staff, who often view working with these kids as an "imposition". And BTW, if that was your special ed kid, how would you feel about a teacher who subtly (or not so subtly) conveyed the attitude that taking time with your kid was a "bother"?

And dunno that all this has much to do with "political correctness", since the alternative of course is to isolate special ed kids from the mainstream classes altogether, and basically fund another school within each district, specialized just to serve their needs!
When I was a kid, a long time ago, we did have a special school in the area where kids from 2-3 different districts attended. I'm not sure how the financial aspect of such a thing shakes out or what the stigma cost is so I can't say if it was better or worse. I do know that the elementary school I attended did not have disabled or mentally handicapped kids (they weren't set up for it) and those that were troublesome were "tracked" as a way to keep the high acheivers and non disruptive kids in classes where they could work without distraction. There must have been problems with that system too or alternatives wouldn't have been put into place, and it wasn't just becasue parents were insisting, there were really challenges doing things that way.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:32 PM
 
Location: central Oregon
1,877 posts, read 2,232,144 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHartphotog View Post
I guess you missed this line: "Not to say that special needs students should be ignored, but should they consume the majority of our education dollars? I can't think of any way to justify that."
I could justify it only if these students attended their own school.

I feel sorry for teachers today, having to teach to the lowest and (as mentioned above) take 20 minutes out of one class to teach one student. That is just wrong in a public school.

I went to college to become a pre-school teacher. I was working towards a degree in Early Childhood Education. I was NOT going to college to learn how to teach the mentally handicapped, this just was not a field I wanted to get into.
I was working in a pre-school when mainstreaming was started. I had a happy, healthy little 4 year old who had Down Syndrome in my class. No matter what activity I had planned for the class, it always took most of my time just to help her - the rest of the class was left to do it on their own.
This wasn't what I signed on for, and not something I was happy with. I did quit that job and moved on to another that had no disabled students.

I have a relative who went to school to get her degree in Special Education (whatever it is called). She wanted that kind of job and we often discussed our differences. I'm thankful there are people out there just like her - those that want to work with the disabled. However, I don't think the majority of teachers went into the profession wanting to work with these students. So, why must they now, when there ARE teachers who specialize in this very field? Never made sense to me.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:07 PM
 
Location: On the "Left Coast", somewhere in "the Land of Fruits & Nuts"
8,420 posts, read 9,045,471 times
Reputation: 6048
Geez, who knew some educators were so ''particular'' about who they're willing to teach....
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