Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Are We Giving Enough?

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Are We Giving Enough?

Article excerpt

Our society needs to acknowledge that our educational systems need a complete overhaul. Every child deserves an education, no matter their abilities because in the end, no child is worth more than the other.

As my husband and I plan for yet another IEP meeting at my son's school tomorrow, I've pondered on how far we have come as a society caring and educating our children with special needs. I always hear that, we as a nation, have made leaps and bounds due to legislation that has been passed. Obviously, the landmark decision of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) in 1975 was instrumental in giving our children the right to attend public schools and we continued to raise the bar for care with the No Child Left Behind ruling in 2001. My question is, "Is this enough?"

My bookshelves are riddled with manuals on how to write IEP's and how to hold schools accountable when they are not upholding to your child's IEP. What is so frustrating is why so many school districts aren't i doing it. The easy answer to this question is resources. It is clear that our children with special needs require supports and modifications to curriculum in order for them to learn and progress. If these resources are not being allocated in the budget, then it is very difficult for districts to deliver what our children deserve and what they are entitled to by law. My question back to the district then is how is their money being spent? I had a friend a few years back that had a lapse in judgement when talking to me about school districts and special education. She implied that children with special needs were sucking all of the money out of school district budgets to only be a burden to society when these children became adults. She was convinced that these children could not learn and resources needed to be spent on children, who in her mind, would most benefit. After checking my calendar to make sure I was in the 21st century, I came back with one question: "What makes you the one who decides which child is worth it?"

That is definitely a question one should think about as they sit in on an IEP meeting or as they observe a classroom. In the end, regardless of their abilities they are all children and it's been decided in the courts that all of our children deserve an education. Teachers and principals do not get to decide what works for them, their schedule or budget. They need to decide what works for the children and then deliver. …

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